Our personal power is within us. It is the divine life force energizing our being. Yet current world structures don’t rest in the experience of each person being responsible for and benefiting from their own personal power. Instead most institutions and many individuals work to accrue more power at the expense of others. Is this power dynamic of more and less powerful individuals the only one possible? Can power taken from others ever be used in a benign way? What is the future of our current power dynamics? Can we have a world without them? Can we have a world with them? But first, let’s consider some of the different ways power changes hands.
Some power is accrued by those who have something we want. A kid who wants a cookie is apt to comply if someone says they will give him the cookie if he does what the person with the cookie wants. The person’s power in this situation comes from the desirability of the reward. On a larger scale, people in political or institutional power can get other less powerful people to toe the line by offering or withholding desired resources or privileges. All these situations are an abuse of power.
Some power is accrued through “being the expert.” If we are seen to have an expertise, it gives us power over others. It behooves us all to be cautious about the use of this power and to move slowly in giving and receiving advice. Often things said casually by “an expert” are taken way too seriously by the person receiving the information. Here’s a silly example of this. Whenever I played cards with my father when I was a child, if I messed up dealing the cards or made any mistake during the card game, my father would say, “They’d shoot you out west for that.” As he grew up out west and was also one of two main authority figures in my young life, I took his remark literally. To this day I am painfully slow when I deal cards, so much so that everyone in the family gets up to get snacks, go to the bathroom or take a seventh inning stretch whenever I deal (And BTW I finally beat Jim at cribbage).
Some power comes with the office. We have all seen the danger of this in the abuse of children by priests. Should we assume people holding power because of their position in the world deserve this power? Powers come from advantages of birth that bring monetary advantages or social status. Should we assume those in possession of more resources know best how to use them?
One subsect of accrued power is the power we give celebrities of all sorts including social media stars. What kind of authority should we give people who have successfully marketed themselves on Tiktok? Should we make decisions based on their opinions? It may be harmless when it comes to choosing a new shampoo, but is it ever a good idea to give anyone a role of power in our lives?
As almost every woman and child knows, some power is accrued by size differences that give adults, in particular men, a power advantage right from the get go.
I have yet to find any arena in which the more powerful deserve it or use it well. I believe this could be done if someone was God realized because the authority that comes with God realization would be used only with pure love. For the rest of us, isn’t any use of power at least a little bit tinged with something besides love? This doesn’t mean it is not a worthy goal to use whatever power we inadvertently garner with as much love and as little ego as possible. That is vital. It also is vital not to seek power or bestow power on others.
How do we retain our personal power in the face of these imbalances of power? No sooner had I started to write this blog than I found myself at the receiving end of a power play. I wish I could say that I went right to thanking the universe for sending me a chance to examine this issue in the flesh, but there was some grizzling before I got there.
In this power play the person had the power to do what he did, and I was stunned by the inhumanity of how he used his power. While I did not have any power to change what he did, I wanted to remain in my power and not sink into feelings of powerlessness. I realized I was still in possession of my personal sovereignty which gave me the power to choose my response and my attitude.
I was distraught after the power play. This meant that first I needed to take care of myself and process my feelings of sadness and anger. I did this by writing several zippy letters that I chose not to send and talking to a couple people that I knew could contain my story. Letting myself express all my feelings opened me up to a felt experience that the way this man had handled the interaction had nothing to with me and only reflected on him. This helped me know it was none of my business to try and “fix him” by critiquing what he did. At this point I burned my letters to him. I needed to let him go. All of this processing helped me slowly find an attitude of more equanimity. I also felt a renewed determination to solve the problem I now had because of his power play. After a few days, I found myself surprisingly exhilarated as I worked to solve the problems this man had caused.
Then there was a plot twist. The man’s daughter contacted me, needing a big favor. As I considered this situation, I recalled an experience I had when an older woman that I did not know was incredibly rude to me. Later, I asked the woman’s daughter why the woman had been so nasty. She told me that the woman hated my mother. I was startled. After all, I was not my mother. Now I had an opportunity to NOT pull a power play on the daughter because of her dad’s behavior. I could break the cycle and help her out. I liked how my decision to help left me neither feeling powerless nor pulling a power play in some act of revenge that would only continue the circle of poorly used power.
And so with this experience I was reminded that like everyone else, my life has included experiences in which I have been given no power or given too much power. Like many kids with controlling parents, I grew up wary of power. I chose first to appease the powerful patriarchal mother I had and then later steer clear of her as much as possible. But of course, she gave me my first experience of power, and this is the template I have to depart from in order to heal.
