Meet The Kimono Goddess: Rita Ghanime
I met Rita a few months ago, but our soul connection and instant friendship makes that short time feel like we’ve been connected for many lifetimes.
Our mutual friend thought we should meet as I collect kimonos. Rita Ghanime is a Lebanese-Canadian, Los Angeles-based fashion designer, stylist and trend innovator who is now focusing on designing kimonos while setting intentions as she sews. Her spiritual journey and kundalini practice allows her to open her heart and practice intuitive channeling with her process. On our initial “consultation” for my first gorgeous crushed velvet rose kimono (I was craving something aligned with the heart chakra so she suggested the rose color), we discussed personal wishes, intentions and my spiritual path. But I also had the pleasure of getting to know this kindred spirit. My kimono is sacred to me, and I feel many of my intentions have truly manifested as I wear it to meditate for most of my practices.
‘Divine ‘purpose’ may feel absent or ambiguous at times, yet it is still there, just like my heartbeat and my breath. All I need to do is sit still and breathe. It is that simple, and that humbling. I often forget about it in the heat of the moment of an emotional reaction, but this is why I keep practicing meditation daily. So that reactions become less dominant, and responsiveness becomes easier when I am able to be present.’
– Rita Ghanime, Los Angeles, October 2016
Like clockwork, at 6 am each day, my body softly wakes up, without the need of an alarm but with a purpose ignited deep within me. My purposeful work that I am actively/consciously giving attention to right now feels like connecting to my Truth, letting old patterns dissolve, and becoming a better version of myself that will reflect into all the relationships in my life- as a mother, a girlfriend, a sister, a daughter, a friend…. I aspire to be the kind of mother my son needs to reach his full potential, and to be clear, open, creative, loving and fully present in this world… and try make every interaction matter. The latter statement is a little lofty perhaps, but only feels that way when my ego is active and I am not in my flow.
This purpose is what motivates me to pull out my sheepskin rug (signed last year with love for my 39th birthday by my Indigo Yoga Family), light a candle on my alter (a gift from my soul-sister, Joy) and hold a few crystals that I love (rose quartz, citrine and smokey quartz). I know that all these accessories and tools aren’t going to take me on the Concorde to higher consciousness, but I do enjoy their beauty and surrounding myself with them. I am a designer, after all. Beautiful things inspire me. And this is about spiritual and soulful inspiration, thus I allow myself to indulge on all that helps me along the way.
My morning practice sometimes starts with a few sips of hot water with lemon, then settle in for a 20 minute meditation, do a few kundalini kryas, journal a log of gratitude and tune into how I want to feel that day and what I want to do.
Mornings are sacred to me. After an hour to feed my soul, I happily spring into the before-school-getting ready process with my son. Making his lunch, and sneaking in ‘less embarrassing’ notes conveying some sort of love centered message, and reminding him of his home and school based mantras- respect and responsibility. The pureness in his smile makes my heart expand every single day. He is very awake, emotional and my biggest teacher. In him I have seen reflections of the love I pour into parenting him, but not as sweetly, and more importantly, the mirroring of aspects of myself that I need to change. Julien, like all children, is the future and I have a responsibility to be a role model to him…which also means breaking my patterns down from my own childhood and embracing new ones that resonate higher.
I need to move my body everyday in some type of physical exercise. Yoga, walking, hiking and doing an online workout in the park- are my go-to’s. Kjord teaches Kundalini at Wanderlust in Hollywood now, and I love bar workouts at Marine’s ‘Barre Belle’ (also in Hollywood).
I always loved the idea of working from home. I love my home and my space. My home is eclectic and unique- it’s decorated with some flea-market nude illustrations, a few ombre paintings I did myself, hand-made curtains in every room and random pieces that please my eyes when I gaze upon them. I am very visual affected by my environment, especially when it comes to creativity, spiritually and intimacy. With a little incense burning, tea brewing, music blaring (Kundalini mantras, Jim Morrison or some Arabic-infused electronic soundscapes)…. I can easily slip into my flow and ride an impossible high- fueled by passion and purpose. It really feels good. I also like to make time to prep- dinner, so that when I pick up my son from school, we can have more ‘together’ time. I definitely ‘clock-out’ from 4pm to 8:30pm everyday- this is my Julien time- and all work and personal activities are put to the side. My family is my focus for the rest of the day. Priorities.
My work is my play. Most of my ‘work’ days are spent at my home-studio filled with creating, designing, sewing, mantras and hosting clients for tea and ‘space-holding-sessions’ if and when they are in LA, otherwise a phone call or Facetime is how we connect. I love the idea of creating my own schedule and having it be flexible around my motherhood, yoga and lifestyle ways. I am very grateful and lucky to be able to pour so much love and creativity into my life.
