A testimony from Lily in Israel:
I first arrived at The School for The Work because I am an artist and a therapist and I was longing to free myself from the fear of the pain caused by fear. Meeting Katie and the encounter with The Work changed my life!
I went to The School in Germany and in Los Angeles, and continued at my work with students to teach and practice The Work myself for years. At the School I experienced stressful thoughts losing their grip on me, and the tremendous compassion that followed. It was the closest to a line from Bob Marley’s redemption song: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery ….” Every time I do The Work I am released more and more from mental slavery. This is a tremendous gift that Katie gave birth to, and I thank her deeply.
After the 2014 war in Gaza, I had 50 days of fighting(!) with my son, who fought there, and the terror and fear and helplessness and paralysis that I experienced – I never experienced anything quite like it before, and it was a formative experience for me.
I promised myself, during those terrible days at the end of the war, that I would not repress anymore and that I would become active for a reality shift. During those days, a vision came to me, and I saw myself along with thousands of other women on a hunger strike. A drastic step that says ENOUGH with the madness. A cry of mothers that spells ENOUGH.
Fortunately, that summer thousands of other women arose and the Women Wage Peace movement was born. At first, we boarded a train, 1000 women from north to south, and our destination was a conference where we launched the movement, then we stood at 45 different checkpoints – thousands of women – and talked with hundreds of thousands of drivers to remind them that it is our duty to make peace.
3000 of us women marched in Jerusalem to speak before the Knesset a speech of hope. Today we are 15,000 and counting. Then it came to me again, and I remembered the vision of the hunger strike, and so on the one-year anniversary of this awful war that lasted 50 days, we set up a tent and began a 50-day fast outside the home of the Prime Minister, with the requirement that he return to negotiations with the Palestinians in order to prevent the next war. Three hundred women joined from across the country: secular, Muslim, orthodox, Christian, from villages and cities, and we each fasted 25 hours or 50 hours. The ripples the tent produced reached far and wide. We received an invitation from the President of Palestine, as our determination of fasting moved him deeply and he invited us to a meeting. Israeli Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Netanyahu invited us to hear what was on our minds, and then Netanyahu himself also met us. We met with Palestinian women leaders and decided to cooperate to end the conflict.
I thank Katie for the wonderful gift she has brought into the world and for what an enormous inspiration she is for me with her faith, determination, compassion, and the clarity of The Work, and I am grateful for the millions of people who practice and spread The Work and inspire the world. During hard moments when I encountered harsh reactions against our activities by the opposition, inquiry helped me go back and open my heart to myself and others. For instance, someone came to our tent and cursed us, and I was able to invite him to speak while at the same time I felt anger and a desire to attack him back, but during the conversation I felt The Work alive in me, working in me, and I could remember in real time that he is actually inviting me to look with compassion at the scared wounded places in me and at the thinking which I haven’t inquired into yet.
I experienced deeply my fear at the place that wants to react and attack him back. Having The Work inside me at these moments (and there are many more) has allowed me to breathe, not to be defensive or violent, I would remember the poem of Rumi that we heard in the School, “Guest House” and the place of “Is it true?” and I was able to come back to my own business and stay in an open space, watching, hoping to keep my heart and my head compassionate and curious and looking forward to the next challenge, and because there were a lot of challenges I feel that the thousands of women in the final event that marked the end of the fast were able to convey a message of compassion, love, and acceptance. And our operation echoed far and wide and resonated all the way to you, Katie, and to the people reading these words now.
I am so grateful to Byron Katie for her determination and persistence and her planting the seeds for a vast global transformation from the mind of madness and horror of war into a mind of peace, love, and clarity.
Here is the URL of our webpage: http://womenwagepeace.org.il/join-us-2/. You are all invited to join from all around the world by signing on as supporters and friends. Large numbers are important.
Especially, beloved Katie, we, Israeli and Palestinian women, are inviting you and are looking forward to your visit, of Women Wage Peace, waiting eagerly to actually meet you and to continue to water the seeds of hope, love, and peace here and everywhere.
With love and respect,