INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!!

It is INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!  TODAY! March 8th!

Today, there are over 950 events in over 50 countries!  OVER 950 EVENTS IN OVER 50 COUNTRIES! Celebrating women, loving women…women organizing for women, for peace, for justice…

gallery_232International Women’s Day is about SOLIDARITY.  We stand, we walk, we sit, we lie, we breathe all over the world, TOGETHER,  not only for women, but for humanity and the earth.  We do this every day.  Today, we designate a day so that we will no longer need one.  When we no longer need this day we will do it anyways because as long as there is one person who needs it we will not stop standing, sitting, lying, and breathing for you.  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King says.  When we no longer need a day we will do it anyways because celebration is my favorite ways to remember…

International Women’s Day was not created so that women will organize…it was established because women organized.  I really recommend checking out the International Women’s Day (IWD) website: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/ The time-line and history of IWD is fascinating!!!  There are global statistics, articles, networking, and more!

Did you know that International Women’s Day is a product of socialist, labor, and anti-war movements?  That it has been happening since the early 1900s??  All over the world!!! That it is an official National holiday in many countries?  That in Russia more women get flowers on March 8th than any other day of the year, including their birthday?  Check out that website!

My heart bleeds these videos onto the page:


I have spent many, many moments these past weeks crying and dancing over these clips.  I have done this alone.  Today is a day about sharing…I share with you the forces that keep me breathing, moving, thinking, engaging, loving, dancing, and hurting…

To understand International Women’s Day we have to be able to understand what I like to call “both-and”…

gallery_4We are recognizing the injustices and of the past, celebrating women’s victories throughout history all over the world, see how far we have come, noticing how far we have to go… Can we do this all at the same time?  Without dismissing or ignoring any one of these elements?  Can we?  Can I?  Can I celebrate the monumental gains of women’s rights without letting that prevent me from noticing how much work still lies ahead?  Can I sit with the painful, PAINFUL, existing injustices and violences while at the same time  honor and rejoice in the work of my foremothers?  Can I laugh and cry at the same time?  Can I “hold” without replacing?

If you are a woman*, please, take time today to think about yourself, your future, gallery_16your past.  Think about all the women who are your ground and all the women you are called on to be the ground for.  For as many women as there are in the world there are differences amongst women.  And remember, just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.  (Check out http://www.womensmediacenter.com/about_us.html for what I mean by that…)

Men*, think about women.  Men, think about men, think about yourself.  Think about your role.  Think with gentleness and with discomfort.

Honor, recognize, and celebrate.  Seek truth.  Ask questions.  Encourage surprise.

gallery_141I did not even know this day existed until two women of Naropa staff approached me a few weeks ago about planning an event.  They both originate from countries that are not the United States.  I listened to their stories and let them tickle me like club soda fizz.  I was astounded by own ignorance.  When we held the event in the Naropa Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, I would say 90% of U.S. born people had never heard of International Women’s Day nor had they participated ever in any IWD events.  All of the women non-U.S. born had not only heard of IWD, but had been active participants in the Day’s events.  Even the women in the room who were U.S. born but had had international lovers had been exposed to IWD.  What is going on in the United States???  All people: use this day to break out of our U.S.-centric mentality.

I say this with enthusiastic encouragement not shaming accusations.  I have been so surprised by my own ignorance lately, but I can’t focus on that because it will only continue to block me from seeing.  Instead, I am choosing to not let all my focus rest on the shape of my ignorance, but (and) what can exist outside it’s boundaries.

gallery_11Please, ask about women.  Ask about women when you read the news, when you study, when you think about local and global problems and solutions.  Do it every day.  Not just today.  And do it without being asked to.

As I have been struggling the past two weeks, thinking about amazing women organizing all over the world has held me up.  Because of this and not because of this I too want to, and must, reach out my arms to you all around the world.   Check out the International Women’s Day website,  and please, share your stories…

*Note: “Man”…”Woman”…how can this be defined, categorized?  This will be a post for another day.  For now, the disclaimer needs to be made that despite popular usage, “man” and “woman” perpetuate a binary mentality that is, simply stated, false.

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