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Lions Roar : March 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2007 28 ing with this book, I noticed that the media is structured in a way that requires you to have an enemy. If you don’t have an enemy, someone you’re attack- ing, they don’t have any use for you. It’s very patriarchal. You can come on one of the shows if you have a position. I’m not re- ally that interested in positions. I’m interested in transforma- tion, reflection, feeling. Does your work have a spiritual basis? I don’t see the kind of work I do and spirituality as separate. Anything that attempts to grapple with ambiguity or mystery or love is spiritual at its core. Are you familiar with the work of Pema Chödrön? I’ve read almost everything she has written. In fact, it’s funny you should bring that up. I was dreaming last night that I would go away for two weeks and be mentored by her and study under her. That’s how I got myself to go to sleep. How do you stay whole and human in the middle of the whirlwind that must be your life now? I have certain practices. I’m a Buddhist; I’ve been practicing for years. I chant. I do a lot of exercise. I try to let myself feel what- ever it is I’m feeling. I’m often in the midst of a lot of people’s pain. A lot of people feel compelled, on the basis of what I’m sharing, to share their pain with me. It’s an enormous privilege and I feel honored, but it’s also extremely painful. Yesterday I had one of those days when I was quite low, and I cried for a good part of it. Now I’m better. When we cry, when we take the time to go through what we’re going through, it passes. Many of us don’t think we have the right to feel what we are feeling, so we hold on to it. It metastasizes and makes us feel worse and worse. What do you hope to accomplish next? I’m very happy with the theme of V-Day this year, “Reclaiming Peace.” Our spotlight is on women in conflict zones. I think we’ll be doing V-Days in Beirut and Africa. Hopefully we’re going to Darfur. Many writers and activists aim to get this kind of attention for worthy projects. “The Vagina Monologues” is now being staged in ninety-one countries and thirty-five languages. Why did it succeed where others have not? The play let women say what they wanted to say, and by doing that, it empowered them. It also had to do with the simplicity of telling one’s story. When you are younger, you think everything is complicated and out of reach. Then you get older and realize that everything is very simple in a certain way. If you just tell the truth, things change. ♦ PHOTOBYJOYCETENNESON