I was thrilled to speak in New York City at One Billion Rising’s event JustLove on Valentine’s Day 2014. JustLove was this year’s theme and celebration, and part of One Billion Rising’s global activism to end violence against women and girls. One Billion Rising was started by Eve Ensler, activist, performer, and author of the famous Vagina Monologues, as a way to bring attention to the fact that one in three women will be raped or abused in her lifetime. This equates to one billion people.
Last year’s One Billion Rising event was called Strike, Rise, and Dance. I had the pleasure of dancing the Argentine tango, the luscious partner dance, outdoors on Valentine’s Day in Portland, Maine (it was unusually sunny and warm) along with thousands of other people all over the world who participated in the global movement. I couldn’t think of a more symbolic way to address this than the partner dance of tango — since it speaks so profoundly to the potential for true partnership between the masculine and the feminine energies. A most healing practice.
As a result of the real love generated by One Billion Rising last year, it was one of very best Valentine’s Days of my life. And that amazing celebration was made into a movie that Eve Ensler premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last month. In fact, if you stop the video at 5:07, you will see me—ever so faintly—over on the left, in a red dress with short sleeves dancing with my teacher Paul Bavineau. Two other tango couples from our community are also featured.
This year’s theme JustLove grew out of the experience of standing up to the hatred, violence, and pain with its polar opposite—love. The day was set up so that women and men could spend the morning releasing the pain of abuse and violence. And then the afternoon was to bring in the love. As an OB/GYN, I have been on the front lines of this for about 35 years! And I know a thing or two about witnessing and releasing women’s pain. As a matter of fact, most gynecological problems are related, in part, to the abuse of the feminine—and shame about our bodies. If you’re interested, you can listen to all the wonderful lectures at http://www.onebillionrising.org/justlove/.
The first speaker was the incredible Dr. Hyun Kyung who is a professor of Inter-faith Engagement at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Dr Kyung was tortured as a young college student. And from this extraordinarily dark experience, she has emerged as a being of light, humor, and beauty. Now, Dr. Kyung is a Korean Eco-Feminist (Salimist), Christian scholar-activist, writer, and international lecturer, who has been working with different faith communities around the world. As a councilor of International Interfaith Peace Council, she traveled to many conflicted areas, such as Cambodia, Northern Ireland, Israel, Palestine, and Chiapa, Mexico, to participate in the peace-making activities. If you listen to nothing else, please listen to her magnificent presentation. I just adored her.
Next, Eve Ensler breathlessly took the stage fresh from a successful event in the Bronx for JustLove—and announced that JustLove was trending all over Facebook. A staggering 190 countries were participating. Nothing like this had EVER happened before! And all were excited that we were raising awareness all around the globe.
When it was my turn to speak, I explained the physiology of trauma, demonstrated how one can remove a traumatic imprint from the body with Divine Love, and did a healing on stage with my colleague Melanie Ericksen. I ended with a meditation in which I asked the audience to place one hand on their low hearts (their genitals) and one on their high hearts (the heart in their chest). And then send the huge love energy of their high hearts down into their low hearts—and back up again.
Together all of us—on Valentine’s Day 2014—created a huge scalar wave of Divine Love that was palpable and healing all around the planet. And we proved that Valentine’s Day isn’t limited to romantic one-on-one relationships. It’s a revolution of the heart that changes everything in our lives.
p.s. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I am quite vocal about ending the circumcision of little boys, which I think is not only unnecessary from a medical perspective, but I see as genital mutilation which we find completely unacceptable when it comes to little girls. I realize there are religious reasons for performing the ceremony, but even many Jews are rethinking the procedure. (For more information go to http://www.jewishcircumcision.org/book.) What many don’t realize is that the procedure is done on baby boys anywhere from few hours to a few days old—usually without any anesthesia, even a topical one. I used to perform this procedure myself, as was the requirement of my job, and it nearly broke my heart every time.
Anyway, knowing this was what I planned to talk about AND knowing that I didn’t want this particular part of my speech streamed to 190 countries, I asked them not to film it. Guess what? They misunderstood, and the only part that was streamed was my talk about routine male genital mutilation in the form of circumcision and care during the routine well baby checks (forced retraction of the foreskin), which is anatomically unnecessary and often results in scarring of the foreskin and penis of intact baby boys. Right after my plea to end all genital mutilation, the live stream stopped! Clearly a power bigger than me was at work, and perhaps it’s a sign that people are now ready to hear the cons of circumcision.