Bold and Inspiring: Dimple Mukherjee is Empowering Women Through Self Reflection
Dimple Mukherjee a mom of three, was in her 30’s when disaster struck. It was a dark and difficult time personally in her marriage and she felt she was holding back from reaching out for help. She says her 30s were a tough time as she desperately tried to numb her pain through unhealthy measures. With three boys in tow, life became extremely stressful.
“I realized I really held back from reaching out to others for support due to feelings of guilt, and shame and in the process, completely isolated and alienated myself,” says Mukherjee. “This really wasn’t healthy for anyone nor was it helpful. I continued to cling onto my self-care practices but it wasn’t enough. I needed connection.”
She says she was searching for other women who could relate or be able to just help put things in perspective.
I felt isolated, ashamed and feared being judged, especially by my parents, family, friends and the South Asian community at large. It was the darkest period of my life but in this adversity I found solace in self-care and healing practices and in the company of supportive women.
As she started to groom my professional life and health around the principles of holistic living and natural medicine, her marriage was falling apart.
Having the courage to be vulnerable and seeking out a community of women who understood my pain and challenges was a transformative step in my own healing, paving the way to a life of happiness and deep meaning.
She says it was that feminine energy that fuelled her. She looked around for some local “women only” spaces and found none. Instead, she paid to attend women’s retreats, online programs and worked hard at showing up in these safe spaces, which were amazing but also expensive and effortful.
“As humans we are wired for connection. I started with the virtual world and found some amazing on line female mentors that inspired me to take action and to step into my truth so that I could blossom into who I am today.”
That experience helped inspire her to start an empowering group called, Bindi Parlour. Bindi Parlour is a new take on girls’ night IN— where women gather together with intention to expand, and inspire.
“I had experienced the healing power of women’s circles/spaces and wanted this experience to be easily accessible to other women.”
Mukherjee started Bindi Parlour with this intention:
To build a community of women who gather together to uplift and inspire each other to be the best versions of themselves.
Bindi Parlour helps South Asian women navigate complex cultural identities. The world is changing for women, with more women creating their own paths to happiness, but many women of South Asian descent still abide by cultural expectations that leave them feeling isolated, empty and unfulfilled. There’s a noticeable lack of safe spaces for North American women of South Asian descent to talk about their struggles, fears and desires.
Canadian research shows that South Asian women raised in the Western world struggle to fit into Western society while also adhering to the fixed gender roles and family expectations prescribed by their cultural heritage, resulting in confusion and stress.
She feels that it’s not uncommon for South Asian women to set the bar high on professional and personal achievements only to eventually realize that the lives they are living are not their own.
“Becoming a high-paying doctor or lawyer at any cost, marrying their first crush, staying in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the kids, or sacrificing all their needs for everyone else: these are not paths to fulfillment, good health and joy.”
As a result, South Asian women often find themselves facing unhappy marriages, affairs, burnout and stress, poor health, weight gain, low self-esteem, career discontentment, and fraught family relationships, Mukherjee says.
The worst part is they struggle in silence and without much support. Bindi Parlour is the first step towards unravelling the dual cultural expectations experienced by Canadian woman of South Asian descent. Participants walk away from this experience feeling uplifted, connected, understood, and inspired to shift towards a life aligned with their desires.
Her 20 plus years in Occupational Therapy (OT) and exposure to chronic physical and mental illnesses has taught her that good health is achievable through preventative measures.
“As an OT, I’ve worked with many patients who suffer from pain and mental anguish, and found that traditional medicine just wasn’t enough. As a young mother, I realized that so much of mine and my children’s health was really in my hands, and my interests shifted from the dis-ease model of medicine to preventative medicine.”
The feedback she’s received from women’s experiences has been eye opening. In today’s world, more and more of us need that human connection but more importantly, Mukherjee says as more and more women step into leadership roles in a patriarchal system, it is essential that women support each other not only for advancement and mentorship but to provide each other with the kind of emotional support that only women can provide for mental and physical well being. With chronic conditions such as cancer on the rise, this ultimately becomes a matter of well being and preventative medicine.
But even with supports women still hold themselves back, Mukherjee says.
“I don’t see a lot of women play big. By that I mean that we hold ourselves back with our limiting beliefs. Women are not reaching out when they are experiencing darkness and pain. We’d rather shush that voice and self-sacrifice instead of disrupting that “peace” in our homes that we always strive so hard to maintain for the sake of others. Feelings of shame and guilt hold us back from being vulnerable and to receive help with open hearts.”
More on Bindi Parlour:
Where did the name come from?
I wanted a name the reflected my Indian roots, my values and was meaningful for what I wanted to create and put out into the world. Bindi is a red dot applied on the third eye chakra (the spot between the eyebrows) that is said to stimulate self-realization. Parlour implies a sitting room in a home. Hence the creation of Bindi Parlour—an evening where women gather for self-discovery in the comfort of a friend’s living room.
At Bindi Parlour, the evening begins with a ritual of applying Bindis on each other to ignite their truths and to connect women to their intuition – their highest guiding force.
Bindi Parlour provides a safe container. A space where women gather to be heard without judgement through gentle questions and group activities. Women gather around in a circle in living rooms for soul play and to explore themes such as self-compassion, gratitude, vulnerability, engagement and meaning, creativity, life values, resilience and grit. The mood is light, fun and playful, and yet there is depth. Conversations are mindfully facilitated. Intentions are set. Rituals set the stage. Journaling is at the core. Senses are lit up by essential oils, candles, crystals, nourishing foods (think raw chocolates-hmmm), melodies and visualizations.
How does Bindi Parlour work?
Bindi Parlour is a “girls night in” where 8-12 women gather with their friends to experience a deep connection through facilitated conversations and soul play. Bindi Parlour takes place in the comfort of a friend’s home—think of it as a Stella and Dot party but instead of walking away with jewellery, you leave with a deeper connection to yourself and others and some actionable steps towards a flourishing life. As a little added bonus, all the Bindi Parlour women receive a small surprise package to kick start their own personal home practice.
The Bindi Parlour experience:
- Opening with a grounding ritual (either a two minute meditation or visualization) followed by a welcome.
- Women apply a bindi on each other to invite them to connect with their intuition and to ignite their truths. Setting intentions.
- Journal prompts are handed out to break the ice related to the specific Bindi Parlour theme (see below).
- At this point, the women have started to open up to each other and are able to engage in experiential activities. Such activities include self assessments to raise awareness, facilitated discussions around revelations (this part of the experience takes the longest and is the most transformative because the sharing is rich), education around the importance of practices and tools
- Sprinkled throughout this experience are fun but intentional activities such as oracle card readings and sharing, application of essential oils, working with healing crystals, movement (think dance break), etc.- all of which are designed to help the women to be fully immersed in the Bindi Parlour experience with all their senses
- Closing with a letter to your future best self and “take away” circle
While sharing is encouraged in Bindi Parlour, it is completely optional. Even being an observer has tremendous benefits and results in shifts. The entire experience is approximately two hours.
So far, there are five themes to choose from for Bindi Parlour:
Self Compassion vs. Self Indulgence
The Art of Gratitude
Life Changing Rituals
Word of the Year (a popular one towards the end of a year and at the beginning of a new year)
The Power of Grit and Resilience (great for corporate/work parties/retreats)
Themes can also be specifically tailored to a group.
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