Best known for her groundbreaking play The Vagina Monologues, and as a founder of V-Day, a movement to call attention to violence against women, Eve Ensler reveals her harrowing struggle with uterine cancer and explores how the ordeal allowed her to reclaim her own body in her intensely personal new memoir, In the Body of the World. We reached her in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she has been working to raise awareness about the use of sexual violence as an act of terrorism and war.
You write about being forced into stillness by your illness. Has any of that stillness stayed with you?
Yes, there has been a shift in the energy that dominates my life. It has been a wildly active year, but I find there is this calm, still energy in the center of me. The old desperation of a do-or-die mentality seems to have lifted, and although I work nonstop it does not feel compulsive or manic. It feels organic and easy, still.
What do you think it is in you that calls forth your highest self when facing adversity?
Desperation, necessity, caring about something bigger than yourself, really smart friends who love you but don’t indulge your self-pity.
Do you have a practice that keeps you connected to your center?
Yes, I do yoga and chant regularly.
What has been the most satisfying moment for you as an advocate for women globally?
One Billion Rising [a worldwide protest of violence against women and girls held Feb. 14] was beyond anything we could have dreamed. It was global and local, fierce and joyous, holy and political. Women and men, one billion rising and dancing in 205 countries on the same day in solidarity, our feet on the earth, dancing up the will of the world to end violence against women. I am still flying.