December 17th, 2009

Lighting a Red Candle

As I mentioned last year (though on MySpace at the time, as it was before this blog was launched), December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers as conceived and named by Annie Sprinkle and SWOP-USA in 2003. The red umbrella is an international symbol (history/origination here) of support for the rights of and protestation of violence and discrimination against sex workers.

An article by Dr. Sprinkle about the origination of the recognition of this day may be found here. It is a read I highly recommend.

SWOP-USA’s December 17 site contains a listing of events around the country and world to recognize the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. I don’t know of any organized gatherings in the geographical location where I am this year, so my own commemoration will be solo. I have procured a red candle (conveniently easy to do this time of year) that is currently lit and that I plan to have lit throughout the day in silent support for current and former sex workers, our rights as professionals and as individuals, and deep reverence and respect for those who experienced violence in the line of work in the last year and ever.

And reverence and respect for all.



“One day you’ll have to let it go, you’ll have to let it go…one day you’ll stand up on your own, remember losing hope, remember feeling low, remember all the feelings and the day they stopped; we are, we are all innocent, we are all innocent, we are, we are…”
-Our Lady Peace “Innocent”

December 17th, 2013

Wishing and Acknowledgement

redflowersToday is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. I acknowledge I have not yet planned or composed a blog post for the day—but I don’t feel I ever want the day (or International Sex Worker Rights Day on March 3) to go by unacknowledged on my blog, even if it is just a placeholder post to announce that that is indeed what day it is.

At the least, I traditionally light my red candle today. I just searched for it and don’t seem to know where I put it after last year’s lighting. So I just called Rick Write to ask him to pick me up a new one on his way home, and I will light it as soon as he gets here. Though it won’t be lit very long today, as we have plans away from home for most of the evening, it is done with full reverence for all sex workers who have experienced violence in the context of their work. The flame itself may be relatively brief, but the ongoing fire of love and support for my fellow former and current sex workers is always in me.

And, of course, I hold in love all who have ever experienced or perpetrated violence and hold a deepest wish for our awakening out of the unconscious constraints and limitations that drive it.

Love to all, everywhere, always,

P.S. As I finish and post this, my red candle has arrived and is now lit.

“What will I tell my daughter, what will you tell your son…that we were nothing but a shadow, a faceless generation void of love?…”
-LIVE “What Are We Fighting For?”

December 17th, 2011

Hold This Space

Once again, it is December 17—the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

My hope was and is to blog about this more here, but I have a graduation party to attend tonight for a friend of mine who has just finished law school, and I don’t have much time now before I have to leave to travel there. I did not want to let this day go by, however, without acknowledging the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers here, so even though this post is not as extensive or complete as I wanted it to be (I may add more/finish it later), I offer reverent recognizance of this day as first proclaimed by Annie Sprinkle in 2003. I have had my red candle burning as I’ve been getting ready tonight, and I take a moment now to breathe consciously in honor of the recognizance of this day, in reverence for all who have been involved in the intersection of sex work and violence, and in a wish for awakening for the same (including perpetrators) and for us all.

I also want to share this quote I encountered last night in a SWOP-Chicago press release:

“Sex workers are not targeted because sex work is inherently dangerous. Sex workers are targeted because perpetrators know prostitutes are afraid of law enforcement and won’t seek the aid of law enforcement until it’s too late. They are targeted because of the stigma surrounding sex work. This stigma is constantly regenerated in the way politicians, end-demand advocates, and media representatives talk about prostitution.”

Blessings and love to all.


“Look behind your own soul, and the person that you’ll see just might remind you of me; I laugh, I love, I hope, I try, I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry, and I know you do the same things too, so we’re really not that different, me and you…”
-Collin Raye “Not That Different”

December 17th, 2010


Earlier this week, I wrote about avoidance and anxiety. It happened that the next day, the ongoing Inner Work group of which I am a part had a conference call, which we have scheduled sometimes in addition to our two annual in-person weekend retreats.

A participant on the conference call talked about, as I interpreted it, a feeling she had been experiencing of “non-movement” lately. She said she didn’t see it as necessarily an egoic resistance or defense maneuver but just a slowing down or quietness of action. She wondered if there may ever be an energetic “pause” in the experience of Essence—that there might be a time in the authentic experience of ourselves in which there did not seem to be any particular movement seeming called for.

Immediately the internal response in me was, Of course there may. And that was when I realized it.

I had forgotten it was Winter.

As I’ve mentioned here before, Winter is the season in Five-Element Acupuncture that offers stillness, silence, immersion in the mystery, respect for unknowing/the unknown. In listening to my fellow participant’s question, I realized the entire season of Winter, as I understand it, represents and invites the very phenomenon of which she spoke. Winter itself could be one answer to the very question.

At that moment, this seemed obvious to me—and yet immediately preceding her inquiry, this awareness had been entirely blocked from my consciousness. The exposure to this conversation invited an entire reframing of the perception of my recent experience. The anxiety I have experienced recently may be specifically related to the call of Winter—or more pointedly, my own ignoring and forgetting of it—and the perception of and frustration with avoidance may not necessarily be with actual avoidance of things as much as—or at least as well as—a product of the resistance to, paradoxically, slowing down, surrendering to the authentic stillness deep within me as invited by this season. A part of me may in fact have been deliberately blocking the conscious awareness of and remembrance of the symbolism of Winter, finding the stillness, silence, and surrender to the unknown that Winter invites intimidating and unnerving. And of course the further I am from what is true in me, including connection with the flow of the Earth and its offerings, the more anxiety I am likely to feel.

Nothing I said in the post on Monday was wrong. It just wasn’t seeing everything (as probably my perspective now isn’t either; it has just expanded to encompass more than then). I was seeing something from a particular, and limited, perspective; others were, at the time, blocked from my consciousness. It was like looking at a rainbow but with such a narrow perception that all that is seen is blue. The gift of my colleague’s sharing invited the expansion of my awareness to include more than one color—which, of course, may change the whole perspective.

The anxiety is still there, and the reasons for it I expressed have not changed, in my perception. The reframing did not make the anxiety go away—it allowed for a different relationship to it, a new awareness of why it may be there and how to awaken more and hold within myself the invitation and response in me that feels truly called for. That might not be the one the culture surrounding me, or anyone with whom I’m interacting, or perhaps particularly a part of me that is made up of structures that formed in my past may seem interested in. But as I said at the end of the post earlier this week, anxiety may be an invitation.

The message I feel right now is, Slow Down; It Is Winter. Alas, I had forgotten. Thank you, Universe, for the reminder.

As I mentioned last year and the year before, today, December 17, is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Organized events are planned today around the world to commemorate this designation and the sentiment behind its inception in 2003.

My red candle honoring such is lit and pictured above. From the mystery, stillness, and depth to and from which Winter calls us, I acknowledge and observe as love all who have been affected by violence in their professions as sex workers in the last year and ever, all who have felt directly impacted by such, and all who have committed it, as well as everyone everywhere. It is here especially, in the darkness, depth, and unknowing of this season, that the ultimate Oneness that we are may be so clearly seen.

May we so.


“If you touch the sacred quality of winter inside yourself—that quality of everything returning to its most essential form—you find yourself falling off the end of the mind and into openness.”