|~Courage~ Mano Mannaz|
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, calls us, The Scar Clan. With the greatest of thanks and respect to her and all she's done for women, I'm borrowing her phrase to honor those who are bringing their stories to gatherings tomorrow all over the world on Valentine's Day 2013 to be a part of One Billion Rising. An equally out-sized thank you to Eve Ensler for the inspiration of this day, now in its 15th and biggest year. You who gave us The Vagina Monologues and whose stories, like those of Dr. Estes, bring healing and empowerment to women of The Scar Clan, those survivors of violence who seek to emerge from their wounds and scars and join together to dance, to dance, to Dance!!
We....for I am one of the Clan, a date-rape survivor when there was no term for that experience....will gather and dance for ourselves and those everywhere around us who also survived. I think of Malala Yousafzai whose audacity to seek an education for herself and other Pakastani girls made her a target for men to hunt her down and shoot her as she sat in her school bus. I think of those women I know personally (how I wish I knew fewer) who suffered their own ordeals as children and adults and whose bravery and insistence on healing and whole-ing makes me both cheer and weep at the same time.
We will dance to honor those who did not survive their ordeals at the hands of their attackers. For Jyoti Singh Pandey whose horrific attack in India shocked us awake, and whose father said of her, "My daughter didn't do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter."
And we will Dance to raise power to break open people's hearts and minds, spurring us to action to move toward solutions and toward ending this ages-old scourge. And toward the day which is approaching when honoring one another and caring for one another and recognizing our shared humanity, our One Heart, will be everywhere the norm, will be how people conduct their daily lives. In no way is this unachievable. It begins with each one's commitment to be this change, to join this Dance regardless of whether or not you find a group to join tomorrow. We are all pilgrims together in this Earthly journey, and there is absolutely no reason not to shimmy into every day's dawn and to join hands with those who seek ours whether for solace or for toe-tapping celebration.
It is time to Begin...