Today I received an electronic missive from someone I don’t know very well. He wrote, “It is interesting that you support One Billion Rising. I would like to understand why. Aren’t these movements polarizing? And as a result further exacerbate the problem.” My response to him was, “I’m happy to discuss our perspectives on One Billion Rising if/when we meet next…I would ask if you are referring to the polarization between people who support violence against women and the people who prefer that all genders live together as free equals in peace and harmony. I believe the world is waking up. I believe the time has arrived. I am hopeful. And as such I’m more than happy to add my dancing body to the count, or as I refer to it, the countdown to death of misogyny. You and the rest of the planet are equally welcome to join.”
The violent death of Jyoti Singh Pandey after a horrific gang rape in Delhi ignited our hearts and the world is now On Fire! The winds have shifted and this blaze will burn forth until misogyny exhales its final breath. The manner in which men and women are coming together to change the mindset is unprecedented: six hundred men and women singing John Lennon songs in the hills of Darjeeling to stop the violence; the New Year’s Eve concert of hot shot rap artist Honey Singh cancelled on the day of the show due to public outrage over his misogynistic lyrics; Anoushka Shankar going public with her story of childhood sexual abuse; Robert Redford joining Eve Ensler; and now the whole world dancing on fire on Valentine’s Day, like Shiva’s Tandava Nritya! It is no longer a women’s issue. It is a global heart opening. It is no longer about marches, protests, slogans, and banners held only by angry women. We are on the brink of a massive cultural sea change originating within our hearts. People everywhere are coming forward with their stories, and their solutions. We each have our stories. And our answers. The oppression and violence is not far removed from any of us. It is not simply the heart wrenching stories of the one billion females on the planet who have been or will be raped or assaulted. (That number doesn’t count the oppressed and diminished.) It is also the stories of the rapists and the beaters and their own tortuous misguided souls. That makes at least two billion. And let’s not forget their families and friends who do not escape unscathed either. Even if we only count the parents of the victims and the perpetrators we’re now up to four billion. If we pull in a sibling and a friend of each, we’re now tallying about eight billion. That’s more than the planet’s human population. At a minimum. That’s why everyone’s standing up and saying, “Enough is enough.” Indeed. It is for all of us that we rise up and dance to stop the madness, to heal, to live in peace together. As a physician, dancer, musician, poet, yogini, meditator, and a woman I am beyond thrilled we are moving our bodies to dance in the peace we deserve. We send our heart’s wishes pulsing through our feet to the center of our Mother Earth. Nourish us! We sing our soul’s desires forth through our upraised arms to the vastness of our Father Sky. Protect us! Eight billion hearts rising to celebrate love, real love as peace. It truly is a Happy Valentine’s Day!