One of my morning rituals is to read and/or listen to the news. My favorite morning news TV station is Good Morning America. The hosts are intelligent and light-hearted, a good combination when one has to share the good, bad, and the ugly with the world. My favorite newspaper is The New York Times, with the Wall Street Journal, and The Christian Science Monitor close behind. News time is private time for me.

Being the leader of an organization dedicated to health and wellbeing, touting pleasure as the way to live in the body and live a meaningful life, I deplore unnecessary violence and pain. I’ve always been deeply troubled by any kind of injustice and pain inflicted on humanity and animals. When I was five I announced to my mother that when I grew up I was going to buy a house and fill it with unwanted animals.  At ten I started in the business of raising money for the Christian Children’s Fund by putting on “shows” in my neighborhood similar to what in my day was known as the little rascals. I proudly raised $12.00 from the first show and received a personal note, complete with picture of a young child telling me my contribution would feed her for a year! I felt powerful. I had done something important and made a difference in the world. As I got older my passion for making a difference in the world continued. During one girl scout troop outing we took boys from the orphanage to see a baseball game. As we approached the orphanage the boys were eagerly leaning out of the building, waving and yelling with such excitement. I broke down in tears as every cell in my body felt their need and desire for human connection. I begged my mother to adopt just one boy. I still can see their faces. I still feel their need.

There are many things in life I view as despicable acts. Acts I perceive are based on misguided religious and social beliefs, and on the lack of education. In my opinion these acts are a direct result of humanity being cut off from feeling. Feel what we do and I believe we have a better chance at healing despicable acts and injustice. Don’t feel, and it’s easier to inflict pain and harm.

It’s not often I read something in the news that haunts me. When it does I know I’m being asked to speak up. So I will.

This week the New York Times ran a story about female genital mutilation. As a woman, this a topic I cannot bear.  As someone committed to standing for the freedom and safety of girls and women around the world, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know that female circumcision was only outlawed in the United States in 1996. How did this slip by me, by us? Previously unaware, when I read this I felt I had betrayed my tribe: women and the female spirit. There’s a part of me that relies on others to fix things for me, for us. People like the powerful leader Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata. She’s the First Lady of Zambia who recently addressed the delegates at the World Health Assembly, speaking out about the prevalence of violence against women and girls, sharing how most cases of violence still remain hidden and unrecognized. Hidden is the problem. What is hidden is the necessary education and information needed to become better people.

My path, the work I do, is clear: stand for love, peace and pleasure, and inspire people to “feel to heal”. I will continue to do this, awakening one body at a time, and maybe, just maybe, things will change.

There are those who believe it is okay to cut away the parts of women and men that connect them to the pleasures of living in the body. Then there are other people, like me, who believe in the gift of a body; to be treasured, respected, loved and honored for the mystery and magic it shares with us every moment of each day.

To be mindful, conscious, and aware is a spiritual act. Kind acts bestow love on the world. To become good means making a choice. To do right means making a choice. Choice takes emotional courage.

There is a feeling. It’s a sensation perceived as vitality, life, and the gift of living in a body as a spirit embodied in flesh. There are sensations one can feel: pleasure, bliss, comfort, love, joy, compassion, and connection. Each one is a gift of the body, each saying “thank you for hearing me, for honoring the gift of life in a body”.

To be mindful, conscious, and aware is a spiritual act. Kind acts bestow love on the world. To become good means making a choice. To do right means making a choice. Choice takes emotional courage. Right choices build integrity. They foster beauty, power, and a kind of grace that comes from living with universal truths that remind us to be good, loving, and kind. To respect the gift of life, the gift of a body one must perceive the body and life as a gift.

What inspires you to speak up, to stand for peace and love? What can you do today to be the best you can be?

Human possibility and potential is within our reach. You’ll find right action, right choice sitting between the contraction of “I can’t, we can’t” and the release of “I can, we can”. Right action and choice is sensed as harmonious, balanced, graceful, strong, powerful and sacred. It radiates like the sun radiates, sharing heat that propels hearts and spirits to be free, and to do the right thing. The afterglow of right action and choice is one of contentment, satiation, and security. The celebration that comes with standing for what you believe in and from exposing those beliefs as a part of who you are feels like the stretch of the feminine feline waking, extending her full knowledge, love, beauty and power from toes to tail, into her claws, and into the space between fear and courage where she lets herself speak out. How will you speak out today?

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