Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Coming Up For Air

I've been swimming lately. I try to get to the pool at least twice a week for laps. It feels good. I'm even considering doing a triathlon sometime in the next year. Do you know that feeling when your lungs are aching and you just barely break the surface in time to gulp in some oxygen before heading under again? That's my life right now. Hence the sparce posting these days.
This moment, sitting here now to get some words out, is one little gasp of air for me in what feels like a marathon swim.
Since I returned from DC I've begun work on a national campaign to raise awareness and promote advocacy for the Democratic Republic of Congo. It's just me and my friend in Portland. It feels like a massive undertaking that some days I'm not sure I'm capable of while I sit between piles of papers in front of my computer at my little desk in my bedroom. But most days I just feel a sense of compelling passion... a fire in my belly.
Speaking of belly. During this time of birthing in my life, I've also decided to pursue a doula practice. In my Pilates work I have developed a specialty for pre/post-natal work, so it is a nice combo of skills to be able to offer my clientele. Plus I am hoping that I can teach less and have more hours to work on the campaign, but still have a source of income that requires less regular time.
Since my return from Africa last year, I had been searching for a healing art to practice that could be more transferable to a variety of places in the world. Although in my Pilates work I do get the opportunity to be a healing presence, it is not a very transferable practice in poorer places. As a doula, perhaps I will have the opportunity to support women through childbirth throughout the world... or at least learn from other cultures birthing practices. At any rate it seems to fit my path in life... caring for women, being part of an ancient sisterhood of healers. It speaks to the part of me that needs that compassionate one-on-one human connection, especially while the rest of my time is spent working on wide-scale social change at an idealogical and political level.
Aside from this I'm still doing a lot of mentoring for the International Rescue Committee and Children of Promise, along with serving on the Women's Human Rights Action Team for Amnesty International. I have also taken on the role of Social Justice Coordinator at my church. Somehow in the midst of everything I am still managing to care for myself... I sense it is an imperative for what lies ahead. So I've set up a Rolfing (deep tissue work) appointment once a month, I have my first dental appointment in years, I'm starting to see a Naturopath for general care, and I just had my eyes examined. I've committed to maintaining a real work-free "Sabbath" practice one day a week. Another chance to come up for air.
So, if my posts are few and far between for awhile, you'll know why. I'll try to keep you posted on the development of the campaign. We are desperately seeking a professional web designer to help us develop our site (preferably donated), and we need help getting a database set up, too, if anybody knows somebody out there. I am looking into options for donated office space now. I will probably be heading to the Congo in the fall.
OK, that's it for now. Going back under....

Monday, April 03, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Here is a letter I just sent to my local newspapers. Please take a moment and send one to your local editors today, too. Feel free to cut and paste this one if you like:

Dear Editor,

April 6th marks the beginning of the Rwandan genocide 12 years ago when 800,000 people were murdered. We wring our hands and show great remorse for turning our backs as this holocaust occurred, ardently proclaiming, “Never again!”

Yet, over the past several years we have been silent bystanders to a conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo claiming a death toll of over 4 million, the highest since World War II. Half of these deaths are children under the age of five.

Although it has been named the “world’s deadliest emergency” by Jan Egeland, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, only six minutes were devoted to the issue on the three major US television networks’ nightly newscasts in 2005 according to a report by Doctors Without Borders.

There is no question that the issues around the crisis are complex. But what is NOT complicated is that over 1200 innocent lives are being lost daily and thousands of women and girls are suffering as systematic rape is used as a weapon of war.

As a citizen of the world, I refuse to stand by and allow atrocities of this magnitude go unnoticed.

Please cover the war in the Congo.