Rising for Justice
For many people around our planet, February 14th is becoming associated with One Billion Rising, a global campaign to demand an end to violence against women and girls. We rise as women, as men, as human beings who know another world is possible and who are willing to speak out to help bring about this new world.
This year, One Billion Rising was about rising for Justice.*** One Billion Rising is a tidal wave of change IF we understand it is not a fad to take part in and then move on to another, but rather a clear opportunity to verbalize and put into action our desire to end this violence.
For many of us in Western cultures, it’s Valentine’s Day, too. This past Friday night, Feb. 14th, 2014, I had the pleasure and joy of co-hosting a One Billion Rising women’s movement ritual with Stacey Butcher and Lakshmi Devi. Stacey, a 5Rhythms teacher, hosted a 5Rhythms wave; Lakshmi, a singer and songwriter, sang her songs, and invited us to sing as we moved into stillness at the end of the dance; and I shared writings and poetry, as well as recorded spoken-word poetry mixed with a beautiful instrumental song at the end of the dance wave.
Here I share with you what I shared on Friday evening. I hope it inspires you to listen for the deep wisdom inside of you, and feel for the force that will cause you to rise and stand for what you know in your heart to be true, and for a kinder, more tender world where all can live in dignity without fear of violence.
Love and Justice
Today we celebrate love. Today we rise for Justice. The two are inescapably linked.
When we love Life, Life itself that gives us this life, we cannot help but feel the call for justice in our bones – a justice that honors life itself.
Tonight we are sharing in a movement ritual. As I was preparing for tonight, I wondered what ritual is really about and I found this excerpt from an interview with Joseph Campbell.
“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.”
Tonight we are here together to move in ritual, as women who desire to rise in service to justice. And, through this ritual, we are here to be reminded of the wisdom of our own lives, the wisdom that is within us, a wisdom that has been within us all along.
We are here to remember the mythology that is at the heart of our lives as women in a world that is so much more than what we sometimes see it to be.
So, What is it to rise?
What does that even mean? Rising is a movement upwards. If we are rising, what are we rising up from? And what is behind the rising?
What is the force that compels us to rise?
The invitation tonight is to dance these questions, to dance yourself open enough to hear a response from within you, a response from your wise self, your Soul.
This wise self is instinctive and instinctual. She is visceral, animal, and primordial. She is feral. She is wide-eyed and sensual.
Your Soul knows how to rise.
Rising is in your blood and bones. It is in your cells. It is in your belly, because love desires to move through you, to rise you up into the world, way beyond what your mind thinks you are capable of. And love desires to move us all to live in accordance with what love desires, not what we desire.
“Love is not a matter of getting what you want. Quite the contrary. The insistence on always having what you want, on always being satisfied, on always being fulfilled, makes love impossible. To love you have to climb out of the cradle, where everything is ‘getting,’ and grow up into the maturity of giving, without concern for getting anything special in return. Love is not a deal, it is a sacrifice. It is not marketing, it is a form of worship.” ~Thomas Merton
Many years ago,
I danced in Mill Valley, on a Tuesday night with Kathy Altman. Leading the class, she did something truly extraordinary…at least it was for me. I remember that night like it is this night. I remember it because I was led to dance a dance where I was so awake, so alive, deep in the cells of my body, that every move was imprinted in my cells.
This dance was visceral. It was instinctive. My Soul danced this dance, and then we wrote this as a way to capture words about something beyond words.
Tonight I danced.
Tonight I danced and came alive.
Tonight I danced and cried and pulsed and throbbed.
She told us to make our presence known.
She asked us to step so strongly there was no question we had been there.
She reminded us to track ourselves,
to be so aware of where we had been and where we were going,
so much so that our path wrapped its way around and around us until we were tightly wound balls of Being.
My hands connected,
molasses-like energy stretching from mama earth to the tips of my fingers.
As I perched on my paws, I felt her kindred spirit suck me into her tendrils of love.
Tonight I danced and came alive.
I felt his pulse, absorbing it into my body.
I felt her love, letting it run down my arm and fill my heart.
I felt their joy, knowing it was mine, too.
I knew other as self.
Tonight I danced and came alive.
Here, together, let us come alive.
Tonight, together, let us dance these questions.
Tonight, remember the wisdom within you, reveal your instincts, feel the desire in your body to dance into its wholeness. Our bodies are creatures, instinctual creatures with hearts, longings, and voices that must speak.
Later, at then end of the dance as we moved into stillness, Stacey played a song that was a compilation of my spoken words and a powerful instrumental piece by Max Richter, On the Nature of Daylight.
Whatever you’ve been through, whatever life has brought your way, whatever injustices, betrayals, or abuses you have experienced, you have survived.
You are here. Alive. Breathing. Dancing.
Whatever injustices, betrayals, or abuses you have perpetrated, you have survived.
You are here. Now. Alive. Whole.
Breathe this in, really take this knowing in. That you are here, alive, whole, and awake regardless of what happened in your past. Feel this aliveness in every cell of your body, a body that longs to know this aliveness, longs to live its fullness. Allow your heart to expand to the capacity that is its nature. Allow your arms to spread as wide and open as they long to be. Allow your belly to pulse and swell with the primordial creation that infuses your being with this precious life.
You are here, on this earth. You are alive on our beautiful planet. You are whole, a wholeness that is filled from the mother.
And, it is time to bring this aliveness to the world. To bring your wholeness to this world that is hungry for feeling, thirsty for truth, dying to be alive, wanting to be touched.
This is your gift to this world. Your aliveness. Your wholeness. Your breath. Your beauty. And to live this is to live what life is asking of you, what life is asking you to give. It is yours and yet it is not. It is given. It is given to you, through you, so that you can in turn give it forth.
It is this simple. Spend every breath completely, but not just for yourself. Spend it for Life, for others, for what is coming into being, for what is being born.
Be full. Be whole. Be love. Be truth.
There is already a mythology and an inherent wisdom within us that knows how to move mountains, and to birth something new.
Dance yourself open. Listen Deeply. Track yourself. Come back and tell us what you discover.
Allow it to show you where Justice lies, where Hope lives, where Love beckons.Open to this Force within. Dance, listen, and allow it to move you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed and have been inspired by these words.
If so, I ask you to share in the comments below how they’ve inspired you to rise.
I ask you to share with other women and men you know who are ready for similar inspiration.
If you’d like to read about last year’s rising, you can download this complimentary eBook, ‘rise up & reclaim’.
*** from OneBillionRising.Org:
ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice – courthouses, police stations, government offices, school administration buildings, work places, sites of environmental injustice, military courts, embassies, places of worship, homes, or simply public gathering places where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not. It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories – politically, spiritually, outrageously – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right.