Eve Ensler’s Loving Words of Wisdom and Passion

If you are not familiar with Eve Ensler, she is the marvelous creator of the Vagina Monologues and V-Day:  http://www.vday.org/home

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eve_Ensler

Embrace Your Inner Girl

http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_embrace_your_inner_girl.html

I think the whole world has essentially been brought up not to be a girl. How do we bring up boys? What does it mean to be a boy? To be a boy really means not to be a girl. To be a man means not to be a girl. To be a woman means not to be a girl. To be strong means not to be a girl. To be a leader means not to be a girl. I actually think that being a girl is so powerful that we’ve had to train everyone not to be that. (Laughter)”

“I am an emotional creature. I love that I do not take things lightly. Everything is intense to me, the way I walk in the street, the way my momma wakes me up, the way it’s unbearable when I lose, the way I hear bad news.

I am an emotional creature. I am connected to everything and every one. I was born like that. Don’t you say all negative that it’s only only a teenage thing, or it’s only because I’m a girl. These feelings make me better. They make me present. They make me ready. They make me strong.

I am an emotional creature. There is a particular way of knowing, It’s like the older women somehow forgot. I rejoice that it’s still in my body. Oh, I know when the coconut is about to fall. I know we have pushed the Earth too far. I know my father isn’t coming back, and that no one is prepared for the fire. I know that lipstick means more than show, and boys are super insecure, and so-called terrorists are made, not born. I know that one kiss could take away all my decision making ability. (Laughter) And you know what? Sometimes it should. This is not extreme. It’s a girl thing, what we would all be if the big door inside us flew open.

Don’t tell me not to cry, to calm it down, not to be so extreme, to be reasonable. I am an emotional creature. It’s how the earth got made, how the wind continues to pollinate. You don’t tell the Atlantic Ocean to behave. I am an emotional creature. Why would you want to shut me down or turn me off? I am your remaining memory. I can take you back. Nothing has been diluted. Nothing’s leaked out. I love, hear me, I love that I can feel the feelings inside you, even if they stop my life, even if they break my heart, even if they take me off track, they make me responsible.

I am an emotional, I am an emotional incondotional, devotional creature. And I love, hear me, I love love love being a girl. Can you say it with me? I love, I love, love, love being a girl!”

Happiness in Body and Soul:

http://www.ted.com/talks/eve_ensler_on_happiness_in_body_and_soul.html

And it hit me in that moment that it had taken 47 years, but that Mr. Alligator had finally shown up. And he’d show up obviously in a form that it took me a long time to understand, which is that when we give in the world what we want the most, we heal the broken part inside each of us. And I feel in the last eight years that this journey, this miraculous vagina journey, has taught me this really simple thing, which is that happiness exists in action, it exists in telling the truth and saying what your truth is, and it exists in giving away what you want the most. And I feel that knowledge and that journey has been an extraordinary privilege, and I feel really blessed to have been here today to communicate that to you. Thank you very much.”

Workshop: Prenatal Sexuality & Well-Being, March 20th, Sintra & April 25th, Lisboa

PRENATAL SEXUALITY & WELL-BEING


Oh friend, understand:  the body

is like the ocean

rich with hidden treasures.

Open your inmost chambers

and light its lamp.

Mirabai


Pregnancy and birth are a sexual rite of passage in a woman’s life, constituting profound physical, emotional and spiritual changes.

This workshop will provide an opportunity to:

•Express our personal experiences and ask questions in a safe environment, freeing up the energy of the throat, pelvis and emotions.

•Practice simple techniques from sacred sexual practices which help us to relax into sensation, pleasure and presence.

•Build community with other women to create positive mirrors to support us on our journey.

•Gather resources to empower birth as a initiation into deeper womanhood.

•Have fun!

Pre-registration required:

anahata.bhakti@gmail.com

www.bhaktibirth.com 932 604 707


SINTRA:  March 20th, 9:00 to 18:30

Location: lovely private home

LISBOA: April 25th,  9:00 to 18:30

Location: Casa Semente, Alvalade

In English, with Portuguese translation avail.