Kundalini, Kimonos and Love
I first experienced Kundalini yoga when a Burning Man friend and teacher, Stephen, invited me to come by Indigo Lab, a new studio located a couple of blocks away from where I live. It was by far the most powerful, heart-opening experience of emotional release I had ever experienced in a spiritual capacity. Anger, fears and unresolved pains deep in my heart surfaced, and then were released. I hadn’t even scratched the surface yet felt immediately lifted, lighter and clearer. In this class and community- support and love was abundant- it felt like it was a movement to raise our own and collective consciousness together. I felt awake. This became my new home for my Soul to breathe, heart to heal and expand within… Beautifully, I also shared this space with my son, where the studio created a weekly kids Kundalini class. The studio owners- Kjord, Darcy and Peter- had lovingly created a Lighthouse that attracted so many loving souls. Not long after I began my Kundalini journey at Indigo, I met a man that I soon fell deeply in love with. Brett showed me love by listening to me attentively and asking me questions I had never been asked before, nor asked myself. I felt held, heard and seen.
*Kundalini yoga, is the experience of moving energy through your body/mind with specific mantras (sounds), kryias (body motions) and breath work. It basically energetically removes the residual pain, stories, and emotions that are stored within us… so when this is chipped away, even a tiny bit- you feel your Truth.
The Kimono: Re-Claiming Venus
‘It is only through the cracks in a broken heart that light can shine through and your heart can expand and open’. This was a Buddhist quote I read while my heart was broken during a break-up with Brett. I cleared my room by making everything white, and made myself a new kimono to wear around the house and in my meditations. I committed to a 40-day Kundalini meditation called ‘So Purkh’-which I chanted for 20 minutes every day. Wearing my new kimono when I prayed and meditated seemed to have ‘charged it’ somehow. I had set an intention; to be recognized as the Goddess that I am, as a woman of Grace leaning into her power in a feminine way. I wanted that aspect to be seen. This particular mantra also proclaimed that if chanted accordingly- ‘a man in the form of God will appear before you at the end of your 40 days.’ I chanted it for Brett, my Son and my Father- the three most important men in my life.
These are important aspects of this prayer because they absolutely manifested, and my heart did heal, expand and grow stronger. And this led me to my divine purpose of infusing the Kimonos I make with meditation, mantra, prayer and intention.
My Desert Goddess story…
I was in the Nevada Desert on the very last day of the 40-day meditation at a futuristic, integrity based gathering fused by music and technology called Further Future. I was basking in the morning sun, mediating on the outskirts of the crowded areas and a powerful Nordic man , gently walked up to me. His presence was serene, his heart- open and his eyes full of kindness. He saw right into my Soul; honored me at first glance. Every word spoken felt synergistic and a manifestation of what I had prayed for; to heal my heart, grow into my Truth and be seen for that, and that alone. His reaction to me, was all the confirmation I needed to know that I had indeed moved into my Grace. Before departing, he left me with gift- a gold pendant necklace of a goddess. I simply was beside myself with the signs and manifestations that had occurred.
Kimono-(R)evolution: Made with Love and Intention
Still speechless from the music festival manifestations, when I was back home in L.A., I posted a few images of myself wearing my kimono in the desert on social media. I immediately received comments and inquiries as to where it was from. My heart swelled, and it felt clear to me that this was going to evolve into an integrity-based-heart centered business. I wanted to sew them all myself (rather than mass-produce) and infuse them with powerful intention and mantra specifically for whom ever I would sew for. On the phone with my very first client, we discussed design, fabric and sizing details. I then shared my kimono-mantra story, and explained that if I would be sewing for someone for 4-5 hours, I want to direct my heart and energy to them by meditating, chanting for them to specific areas of their lives that need love and healing. It is the intention in one’s heart that is healing, and the bringing of hidden fears to light, that allows one to reflect and start the healing process because it is privately exposed. Intention, love and vulnerability are everything. During the actual sewing process, I often stop when intuitive thoughts/messages come to me that I write down immediately alongside of a client’s intentions. In the Kimono package, I send along a hand written note with these messages and am always so touched at how graciously and gratefully they are received.
It has only been 16 months since I started my Kimono making, loving and sharing journey. My work feels divinely purposeful in the process of connecting to someone’s heart and giving them something far beyond simply a very fashionable and chic piece of clothing- rather, something sewn with specific intentions and infused with love for them.
The kimonos are being draped upon beautiful souls all around the world. It feels like a dream to me sometimes, that I am creating beautiful things that inspire me, and others love what I do and support me. I am so grateful for the incredibly talented photographer friends along with my beautiful muses and models have all lent their talents and creativity to my Kimono evolution. I have operated from an energy exchange in gifting each one a custom kimono for the creative energy they shared with me.
I love meeting new clients face to face- and having trunkshows and being a part of other events that connect me to people! I never have expectations, and truly delight in sharing energy and my story and my passions with all those that take the time to meet me and flow with an open heart as well. My life feels juicy, ripe and full. And, of course, made with love.
Follow Rita to her website: RitaGhanime
Photo credits in this story: Joy :Anton Lombardi Rita :Christine Choi / Desert photo of Rita:Erik Borzi