“That we find freedom, aliveness and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us but from what dissolves, reveals and expands us.” Eve Ensler
|Ms. Eve Ensler|
After the heady experience of the wonderful Athena Film Festival, I knew I must buckle down a bit to gear up for VDay’s One Billion Rising for Justice (OBR4J). Having happily accepted the position of coordinating volunteers, I wanted to do a good job for this wonderful organization. Eve Ensler started this organization 10 years ago. From its website: V-Day's mission is simple. It demands that violence against women and girls must end. To do this, once a year, in February, March, and April, Eve allows groups around the world to produce a performance of the play (The Vagina Monologues), as well as other works created by V-Day(for example “The Good Body”), and use the proceeds for local individual projects and programs that work to end violence against women and girls, often shelters and rape crisis centers. What began as one event in New York City in 1998 today includes over 5,800 V-Day events annually.
Since it was the second week of the month, I headed to the Village to Cornelia Sreet Cafe early on Tuesday evening for Thomas Pryor’s “City Stories: Stoop to Nuts.” On this evening, Tommy’s guests were all women artists. From the program: “Sherryl Marshall is a New York singer who has worn any musical hats in her career. Agatha Nowicki is an award winning actress/writer. Regina Ress award winning storyteller, actor, writer, and educator, has performed as taught from Brazil to Broadway, in English and Spanish, in settings from grade schools to senior centers, prisons to Carnegie Hall, homeless shelters to the White House.”
Of course, being in the neighborhood, I had to spend a bit of time at Marie’s Crisis where I was invited to sit at the piano with a couple of fascinating Ladies who invited me to some of their “Chick events”. I hope that pans out. I ended my night “at home” enjoying my music at Sojourn
Before buckling down to tackle VDay, and its volunteers, I headed up to the Kingsbridge Library in the Bronx where I had been admitted to a Memoir Writing class. On Wednesday afternoons for the next couple of months, I will be spending time learning and honing my skills, surrounded by like-minded women. I am excited and delighted.
Yet another winter storm allowed me to hibernate the day before One Billion Rising for Justice. I spent of the day on my computer, organizing, emailing, reassuring people that the show would go on, in spite of the weather! Getting on the road at 6am, I decided to take a cab as the trains have been a bit iffy and crazy this winter. One young Man walked past me on 2nd Avenue frustratingly muttering “Have the cabs gone on strike without telling us?” I asked the Guy across the street trying to find a cab going in the same direction as me if he wanted to share, if a cab ever came. One finally did, so we climbed in. That 10 minute ride was very interesting; we managed to get our life stories shared. (When I shared this encounter with my dear Friend, she explained that many years ago, she studied this very phenomena is a graduate psychology class. Apparently, it is not uncommon to share life stories with strangers in trains, plains, and automobiles!)
VDay’s One Billion Rising for Justice held at the Manhattan Center was special, emotional, fulfilling, and in spite of the weather, filled with amazing People. From the Program:
Release. Embody. Love. February 14 NYC
Join us for a journey from release through embodiment to love.
Each talk throughout the day is connected.
The morning session was Releasing the Trauma with Maya Azucena. Eve Ensler, Dr. Hyun Kyung, Gabrielle Bernstein, Patricia Moreno, and Dr. Christiane Northrup. The afternoon was Bringing in the Love with Maya Azucena, Meggan Watterson, Rha Goddess, Danielle LaPorte, Patricia Morena, and Eve Ensler to lead us in dance.
All day there were trained therapists and counselors on hand as well as bodyworkers (practitioners in Vikaz, Craniosacral Biodynamics, Dynamic Embodiment, and massage therapy).
|Melissa Reiker leading dancers |
If that wasn’t enough we then moved into a Dance Party: Rise NYC in the Hammerstein Ballroom. Batala NYC (the Women's Drumming Group I had met in December), DJ's Natasha Blank and Beverly Bond, Maya Azucena, Ramya Ramana, Eve Ensler,and many others entertained and led us in dance. Simply wonderful, magical day and night.