One of my favorite songs is KT Tunstall’s "Suddenly I See." KT sings of a woman who "holds you captivated in her power." She goes on to describe this woman (whose face has aged to be a "map of the world") as having "the power to be, the power to give, the power to see." These beautiful lyrics perfectly describe for me what power is…and what I want it to look like in my own life.
The issue of power has come up a lot for me lately. People have asked about it during readings and talked about it during meetings. It seems to be a topic that both fascinates, attracts and repels a lot of folks.
I believe that many of us in the metaphysical community are afraid of power. A lot of us have "escaped" from the corporate or governmental working world at least partially because of abuses of power. We watch the unfolding sagas of the political arena in horror as we see power being misused. No wonder we avoid the topic.
But there are two types of power. There is "power over" and then there is "power to."
I think it is fair to say that most of us are uncomfortable with having power over another person. We are also perhaps wise enough to know that this type of power tends to corrupt a relationship. As much as we want to influence and help others, we realize that people have a right and responsibility to make their own decisions and live their own lives.
Power to is a very different thing. We all have the power to make a difference in our own lives and, therefore, in the lives of others. Having power to do things is an innate gift we are given and one we want to nurture. In a basic sense, we all have power. We have the power to move, speak, think and act. Beyond that, however, we have the power to create our own lives. If we deny or run away from that power, it doesn’t disappear. It just lies there, dormant and unused.
There are lots of things we are powerless over. Despite how hard we try, we are generally powerless over other people. Sometimes, we get confused about the difference between the ability to influence others and having power over others. All of us influence other people by example and wisdom. As a matter of fact, when we are in our own power, we generally are a strong influence on other people.
Power over, in contrast, is usually abusive. Sometimes it is necessary. We lock criminals away to take away their power. We physically restrain a child to keep them from hurting themselves. But most often power over is used as abuse. It is therefore frightening to those of us who recognize that fact.
As we start a new year, it is a good time to contemplate power in all of its forms. What types of power are you avoiding? How many times this month will you find yourself saying (or thinking) "I can’t do (fill in the blank with your favorite excuse)." And conversely, how many times will you try, once again, to change something about another person or system?
We all do that. But, awareness is the first step to a conscious use of our power.
One of the Light Collective’s eight principles is "You are responsible." What they are saying is that the buck stops with us. We have unlimited power to create and change ourselves.
Exploring our power is fun. Learning where our power ends is valuable.