Thursday, September 30, 2010

Move Over Dorothy

  How often have I, perhaps even you, said, if only magic existed?  If only we could just click our ruby slippers we’d be home. If only we knew the magic words the right abracadabra. If only we had the magic wand, the perfect potion or even a Scotty watching over us who would beam us up when we were in danger, things would be so much better.  How often, the most painful of all, have I said, if I could I would make all the hurt and pain go away?

My background is in philosophical anthropology and literary criticism. One of the paradigms or concepts that grabbed me quickly was the butterfly effect which is rooted in the chaos theory. At its essence it says the smallest action could have a far reaching impact. The theory has its roots in a meteorologist’s work where he miskeyed the wind force into the computer. He failed to enter the full number of digits after the decimal. Basically, it means instead of entering .123456 he entered only .123. Doesn’t sound like much, it’s only a .000456 difference.  Jeeze, if only the rest of life were that precise! Anyway, apparently that small differential is the equivalent of the force created by a butterfly’s wing and the results, the weather pattern that resulted – drastically different. 

So drastic an entire scientific and philosophical debate rocked academia and became known as the ‘chaos theory.’ The common example given was if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil will Texas have a tornado? Yes and no.  No in the sense that other factors have to be present for the tornado to occur. But the flap of the wing would, in theory, change the air current, the potential direction that the tornado would take.  A small action, a tiny imperceptible action matters. Change, deny, magnify or nullify the smallest action and the results the outcome will be different; the chain of events will unfold into a different story. Movies and books have made lots of money on this paradigm.

So, what does an academic/philosophical/scientific debate have to do with magic? What does the butterfly in Brazil have to do with clicking my ruby slippers and whispering ‘there’s no place like home’ and when my eyes open I’m in Kansas? Whether we click our heels, wave the wand, speak the magic words or drink the potion …. we have to do something. The butterfly must flap its wings for the magic to occur. Maybe the magic hasn’t gone. Maybe the magic is still here….we just stopped clicking, waving, speaking and doing something.

My dear keeper of my heart and breath to believe is an act. To hold hope in our hearts is to act. To reach out to others both in my own need and in their need is to act. To speak out is to act. To just say thank you is to act. To let someone go ahead of me in the grocery line is to act. To answer Love’s calling and step forward upon the path of awakening and service is to act. Some actions may be as small as .000456 while others will blow off the Richter scale. It doesn’t matter, the butterfly just has to flap its wings, we just have to click our heels.

Am I saying my heart will never be broken, I will never again know sadness or pain? No.  The butterfly’s action is essential to the tornado occurring in Texas, it is not the origin or source. There are other events and “stuff” going on out there in this thing called ‘life’ that will shape the outcome. Bad things happen. But, maybe, just maybe, keeper of my heart and breath, if we both flap our wings….  As we flutter maybe others will join us. Who knows what could happen if we started with two and gathered a third, a fourth…..   Move over Dorothy, I’m putting my slippers on. There is no place like home.