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Lions Roar : July 2019
Ensler’s One Billion Rising is a global call to action to end violence against women through events where women express their love of their bodies, such as simultaneous mass dances worldwide. PHOTOBYPAULAALLEN in mass dances as a way to get into their bodies to move and love them. “Dance is a profoundly divine expression of human being,” Ensler says. “It is how we express the music of our fears, of something beyond us, and express ourselves not with words but through the energy moving through us. You’re actually showing people what that energy looks like when it is mani- fested through your body. “When people dance together, they are able to express emotions and feelings that don’t create bina- ries. They create openness and invitation. Everybody gets to do it.” Millions of activists in 200 countries have participated in One Billion Rising activities, and its website is resplendent with videos of joyous people dancing together across the world. T ODAY, AT SIXTY-FIVE and cancer-free, Eve Ensler has a whole different concept of “body.” “Our body is what connects us to everything,” she says. “We have to fully occupy our bodies. I was floating up here in my head and I was disconnected from nature, my feelings, my memories. When you’re disconnected from your body, you’re not in higher consciousness; you’re in no consciousness. You’re frag- mented. In my journey back to my body, the deeper in I get, the more it suddenly gets here. In a good way. In a way in which you get to experience oneness.” Ensler now attends to her body with care and love. “I meditate, I do yoga, I exercise,” she says. “I do a lot of body work because I hold everything in my body. I have my own practices and rituals that I do before and after I go into dark spaces or difficult things so I can clean it out.” Ensler continues her work as an author, activist, and theatre artist from the country home where she moved four years ago. Her new book, The Apol- ogy, is her way of trying to understand her father’s abuse by writing, from her father’s point of view, the words she always longed to hear from him. “When we’re older and have some sense of balance in our- selves,” Ensler says, “it’s absolutely critical that we go back to the wounds and go through them so we can release them.” Her sense of spirituality has changed over the years, and has now expanded to include the earth itself. “So much of my practice now is about how do I serve this world, this earth, this nature, this mother,” Ensler says. “We’ve already destroyed so many species and so many of the things that she gave us to appreciate.” Ensler is interested in working toward a spirituality that doesn’t bypass social reality. “How do we create a spirituality that doesn’t skip over our responsibility to be involved in protecting the earth, making sure we have a free press, not allowing families to be separated at the border, and insisting Black people aren’t shot by the police?” she asks. At the same time, she says, “What happens inside of us is critical to what happens outside of us. We can’t skip the inside work. So often people do the inside work without going outside, or do the outside work without going inside. I think the real work of our times now is ‘inside–outside.’ You are working on yourself so that your behavior doesn’t mirror what you are fighting internally, and you’re using the transformations in your spiritual nature from medi- tation to make the world better.” Ensler has a name for the type of spirituality she wants to practice. “I call it ‘fierce love,’” she tells me. “Fierce love is loving, but it also has bite to it. It has a fight to it. It’s not just, ‘We love this world.’ We are responsible for this world. We are responsible for the direction we go in. That’s the spirituality I’m interested in.” That’s Eve Ensler—a force of fierce love, now at home in her own body, and in the body of the world. ♦ LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 39