THE BLOG

Quantum Lip

02/15/2015 02:15 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

quantum leap; noun.

1. Physics. an abrupt transition of a system from one of its discrete states to another,
2. any sudden and significant change, advance, or increase.

Quantum Lip

I tried to eat my Cheerios today in front of CNN, but couldn't swallow after awhile, hearing of the countless women and children absconded as slaves by ISIS. The report was on two young women who had escaped after years of torture and sexual abuse. One was 19. She had tried to commit suicide seven times while enslaved. The other was much younger, maybe 13, and she still couldn't form coherent sentences after being so terrorized.

I've been a pacifist all my life and think it is time for us to outlaw war as we outlawed slavery. But then, how do we combat the violence that is besieging us day after day?

What do we do instead, if we don't go to war? Would ISIS take over the entire Middle East and Arabian Peninsula if we put down our guns and fighter planes?

I realized today I have no answer to that question, and not having an answer has silenced me. And my silence has, to some extent, kept the question from being resolved, kept the subject from being addressed. I cannot provide answers, but I can say what is happening to my heart as I witness this world we are co-creating. It is breaking in half. It is bent in sorrow. It is arched in defiance. It is done with silence.

Today, I start talking. I will bring it up. I will say what is unacceptable. I will say it in the post office, the grocery store, the gas station. I will say it to whites, to Mexicans, to Muslims. To Catholics, to Jews, to pagans and post-theists. Right here and now I am saying it: We are colluding in a civilization that is allowing women and children to be enslaved and tortured as victims of war. We are going on with our comfortable lives as if this is not happening to our brothers and sisters. As if whatever faith tradition we were shaped by was useless, meaningless. As if we never heard the words, "What you do to the least of these, you do to me," or "What you have seen me do, you can do and more."

We are the miracle workers of today. We are the saviors and prophets of these times and yet we stay lulled in our Lazy-Boys, waiting for things to change. These are our children. This is our time. Evolution is occurring through us, not TO us. We are co-shaping this civilization and our handprints are all over it. Our cultures look like they look because of what we do and what we fail to do. In thirty or forty years you may have descendants wondering what you did during this crisis. What did you do for your fellow humans? For the creatures? For your planet? What will they find?

Though I have no singular solution, I would travel days to sit at the common table with citizens invested in a different future. We could admit together what is not working: a patriarchy where women's voices and authority are devalued. There's a start.

Perhaps if we could equalize the decibel level of masculine and feminine voices, things would organically right themselves. Perhaps if we honored women's ways of knowing, paid women equally, allowed them to speak and lead from their own deep wisdom. Perhaps if we listened to more music by women, watched more films by women, saw more art by women -- but wait, how is that ever going to happen?

One has to see what is going on, to weep, to cry out, to cause change. From rage to outrage to courage -- it is a process of transformation like the unfurling wings of a butterfly. Today, I am one woman unfurling. I am weeping and crying out. Tomorrow I will change something. I will walk into a mosque. Or send a letter to the editor. Or start a talking circle at my house. I will do something. Something that will ripple out and enter into the young woman who cannot speak, that traumatized teen who has nowhere to turn. My hope, my action will reach her in some quantum way and will ease her pain, bring her some comfort, like we all imagined prayer worked, in those days we believed.