Delicious vegetarian lunch, snacks and nourishing herbals teas included

75 euros (financial support available: please contact me)


Workshops: Postnatal Sexuality & Well-Being, March 16/23/30, Sintra & April 13/20/27, Lisboa

Postnatal Sexuality & Well-Being

There is something obscure which is complete before heaven and earth arose;

tranquil, quiet,

standing alone without change,

moving around without peril.

It could be the mother of everything.

I don’t know its name,

and call it Tao.

Lao Tzu


SINTRA:  Tuesdays, March 16th, 23rd, 30th 10:30 to 13:30, lovely private home

LISBOA: Tuesdays, April 13, 20th, 27th

11:00 to 14:00, Casa Semente, Alvalade

For mothers & babies.

In English, with Portuguese translation avail.

Light  snacks and nourishing herbals teas; feel free to bring personal food

65 euros (financial support available for those in need; please contact!)

New motherhood offers deep joys and deep challenges.

Even as we may be filled with more love than we have ever felt, our sense of self, our relationship to our bodies and our capacity to integrate this transformation may feel adrift at sea.

This workshop provides an opportunity to:

•Create community with like-minded mothers

•Speak your experience, ask questions and deepen your natural ability to intuitively navigate parenting and relationship (to body, self, partner, society).

•Learn simple techniques from sacred sexual practices to nourish the sensual body and enhance sexual energy and experience, including how to share this information with

a partner.

•Gather resources to empower your sense

of self as both mother and lover.

•Have fun!


*This workshop is expressly designed for mothers to be able to bring their babies.*

Pre-registration required: http://www.bhaktibirth.com

anahata.bhakti@gmail.com 932 604 707


Repost from The Unnecesarean.com: On Culture, Cuts and a Coherent Message

It is easy, when one feels passionately about something, to fall into black and white opinions.  But life isn’t black and white, and the circumstances of every birth have many factors we on the outside may never see.  The following article is a good foray into a more open discussion of elective cesareans.

Original blog:  http://www.theunnecesarean.com/blog/2010/2/16/on-culture-cuts-and-a-coherent-message.html

On Culture, Cuts and a Coherent Message

By Courtroom Mama

Jill’s recent post about BaZi and planned cesareans brought up a question that has been lurking in my head for a long time.  Some of the comments on Facebook showed a distaste (to put it lightly) for elective cesareans on auspicious dates.

The tenor of the conversation reminded me of a particularly difficult conversation in international women’s human rights: female genital cutting. Most of the major US-based international human rights organizations have campaigns against the practice, and we even have a cute acronym, FGM (female genital mutilation).  This was all well and good until activists from the global south were like “um, hey guys, we’ve undergone the procedure and we don’t feel like we’re ‘mutilated.’ Hello, cultural hegemony!”

This, along with some interesting critiques of Western campaigns against FGC, has made me ask myself some tough questions, specifically am I inappropriately applying my values to someone else’s experience? After much reflection, it occurs to me that I have virtually no context from which to judge the practice. What entitles me to judge the “validity” of a culture or religion? I can fight against the practice being carried out on unwilling young girls in dangerously unsanitary conditions, and work toward a world in which women are valued and don’t feel “unclean” just by dint of being women, but ultimately it’s not my call to make. (and yes, it is WAY more complicated than this, but that’s a whole different blog!) It seems like the best I can hope for is education, informed consent, and harm reduction.

So, following that logic, what entitles me to judge a woman’s reason for a cesarean section, whether it be tokophobia or astrology? Astrology and numerology are central to some Eastern religions; is there a hypocrisy in supporting a woman’s right to refuse a cesarean on religious grounds but not the right to have one on those same grounds?

