A friend recommended Krista Tippett’s recent On Being interview with playwright/performer/social activist Eve Ensler. Last week while preparing food for our Thanksgiving meal, I listened to the unedited podcast. (The interview is full of insights, but I’ve pulled out a few highlights for you here.)
Ensler is the genius behind the iconoclastic play “The Vagina Monologues.” Her focus on female physicality and power has led her to some phenomenal projects. For example, in the Congo she helped create a refuge for women and girls surviving gender violence. It’s called City of Joy.
She’s a much-needed voice for a heart-centered, embodied ethic. I love what she says about the power of reconnecting with our physical selves and each other:
“The more people get plugged back into their bodies, each other, the more impossible it will for us to be dominated and occupied.”
She speaks of being both playful and careful as we begin to reconnect. Most of us are not used to this level of caring for our fellow humans.
“In the same way that we don’t see trees, we don’t see each other. We don’t see how traumatized people are, tender people are. I think sometimes if one were fully awake, one would do nothing in one’s day except stop on the road, on the people you meet, because you would see their pain…We walk past everyone. Sometimes it just crushes my heart.”
When Tippett responds that we don’t stop because we can’t bear letting in that much pain, Ensler notes that others’ pain is part of us already. We can’t avoid it, because we are all one. “So that when you stop to actually acknowledge it, you’re actually allowing it to move as opposed to be frozen in you.”
This reminded me of my energy healer friend Merry Henn-Lecordier, who showed me how to welcome uncomfortable feelings in order to allow their release.
Merry taught me the importance of regularly clearing stuck emotion by speaking directly to it, in love and compassion. For example, I might say something like: Anger, I see you. I feel you. I love you. I understand. I welcome you, anger. I approve of you, and I approve of the circumstances that caused you to be stuck in my energy field. You are welcome here. And I’m ready to move you now. (I modeled this blessing after phrases Merry herself uses.)
Then, again following Merry’s example, I ask for help moving the anger (or overwhelm or despair or anxiety or what-have-you) from my energy field, releasing it and transmuting it into love.
It’s remarkably transformative to do this simple ritual, intending compassion for all my emotional states. The lightness I feel in its wake gives me hope that Ensler could be right when she calls us “people of the second wind.”
“This could be (humanity’s) second wind, but it requires a radical re-conjuring and re-conceiving of the story…And I absolutely believe it’s possible, but enough people have to believe it’s possible and be willing to kind of move with this wind that is trying to come in, trying to pass through us right now.
Ensler’s latest memoir, In the Body of the World, depicting her journey with cancer, is high on my reading list.