GLOBAL PEACE INITIATIVE OF WOMEN
The other day I was invited by my dear friends of the Global Peace Initiative of Women=GPIW, Dena Merriam and Marianne Marstrand, the co-founders of this group, to join a session of sharings,
by women spiritual leaders and social activists, sharing our thoughts, insights for 2021 and to reconnect in these very special times
I was fortunate to join the GPIW events almost from the start. I remember having joined in 2001
(or2) one of the first meetings at Mae Chee Sunsanee’s monastery in Bangkok in which we prepared the BIG GPIW meeting in Geneva 2002
About 500 women from ALL over the world, coming from ALL spiritual traditions, women who were socially
engaged and politically/ecologically engaged, some were Hindu, Christian (from all various Christian branches), Buddhist ( all various Buddhist traditions) , Muslim, Indigenous religions, Shinto, Jewish and many more and even some religions I had
never heard about, but also socially engaged women, met in Geneva at the UN invited by GPIW .
It simply was GRAND…all these beautiful strong women in their traditional clothes, …wow it was colorful beautiful and powerful!!!
In Bangkok, during the preparatory meeting, we had decided to be very careful to give firstly the floor to women, to let their voices be heard, as even or let’s say mostly in religious settings it is still a very male dominated world. This was actually
the starting point for GPIW, as Dena Merriam its founder, had been co-organizer of the 2001 spiritual Leaders conference in the UN in New York and had noticed how few women were present and almost none was given the floor to speak.
If my memory is right there was only Sergio di Mello, representative of the UN, as a male speaker during the UN GPIW day. (may be you still remember his tragic death one year later in 2003 in Bagdad)
Believe me, to hear all these
incredible women speak was an experience I will never forget: Dena Merriam, Amma, Jane Goodal, Sister Joan Chittister, the tiny but powerful Philipino christian nun Sistr Christine Tan ( I will never forget the emotions I felt listening to her …she
spoke in the name of the 13 year old girl who has been raped ) , Ven. Dhammananda, Mae Chee Sunsanee, Lama Tensin Palmo, and many many more …In the women speeches there was such depth of experience, of wisdom but also rich with emotions,
so that we all cried, laughed, hugged each other, in these impressive UN Geneva auditoriums. Probably a very unusual atmosphere in these historic halls. There was also so much humility and simplicity in all these contributions…most of the women spoke
as “WE” not so much what “I” accomplished, but what WE experienced, WE suffered, WE accomplished. There was the humility of INTERDEPENCE in everyone’s contribution …such a different tone than in which men usually are speaking!
Two days before the conference most of us met in the “BEAU RIVAGE” a mythical hotel at the Geneva lake, invited and hosted gracefully by its co-owner Kathrin ( Beau Rivage is still a family owned hotel) for 2 days of common practice,
From morning till late in the evening we joined our sisters of all these different traditions for prayers, meditations, rituals, chantings. I remember in the evening after a guided meditation by Amma, a ritual of a Jewish woman rabbi, some Muslim chanting,
some Hindu dancing etc…I came home and felt as if my soul/body spirit have been touched and “massaged” in ALL different “places” possible. It was an unforgettable and life changing moment.
The other day many
of those present in Geneva met again virtually to remember the beginning of GPIW and to honor this long journey and the many great events and GPIW developments that followed.
We were asked to share our insights for 2021
As it was
not recorded I ‘ll try to write my “insights” down and will post it in my next blog
To be continued