I recognize that, according to studies and surveys of women who have given birth, the truly elective cesarean is so scarce as to be nearly mythical in the United States. Nevertheless, I think it may be valuable for us to examine our gut reactions to the specter of elective cesarean surgery regardless of the reason. Most of the evidence that I have read indicates that the risks to a baby from cesarean surgery are approximately coequal to those of vaginal birth, and that the real difference lies in the risks to the mother (who is often invisible in the calculus of whether a cesarean is warranted in any given situation).  There are legitimate concerns that putatively elective cesareans are “elected” based on scare tactics or misinformation. This is a Very Big Deal, and I don’t mean to dismiss this fact; however, the message of the birthing rights movement at large is a lot less clear in the hypothetical situation of a woman who has read the studies and nonetheless made the decision to bear the risks and have a cesarean section.

I personally know a woman who had an elective cesarean section. She delivered one child via emergency cesarean section —after a very, very long labor— for true CPD with serious fetal distress. Her surgery was conducted under general anesthesia, and the experience was traumatizing to her. Surprise, surprise, right? Rather than attempt a VBAC delivery as her OB encouraged her to do (obviously she’s not in the U.S.), she preferred to have a planned cesarean. In fact, she had to fight for ERCS. She would rather have another cut than possibly have to be put out again and miss the first hours of her baby’s life.  She had serious complications with her second and third surgeries, but those babies were never in any danger and she got to spend time with them as soon as they were born.  I can’t say I begrudge her that.

Sure, you say. That was a repeat. But what about a primary? I know another woman with an android pelvis and generations of family history of surgical or medically-assisted deliveries (with catastrophic injury to the pelvic floor) because of this. If I were in that situation, I might consider still trying to deliver vaginally. But I’m not. Consider this: if you were the one making the rules, how long should she have to labor before you decide that she’s officially obstructed? Who gets to make that call? If she gets to make the call to refuse, shouldn’t she get to make the call to consent as well?

If there is going to be a cohesive movement for the rights of childbearing women, we need to figure out what exactly our values are.  Are we simply anti-cesarean or anti-medicine (because, as Emjaybee points out, some feminists think we are)?  And what do we lose if we are?  I’ve witnessed online conversations in which people go off on doctors who administer epidurals as “War Lords” (presumably meaning drug lords, pushing drugs to fetuses?) and the words “slice and dice” seem to roll off the keys a little too easily.  Even though it is in the minority, when employed outside of personal stories, this type of rhetoric creates “noise” that undermines any coherent message we’re trying to convey.

At a recent birth conference, Robbie Davis-Floyd urged attendees to consider our audience.  Despite Randi Hutter Epstein’s characterization of our current birth culture as an ‘era of extremism,’ the vast majority of women will fall somewhere in the middle ground between unassisted birth and elective cesarean surgery. In fact, most will want to deliver in hospitals, most will want epidurals. My sense is that, again, the best we can hope for is education, informed consent [and refusal!!!], and harm reduction. We can work toward a culture in which pregnant women are valued and their rights aren’t threatened, and we can demand evidence-based maternity care with a choice of prenatal care providers, but when it comes down to it, isn’t it the woman’s call?

If we want to reach who Dr. Davis-Floyd refers to as “the epidural woman,” we should make sure that our message is clear.  To the extent that any message has even a whiff of judging the woman as opposed to the practice, or paints all of any type of practitioners with a single stroke, it will fall on deaf ears.

And if we don’t want to reach the Epidural Woman? If we choose to cast disdain on the moms on Babycenter or on those insipid TLC shows, we should get comfortable at the margins, because it’s pretty easy to get pushed aside if your message doesn’t resonate.

(P.S. In case you didn’t notice, this isn’t Jill. I’m the Courtroom Mama, and I’ll post an intro a little later on. Nice to meet ya!)

from TED: A Warm Embrace That Saves Lives

This is an interesting short talk about low-tech accessible equipment to keep premature babies alive.

http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_chen_a_warm_embrace_that_saves_lives.html

Of course, kangaroo care, where an adult ( ideally the mom or dad) carries the baby skin to skin on the chest to regulate the baby’s body, is the best technology of all!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_care