every woman who can be named there are a hundred who speak. For
every hundred who speak there are a thousand who know. For
every thousand who know there are ten thousand who do not yet
know, because their truth lies still deeper than all those
who speak and know and can be named. And every one us of is
needed now." --Sherry
The Lysistrata Project
is a portal of educational resources dedicated to the transformation
of consciousness necessary
to sustain Peace.
Begun in June 2002 in
the wake of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the retaliatory
bombing of Afghanistan, The Lysistrata Project rose initially
as a call to women to stand against war. In the widening spiral
of escalation gripping our world, it was understood that each act
of violence, blamed on the previous one, necessarily begets
another. "An eye for an eye," said Gandhi, "leaves
the whole world blind."
Over time it has deepened
to cultivate greater internal peace, recognizing that a habitual
stance of opposing, making "other", feeds the anger and separation
within and between us and limits the field of what we can conceive
as possible. "No problem can be solved from the same level
of consciousness that created it", said Einstein. We
must act. In what manner, then, shall we
act? As Thoreau pointed out, "There are a thousand hacking
at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."
Our world is experiencing
a significant shift in consciousness. In accelerating numbers we
are dawning to the realization of our interdependence upon
and inseparability from our beleaguered planet and the webs that
sustain all life. There is no "other".
Women's voices have been and are central to this awakening
The Lysistrata Project
holds that it is our moment-to-moment choosing of Peace --while
with the same breath speaking out the truth of corruption and exploitation--
that is transforming our world. This surge for balance within us
all, women and men, we recognice as the rising of the long-suppressed
Sacred Feminine. We celebrate reverence for Peace, for our Earthly
home and for all its beings whom we now hold sacred.
NEW YORK CITY and SAN FRANCISCO--January 26, 2003 (OTVNewswire)--Two
distinct ventures, each inspired by the iconoclastic heroine of
the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, are taking bold and unique
initiatives to help galvanize the peace movement.
Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata in the third
century BC. The play tells the story of Athenian women who, fed
up with the Peloponnesian War, barricade themselves in the Acropolis
and go on a sex strike to force their husbands to vote for peace
with Sparta. The name of the play's heroine, Lysistrata, means
"releaser of war."
Yes, the forces behind each Lysistrata
Project are women, and though their respective projects were launched
independently of one another, they are spiritually linked - and,
in fact, digitally hyperlinked on their websites.
The Lysistrata Project (New York City)
is coordinating the first worldwide theatrical event for peace.
On March 3, 2003, actors and other theater professionals are donating
their time and talent to mount live stage readings of Lysistrata.
As of today, more than 150 readings in over 15 countries are planned,
from Argentina to Singapore.
In the United States alone, just about
every state is represented. Many will have readings in more than
one city; and in several cities, actors plan to hold the event
in more than one venue.
Two New York actresses, Kathryn Blume and
Sharron Bower, hatched the idea for the Lysistrata Project earlier
this month. Blume, who earlier had contemplated writing a screenplay
adaptation of Lysistrata, was inspired to create the project at
New York's Theaters Against War (THAW) in December 2002 as the
Bush war machine against Iraq was accelerating.
Kathryn Blume is a long-time actor and
environmentalist. In addition to appearances Off-Broadway, in
regional theater productions and movies, she has worked for environmental
organizations such as the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and
Forest Watch. She's also taught yoga, acting, Shakespeare, and
public speaking in schools and venues across the country. Blume
toured Macedonia with a Balkan music group, works as a Life Coach,
and is an ordained Minister with the Universal Life Church. She
divides her time between New York City and Vermont, where she
shares a home with her husband and their emotionally needy cat,
Sharron Bower attributes her steely resolve
to coordinate the Lysistrata Project to her politically active
mother, adventurous father, and the strong women she's often portrayed
on stage who stood up against injustice. Since moving to New York
almost four years ago from the American South, she's worked in
television, independent film and theatre. She's also a volunteer
camp counselor, and the Resident Casting Director at The Mint
Theater in New York City. Before attending graduate school in
Texas, Bower worked as an editor at an advertising firm, where
she met her husband, graphic designer Mark Greene.
Less than a month after launching the website,
their project has already snowballed into what promises to be
an international cultural event for world peace. As Blume and
Bower eloquently state, "By its very nature, live performance
fosters not only open communication, but compassion: We see ourselves
reflected in a play, and the emerging human truths remind us how
like one another we all are."
New York's Lysistrata Project is a call
to action, actively encouraging both professional and amateur
actors - and the general public -- to join them on March 3, 2003
by producing or attending a reading of Lysistrata locally, in
every part of the world. Contact Kathryn Blume for planning productions
in New York City (Telephone: 802-233-5856) and Sharron Bower for
planning productions elsewhere (Telephone: 917-655-0926).
