Untapped Source of Peace

Untappped source of peace,
The only real hope
Is to draw upon the collective wisdom of women.
Those with direct experience of the cost of war:
The life of child, grandchild, sibling, spouse.
The loss of limb or mind of someone near and dear,
The loss of laughter, the pervasiveness of fear,
The loss of hope for the future.

Untapped source of peace,
Those who know of domestic violence:
Seen the effect of bullying on sons,
Seen daughters become silent,
Seen light go out in their eyes.
Those who know
That when every child matters,
When none are hungry, abused or discounted
The world will become a kinder place
For us all

Untapped source of peace,
Women with empathy
Who live in a world apart,
Are safe, loved, and fortunate,
Yet can imagine
Being helpless, beaten, and raped,
Then forced to bear a child
Conceived in violence.
Women who know in their hearts
That what happens to any woman
Could happen to them.

Untapped source of peace,
Women who see loved ones filled with vengeance and hate,
Hypervigilant, fear-ridden, or afraid to sleep
Because of the nightmares.
Husbands, brothers, sons, and now daughters
Home from wars,
Bearing little resemblance to who they could have been
In a peaceful world.

Untapped source of peace,
Women in circles,
Women connecting,
Women together
Bringing the sacred feminine,
Maternal instinct, sister archetype,
Mother power
Into the world.

~Jean Shinoda Bolen

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The Millionth Circle and 5WCW
Changing Ourselves and The World

by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD

The Millionth Circle is about circles with a spiritual center, a slender book that inspired the formation of the Millionth Circle Initiative through which I first came to the United Nations and was appalled and inspired to become a grassroots activist as an advocate for a UN Fifth World Conference on Women (5WCW), not as an end in itself, but as a huge step toward reaching a tipping point though equality and empowerment of women. I believe that if women are in circles that support them to believe what they know to be true, and to act with courage and wisdom, the circle becomes a transformative vessel for personal and cultural change. This is especially so for circles with a sacred center.

The intention to be in a circle with a spiritual center invites the invisible world of spirit or soul to be in the center of the circle and in the center of the psyche of each person in the circle. Through meditative silence or silent prayer, wisdom and courage grows. Circles foster both the ability to voice what matters and say out loud what is in the heart and mind, and an equally important ability, to listen with compassion. Women’s circles evoke a sense of sisterhood, and also a feeling of being in a maternal space. There is a deep sense of being connected to one another, at an archetypal level.

It is this sister archetype and the mother archetype in women that make it possible for most women (but not all, because these are not the active archetypes in some women) to identify with other women across national, racial, and religious boundaries, without even meeting. It is empathy that makes women able to imagine what it would be like to be on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian divide, or be a woman under the Taliban, a refugee or an abused mother in the United States or a vulnerable and abandoned child. A critical number of women gathered together in circles with a spiritual center could bring the feminine principle into consciousness and action. Just as consciousness-raising groups did in the late 1960s and 70s, which transformed women’s roles and opportunities in the United States, became the women’s movement which then rippled out to influence the world.

Women have never been given rights, nor have they used violence to get them. They have made demands to get the vote and succeeded, worked together for social and economic justice, and broke through resistance to change by peaceful means. Women’s movements are grassroots, they are not financed from above, and grow through the invisible and non-hierarchal network of women’s friendships and the ability of women to bond with each other through the medium of conversation and then to have an influence on men and institutions.

The “millionth circle” is a metaphoric number, it will be the one that when added to those that have been and are formed, becomes the tipping point.


 Fires North of Where I Live
Firestorms began a week ago Monday with smoke in the air and live news of the destructive wildfires in Northern California on TV. This was happening up the highway, an hour north of where i live–which is also in an urban-wilderness interface.
This had the effect of now holding two beliefs at the same time. I was experiencing the Jungian concept of “holding the tension of opposites.” I now express this myself as “holding the opposites” or “holding the paradox”, because there is no tension.” (I finished writing the first draft of this book—wait for further announcements about it.)
Excerpt from my Memoir-Based book
(from the last chapter) “Up to this time, I had a fatalistic but not gloomy philosophy, that went with the thought, “I could be struck down, anytime.” or “I could be hit by a truck.” I think it came from being the spared sibling, of realizing that “it could have been me,” like standing next to my brother and having lightning strike him. Watching the news and seeing hurricanes or wildfires or bombs suddenly change everything for some and spare others 

illustrates this premise. This philosophical mind-set helped me appreciate everything that was positive in my life, to have gratitude, to enjoy the moment, because “tomorrow I could die.” It leads me still, to “stay current,” to not leave unsaid positive words and feelings that I would have regretted not saying, to

not owe people, and to have a living will and an advanced health care directive.

“As I listened, (to Carl Simonton, MD describe the connection between beliefs and outcome) I made a shift in my own mind. I did not substitute it for my fatalistic philosophy. Instead I made room for an intuitive feeling, a certainty that I now felt– that I would be around for a long time. With a two and a half year old daughter and a year old son, it mattered that I be here for them, and after staying the course that led to becoming a psychiatrist, activist, and soon to be a Jungian analyst, to trust that this was what I was meant to do—and if so, faith that I’d have enough time.