clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world

Turning pain to planting and power

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“The basic concept of City of Joy and V-World Farm in Congo, an integrated vision and program is TURNING PAIN TO PLANTING AND POWER. How do we heal women’s bodies by healing the earth and heal the earth by healing women’s bodies.”Eve Ensler,

Now it is another day. And today when I opened my inbox, I found something there which really gave me hope. It was a letter from Eve Ensler, the incredible woman who, through her courage, strength, vision and love (yes there is that L-word again!) is helping women turn their pain into power.

V+Day_City-of-JoyI am SO inspired by this woman!! She is creating a kind of revolution for women, giving them the courage and place to dance, to use their voices, their brains, their hearts and their Womanness to break out of long-entrenched cycles of violence and passivity in all corners of the world. Through Eve’s passionate dedication to lifting up women Everywhere, she has engaged thousands of people (some of whom have prestige, influence, and resources) to rise together and support the struggle to end violence and injustice towards Women. And that is no small achievement, dear Readers.

In honor of International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8th, I would like to present you with a few facts about women in our world.

  1. Women perform 66% of the world’s work, but receive only 11% of the world’s income, and own only 1% of the world’s land.
  2. Women make up 66% of the world’s illiterate adults.
  3. Women head 83% of single-parent families. The number of families nurtured by women alone doubled from 1970 to 1995 (from 5.6 million to 12.2 million).
  4. Women account for 55% of all college students, but even when women have equal years of education it does not translate into economic opportunities or political power.
  5. There are six million more women than men in the world.
  6. Two-thirds of the world’s children who receive less than four years of education are girls. Girls represent nearly 60% of the children not in school.
  7. Wars today affect civilians most, since they are civil wars, guerrilla actions and ethnic disputes over territory or government. 3 out of 4 fatalities of war are women and children.
  8. About 75% of the refugees and internally displaced in the world are women who have lost their families and their homes.
  9. Gender-based violence affects one out of three women and girls in the world.

Sources:, Amnesty International , US Census Bureau , Women’s Learning Partnership

The website has posted a list of rights that they support for all women worldwide. They state the following:

We believe that all women have certain inalienable rights that cannot be legitimately withheld under the guise of religious or cultural “laws” or “traditions.” All Women ought to have The Right…..

  • to not be physically mutilated

  • to not be killed in the name of “honor”

  • to not be forced to perform or submit to sexual acts

  • to choose whether or not to become pregnant

  • to equal education

  • to have an equal vote

  • to be literate

  • to not be forced to labor without pay

  • to choose their own religion, or lack thereof

  • to have equal access to medical care

  • to have equal driving privileges

  • to leave their home as they wish

  • to leave their country

  • to choose a career

  • to choose their own mate

  • to leave their mate

  • to take legal action against their mate or any citizen

  • to choose their own clothing

  • to be treated equally under the laws of their country

  • to listen to or perform the music of their choice

  • to read or write what they choose

  • to view or create art of their choice

  • to have the same freedoms as others (men) in their society

  • to have free and equal access to information

  • to own property

  • to hold public office

  • to enter into legal contracts

Women in the first world, where most of us live, already have obtained these ‘rights,’ at least in principle. However, there are far more women living in the developing world who continue to be denied these rights and others. It is for this reason that Eve Ensler and all who are supporting her vision are working so hard to help these women. She writes,

“We made a decision four years ago to put our energy into the grassroots women of Congo, to support their visions, their plans, their desires, their futures. To believe in their strength. To find the support for them to heal from gender violence of all forms, to be trained and educated in skills and their rights, to become leaders in their communities so that they could build a grassroots movement that eventually would be strong enough to transform this country and turn pain to power.

In one of our exercises I asked the girls to give themselves a new name, a name that would describe and carry the meaning of who they have become here and then to write their new autobiography. Some of their new names: Star, Light, Victory, Love, Sara (because she was beautiful and she worked), Queen.

There are real health issues here; aids, malaria, women arrive with all kinds of physical and mental problems and illnesses. Many have given up hope, have stopped taking care of themselves and are just waiting to die. Now they glow and shine with a transcendent beauty. Stars, Queens, Light. Their hunger to learn, to take in everything they are taught or given, their strength and their rising is breathtaking. I feel more inspired than ever to continue our work and to see how we can bring more and more girls into this process.

Today in the midst of a wild moment after the celebration of Dr. Mukwege’s birthday, 90 young women were literally dancing Christine, Dr. Mukwege and I down a path. I suddenly understood joy. It’s big, bigger than any one of us. It’s uncontrollable and it’s fierce. It’s more generous than anger and has the ability to make revolution because its tentacles and fire are infinite and it feels good.

I send my love and gratitude from that place which is the City of Joy,


To read Eve Ensler’s letter and get inspired, follow this link:


Author: SingingBones

When we sing over the bones, we are calling the wild nature, the instinctive soul back, singing it alive again. To live with our wildness intact, is the greatest gift a woman can give herself. "It is the holy poetry and singing we are after." C.P. Estes

One thought on “Turning pain to planting and power

  1. I absolutely LOVE this one….talk about hope and the power of love!


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