M, S, Dot

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Sunitha and I

I just returned from India. I took more time there this year because my intuition told me that there were certain things that I needed to sort out, and I needed the time and space to do so. What happened is that I found ‘space’, in the most unexpected ways, of course. And I’m reminded of how important our quest for this space is. One way that I would define space is our freedom and capacity for change. In terms of my own perceptions, and experiences, I felt very connected to the ongoing debate within India (and elsewhere) about Leslee Udwin’s “India’s Daughter” documentary, and the Indian government’s decision to ban it. I have not seen the documentary, and I don’t think I want to. However I am very happy that so many people are more openly discussing the issue of violence against women, both in India and in the west. It’s not a new issue, but a terribly important one.

Something is happening. I feel it swirling inside me, and I also feel a change in the ‘tides’ in the world around me. I feel certain that they are connected, since that is how these things seem to work, if we pay attention. There is a certain integration that I feel, within and without.

Kaali...as a superhero, with a gun
Kaali…as a superhero, the “Black Widow” with a gun (by illustrator Raj Kamal Aich)

Here are a few things that have got people talking recently:

The “My Choice” video featuring Deepika Padukone. I’ve heard it described as ‘stone age feminism’ and this troubles me a bit. I think we need to embrace the idea that there are so very many perspectives on feminism, and not waste time judging what may or may not be beneficial or inspiring or helpful for another person. http://www.mensxp.com/special-features/today/25490-this-powerful-video-starring-deepika-padukone-will-change-the-way-you-look-at-women.html

Also, Rupi Kaur’s photos of herself on a stained bedsheet during menstruation were removed from instagram. http://www.scoopwhoop.com/news/insta-photo/

Priya’s Shakti, a graphic novel about rape and sexual violence in India, has been released. http://www.priyashakti.com  You can download and read it for free.

And, oh, yes! http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2015/04/22/the-woman-who-turned-the-tables-on-rapists-in-india/

I’ll tell you a story, because I love stories! While in India, I was asked this question, so many times when giving my name, was I a “Mrs. or Miss” which implies a lot of things: Am I married? How was I connected to a man? Any man? Daughter, sister, friend? And, from my perspective as a western woman, this question is not at all relevant. Each time, my friend would say, “Don’t ask this question. For every woman just put ‘M, S, Dot’. It makes it easy”. I assured him that in Canada I don’t get asked this question. After that, I got the impression that every time they saw me coming, they must have been thinking, “There’s M, S, Dot”, without really understanding what it meant! Over the following weeks, this began to take on a new significance for me, as I had some quite interesting experiences related to being a woman.

It seems that, as a woman, I can never really escape biology. I have a body that bleeds and sheds and changes constantly. Fluctuation and cycles are part of who I am. It’s never held me back from anything in life, but it has taken adjustment, and understanding and a certain sensitivity which my female friends understand. My biology also bears/seeds much potential. I can create and sustain life. My deepest understanding, as a yogi, is that my years of experience as a woman may have, in fact, prepared me well for observing subtle currents of energy within, and successfully holding space for new potentials of awareness and consciousness. It is an important subject for me because I’ve never felt that I do a particularly good job of being a woman (I’ve wondered if it might be my first time!). My biological challenges might, in fact be the ripe ground for the birth of a more enlightened way of looking at the world.

First cover of Ms. Magazine, 1972

Last week, back in Canada, I was asked the same question – was I a “Mrs. or Miss” – and I started to laugh. And so, I am reminded of who I am. “M, S, Dot” is like the western me, seen through the eyes of the east. And this is how I seem to relate to myself.

Pranams,

jjz

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