Hi there. My name is Malika Bouhdili. I'm a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism earning my Master in Divinity degree to be a full-time hospice and hospital chaplain. I have served as an interfaith hospital chaplain in Northern California as well as a volunteer with Zen Hospice Project. In these roles, I provided spiritual and emotional support and counsel to those grappling with illness, death, grief, and major and minor life transitions - as well as those seeking deeper meaning through spiritual practice. Though informed by my own practice of buddhadharma, I engage the language of meaning that my clients feel most authentic in. I wholeheartedly affirm the beauty and wisdom in all spiritual and religious traditions, as well as secular forms of meaning-making. I love working one-on-one with individuals and witnessing the sacredness of the human physio-psycho-spiritual journey. Any moment on the path is a ripe starting place. I am constantly moved by peoples' bravery to, when well supported, lean in and develop intimacy with their own experience. For those grappling with a life transition, a feeling of being "lost", grief, illness, or the dying process, I am here to be your companion and to offer tools that can let the heart and mind rest with what is.
Prior to embarking on my path towards chaplaincy, I worked as an attorney with legal aid organizations (nonprofits that provide free legal services to those who can't afford legal help). Though I enjoyed advocacy and litigation, my personal experience with grief and loss, combined with a deep plunge into meditation and Tibetan Buddhism, revealed a palpable calling to a different kind of service work. I maintain a tremendous respect for social workers, advocates, legal aid attorneys, and other kinds of healers and change-makers who work tirelessly for justice and sanity. Among my offerings are group wellness trainings for these heart-warriors who are on the "front lines" of working with suffering.
Wellness in the United States inevitably means examining the ways in which we have internalized systemic racism. I am a mixed-race woman of color, but because I am often perceived as "white," I receive all the privileges and advantages that come with that perception. I am doing my best to examine my internalized racial biases, to bring what was unconscious to the light of awareness. I know I will never be done, as this is a practice. My experience has been that meditation, mindfulness, and somatic awareness have been invaluable tools to disrupt reactivity and defensiveness around race, and to start to engage in more loving and just conduct. To that end, I offer group trainings on these skills, as well as individualized sessions for those who want support doing the difficult work of starting to examine the ways in which we have internalized the pervasive effects of systemic racism.
With an attitude of understanding and compassion, I also support individuals interested in auditing and decolonizing the mind of patriarchal tendencies and assumptions in order to balance the feminine and masculine principles within.The feminine and masculine principles do not refer to femininity or masculinity, rather, they can be considered patterns of relating to reality that are within each of us, regardless of our gender identification. Similarly, patriarchy is not only about worldly systems of power being dominated by men. It is a collective pattern of conditioning that manifests in each of us internally in the form of an overemphasis of the "masculine principle." This over-cultivation of the "masculine principle" within us creates a strong bias towards (and even obsession with) certainty, concreteness, standards of perfection, and objects. For many of us, this bias towards the masculine is experienced as a feeling of "stuckness", anxiety, numbness, or meaninglessness. It can also be experienced as a feeling of never being or having enough; as exhaustion from constantly associating productivity with self-worth; and as low self-esteem from being overly critical with oneself. I help people work with their experience to access the wellspring of intuition, imagination, fearlessness, and wisdom of the sacred feminine: the part of us that is capable of receiving and relating to the inherent dynamism of life.
During my free time, I meditate, read, and write poetry and essays on spiritual topics. I also enjoy a healthy dose of doing nothing, urban wandering, and discussing all kinds of dharma with my friends and family. My home base is in Berkeley, California but I provide one-on-one sessions nationally via video-conferencing. For those interested in group wellness trainings in the Bay Area, I happily provide those in person (depending on current coronavirus health recommendations). Thank you so much for your interest! I look forward to meeting and working with you.