Lysistrata Project (San Francisco)
is 3,000 miles away from New York's Lysistrata Project but the
two undertakings share the same ideals, if not the same modus
operandi. This West Coast venture is an amazing Internet resource
combining the collective energy of three powerful, contemporary
social movements: Women, Spirituality and World Peace. It's the
brainchild of Lisa Dollar, a writer, poet, spiritual activist
Simply put, Lisa looked at the state of
the world following 9-11 and realized she had to do something.
After a nine-month gestation period - many sacred creations seem
to take 9 months, don't they? - she decided "to construct
something, rather than act in opposition." That "something"
would become LysistrataProject.org.
So in the summer of 2002, Dollar went to
school, but this time as a student. She enrolled in a web design
course at a local community college to learn the bits and bytes
of the Internet. Last fall, she set up her website; and almost
immediately it struck a chord that resonated in the hearts and
minds of like-minded souls around the world.
Dollar's Lysistrata Project calls for an
"heroic alliance" among the millions of men and women
who are helping to create a world of "people over profit,
a woman's full worth over controlled reproductive function, partnership
over dominance." The immediate challenge, however, is to
resist America's pending war in Iraq and current assault on our
Lisa Dollar was born in Nicaragua and moved
to San Francisco at the age of five. She graduated JFK University
and earned her Masters in Education from the University of San
Francisco. In 1984, she spent two months traveling through Africa
and came back "a changed person, after meeting the generous,
giving people of Malawi, Botswana and Tanzania." In 1990,
she went to the testing grounds at Semipalatinsk in the former
Soviet Union as part of a 3-week international anti-nuclear protest.
In 1991, America's Gulf War "built
up a lot of anger" in her, so in 1992, Dollar went to live
in a small town in Costa Rica through World Teach. There she tutored
English, studied Buddhism, Plato -- even the Bible, the latter
"only out of curiosity," she's quick to add. "Like
the Dalai Lama, my religion is kindness."
The Lysistrata Project (San Francisco)
is today both a catalyst for action and a magnet for some of the
most compelling original content on the web. Written by both men
and women, the articles, action alerts and inspirations bridge
interfaith spirituality with social and political activism.
"Lysistrata is an archetype, an emblem
for women to stand up and be counted," Dollar said in explaining
her website's namesake. It reflects "the huge swelling of
women stepping out, speaking up and beginning to take action in
one way or another. From that, women and men will be more in partnership."
You can contact Lisa Dollar at the Lysistrata
Project (San Francisco) via Email.
And Finally, Kudos to
Lest we forget, the writer who first put
pen to papyrus to create the story of Lysistrata was Aristophanes
who, along with Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, is considered
one of the giants of Western theater. Born in the 440s BC, Aristophanes
is the most famous writer of Greek comedies. He lived in Athens
through the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) and died in the 380s
BC. Of the 44 comedies he wrote, eleven survive, including Lysistrata,
from which its protagonist speaks the following lines:
"We need only sit indoors with painted
cheeks, and meet our mates lightly clad in transparent gowns of
Amorgos silk, and perfectly depilated; they will get their tools
up and be wild to lie with us. That will be the time to refuse,
and they will hasten to make peace, I am convinced of that!"
And that, dear friends, is the Heart of
¤ ¤ ¤
Bobby Heart is a contributing writer
and editor at Oasis TV. Title
illustration is by Barbara Watermann Peters. The bust of Aristophanes
is from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Photo collage created
by Humberto Robles from various sources.
"It isn't enough to talk about peace.
One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe
in it. One must work at it."
“I call myself a feminist. Isn’t
that what you call someone who fights for women’s
--HH Dalai Lama XIV
"A feminist is any woman who tells
the truth about her life."
"If we are going to bring about change,
then men, for goodness' sake, stand up and stand for the
right. And I say: Power to the women."
"The motivation underlying
our activism for social change must be transformed from anger
and despair to compassion and love. It is not to deny
the legitimacy of noble anger or outrage at injustice of any
kind. Rather, we seek to work for love, rather than against
evil. We need to adopt compassion and love as our foundational
intention, and do whatever inner work is required to implement
this intention. Even if our outward actions remain the same,
there is a major difference in results if our underlying
intention supports love rather than defeating evil." --Will
Keepin, Satyana Institute
"When I dare to be powerful, to
use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less
and less important whether I am afraid."
"I am not free while
any woman is unfree,
even when her shackles
are very different from
This flame I light symbolizes the fire of love that burns eternally
in the heart of all creation. One and the same is the flame I
tend within myself and the All of whom I am. As this smoke rises
upward, so also my dreams, prayers and aspirations ascend and
disperse, coloring the universe.
As I fill my lungs, breathing deeply, I am filled with Spirit,
from whose breath I was first given life. I am one with the
Source of all being, the Life Force animating all of creation.
Dissolved the veil of division that is my limited human perception,
I radiate my True Essence. I am All and Everywhere.
