How do we free up our energy to be more present, powerful and loving? How do we get out of our way so we can be agents of transformation?

These are the questions that have ultimately led me to focus on spiritual practice and embodiment as sources of transformation. I’m curious about freeing up our creative power on both the personal and collective level. Especially at this time when we need every ounce of human wisdom, creativity, courage and resilience we cannot afford to have any of it locked out of the board room, systemically destroyed, or literally locked up in prison.

These thoughts were stirred for me as Ali, a friend of a friend, awaited a court hearing in Istanbul, Turkey. In July he and another trainer also living in Berlin had been leading a training on holistic security and well-being for Amnesty International and other human rights defenders in Istanbul. Police invaded the meeting and put them all under arrest. He was charged with assisting an armed terrorist organization.

On their 100th day of imprisonment friends suggested many things we could do to remember and support them. One was to gently open a pomegranate as Ali would.

I learned that Ali loves to open a pomegranate slowly, not injuring any of the fruits inside.

An opened pomegranate full of juicy seeds.

It was hard for me to imagine how Ali could do this. I avoid buying pomegranates because they are so frustrating. The seeds are all tangles in the fibrous tissue. I usually end up with juice all over my hands.

I probably do more things than I’d like in the same manner as my messy pomegranate opening – struggling through every step and making a mess.

Before I tried opening a pomegranate for Ali I studied up on techniques for opening the fruit on YouTube. I found a way to handle the fruit so that it opens up easily, revealing the beautiful seeds inside. No wonder the pomegranate has long been a symbol of fertility and abundance.

As I gently picked out each of the seeds I imagined each of the human rights defenders in prison being easily released. I pictured all of us being freed from the stories and systems that hold us back. I felt the beauty of this one fruit giving birth to many succulent seeds that each contain the potential of becoming a tree and bearing many more fruit.

An open pomegranate, most fruits in the bowl

It took only five minutes to open and in that time I felt my heart ease. I felt reminded of how good it feels to abandon force and pushing. Through the pomegranate I felt the strong connection between the freedom in my heart and the work of freeing Ali and his friends.

The day after my pomegranate meditation Ali and his fellow human rights defenders appeared for their court hearing and were released. I feel such joy and gratitude! They still face trail and a long process of healing.

The next time you open a pomegranate may it not be messy and frustrating. The next time you try to crack open a difficult project may it also be free from struggle.

How wonderful that something as simple as a pomegranate meditation can connect our inner journey towards freedom with our collective journey.

With love,


More information about Ali and the Istanbul 10.

Ali Gharavi is a writer and technology consultant for human rights groups. This is a great article about the release of the Istanbul 10. Imprisonment has come at great expense – financially and emotionally. You can make a gift to support Ali here.

Free up your energy for your passion

Healing, creating, or activism doesn’t have to be a draining slog. I can help you learn how to free up your energy so you can move towards your goals with more ease. Learn about my healing support here.