I am one with the Earth, my terrestrial mother. Having seen your
glistening fertile orb from the vantage point of the Moon, and
experiencing your cosmic movement among the Sun, planets and stars,
I'm filled with love and gratitude for your beauty, wisdom and
stability. I cherish your grasses and trees, your canopy of blue
sky, your clouds that bring nourishing rain, your oceans and mountains,
rainforests and flowers. I abide in your fruitful abundance.
I am one with the animals, the four-footed ones and the winged
ones, those who crawl on their bellies and those who inhabit the
waters. I delight in your multitudes. All you creatures of every
description, you are my brothers and sisters, my teachers, my
allies, and the key that springs open my most tender heart.
I am one with all the tribes of humankind, those in the distant
past, those living now, and those yet to be born. We are seekers
of meaning and its creators. Endowed with the
gift of self-reflection and the power of choice, we hold up for
each other the mirror of the Integral Human, the Integral Society.
In this eternal Now we stand ever on the brink of our own becoming.
I am one with the Beings of Light whose energies suffuse and
surround us, loosening our ego-grasp, enlivening subtle senses
to other realms. One with the numberless Bodhisattvas serving
among us in humble and familiar forms. One with the essence of
master teachers... Jesus, way-shower of the compassionate heart...
Buddha, of the quiet mind... Lao-Tsu, of the ineffable way. One
with the serene Presence who embodies and lights up my earthly
self. I am and have my being in this Luminous Awakeness... this
My heart swells with love and gratitude for living this union
of spirit with matter. To this One-Consciousness I offer this
day. Use me. In every moment incline my human mind to the higher
choice. Help me to persevere upon the path that my deepest knowing
would have me travel. Fill my heart with patience and compassion.
Let me recognize sacredness in the face of everyone I encounter.
Speak through me and let me say the words that would touch each
human heart. Into every situation let me bring understanding,
generosity and peace. Let me ever be mindful I am an instrument
in the quickening of our global awakening.
For the benefit of all, I particularly remember __________.
I turn inward, to the flame that burns within...
--Lisa Alfaro Dollar
ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet
you there." --
Rumi, Muslim Sufi mystic
Prayer of Thanksgiving for All This
How good it is to be here, in this moment, One,
this Numinous One,
this One Breath animating all of Creation,
infusing every ripple of space, every cell of every blade of grass.
this Overflowing Radiance of Be-ing
that has no form... This, I Am.
My human heart swells with love and boundlessness and gratitude
at being & expressing this One.
I give thanks for my miraculous body,
home to galaxies of intelligent cells orchestrating,
balancing my every bodily process, just as I–
one cell in the greater body of Earth & the infinite body
of the One–
am co-creating this dance of conscious evolution.
I give thanks for my wondrous heart,
touchstone of the Sacred,
receiver and transmitter of the most tender of feelings,
energetic vortex transmuting gratitude, passion, intention into
vessel of Incandescent Love.
I give thanks for the gift of my life,
this grand adventure in realizing the magnitude and the privilege
of living this union of spirit with matter,
this gift of relishing the feel of my roots
in the gritty-slippery clay of my beloved Earth
all the while that my soul, formless and free as the wind,
is moving in and through and as all that is, seen & unseen.
Every breath I take teems with this Mystery,
The One embodied in me... breathing
me... shining through me...
savoring Life as me... ever expanding because of me.
Marveling through my eyes at the radiance of Itself in every being.
Holy and precious is Creation... holy and precious am I.
--Lisa Alfaro Dollar
ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely
and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a
power such as the world has never known." --Matthew
Arnold, British Poet, 1822-1888
A parable for
A man approached the gate of an unfamiliar
city. As he reached the gate a magician standing there said "Wait!
You shouldn't go in there without a weapon! Demons lurk there!"
The man said "I need
no weapon and have nothing to do with demons."
The magician drew a sword
from the sheath he held; as he drew it a frightful demon appeared,
but the magician was able to kill it with the sword.
"Now will you take
a weapon?!?", he said, but the man still refused.
"Are you blind?",
said the magician, "Do you see the sword I drew killed the
"Are you blind?"
the man responded, "Do you not see that the sword you drew
created the demon?"
And he walked on into the
city, armed only with the clarity of his mind and being.
from Leonard Jacobson)
A Hopi Elder Speaks
"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh
now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered ...
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader."
Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said,
"This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the
of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least
ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and
journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we've been waiting for."
413 B.C., Aristophanes, the most inventive comic dramatist
of ancient Greece, mounted his latest in a series of plays
exposing the folly of war. Its fiery heroine Lysistrata
(meaning "releaser of war") called together not
only the women of Athens but of Sparta, which Athens had
long sought to conquer. What she proposed left the women
initially aghast --that they should refuse to have sex with
their husbands and lovers until the men made peace. In the
play, the women are victorious. In reality, the Athenian
city-state continued its warmongering until the unthinkable
occurred. 404 B.C. saw the once mighty Athens --weakened
from long-running war and internal strife-- defeated by
zealous Spartan rebels.