Our early experiences as powerless in relationship to our parents triggers old wounds. I saw it when this man pulled his power play on me. What I was really reacting to was his dismissal of me in the same way I had been dismissed by my family of origin. Now it’s our job to heal the wounds with kindness towards ourselves. We need to embrace the truth that we always have our own personal power and with it the freedom to choose our attitude. And in these dying days of patriarchy, we need to proceed with caution about how we use accrued power that is not our own.
People can say that accruing and losing power will always be the prevailing dynamic, but we have gotten to the end of the line with this patriarchal template of hierarchy. It crumbles before our eyes. As our faith in institutions dies, we don’t have to see this as the death of faith. We can transfer our faith in institutions and top down authorities to faith in ourselves. Our planet requires it of us. What will this look like? I do not exactly know, but here at the farm we are trying to explore this new model and so help ground it on our planet.
The new model is co-creation, and the resources we will need to depend on and take responsibility for are the inner resources of the divine feminine and the divine masculine in each of us.
In co-creation it is understood that everyone is part of the one, different but indivisible with the whole. Consensus is the operative model and the strengths of the inner divine feminine are the tool box that help us arrive at consensus. Then the divine masculine kicks in by translating this inner wisdom into wise action. Patriarchy is power used to suppress the wisdom of the divine feminine to act in a rudderless and destructive way.
My first lessons in co-creation came in the form of co-creative efforts with the Angels and Elementals. The Angel and cabbage poster was from 1993, about six years into my co-creative work with the Angels and Elementals. In these early years, I didn’t really grasp the concept of co-creation. I projected authority on my Angelic and Elemental partners. However, they never took on this projection. They have always operated from a framework of our oneness, equality, indivisibility and wholeness. During the last thirty five years I have met with my Angelic and Elemental partners to come to group decisions about everything that happens here, and they have never pulled a power move on me. Ever. They hold such an energy of unity consciousness that co-creation with them has been like riding a bike with training wheels.
The harder work came in holding unity consciousness when co-creating with fellow humans. That has been an arena of much learning for me. I crash my bike quite a lot.
To take equal (not more or less) responsibility for what is happening in any group, respect divergent views and stop projecting our stuff on others requires maturity. When we sit in a circle together in the mode of co-creation versus hierarchy, we must sacrifice accrued power for the more unknown territory of equal among equals. It is tough work to see the divinity in EVERYONE.
We all enter the work with baggage of the patriarchal mindset sort. Well, I certainly do. When we meeting in a circle with the hope to work from our shared divinity, things can go sideways. It takes a lot of time to get to the consensus so necessary to co-creation. Sometimes we all just want to get it over with and give the decision to an individual. If we resist this temptation, the co-creative decision has this wonderful life affirming energy, but it requires patience to get there.
Top down authority is familiar. If a person in the circle is massaged into and accepts a controlling role or simply takes the role, participants can get a quick and familiar feeling of community in shared feelings of powerlessness and dislike of the authority figure. We can feel angry, but it’s familiar. When we sit in a circle together in the mode of co-creation versus hierarchy, we are all in it together. But there are not very many structures in our world where this is what groups do, so hierarchy is often the model we fall back on if we get anxious.
As we practice this new model, kindness to everyone involved including ourselves, patience, calm, breathing, waiting, letting go especially of fear and sitting in quiet all come into play. We have to keep trying and keep examining how and when we drag the old patriarchal baggage back into the dynamic. We have to take ownership of how we might see patriarchal patterns as a perk. Taking all the responsibility and power or taking none are sometimes not as scary as being an equal among equals. Co-creation requires self examination, honesty and courage. It also requires keeping on keeping on. Humor helps too.
But embrace it or not, co-creation is the model which we are being collectively called to. If humanity has long been errant children testing our limits with Mama Earth in our own drama of an out of balance power dynamic, now we need to take responsibility for ourselves as co-creators with Gaia and all sentient beings on this planet. Perhaps humankind had to go through a ripening process to be mature enough to know its shared divinity. But now is the time we must leave our childhood behind and flow with this different dynamic of divinity in a sea of divinity.
Our Angelic and Elemental partners operate from a dynamic of love in a unified energy field of love. They welcome us into this framework. The damage being done to Mother Earth is the last gasp of patriarchy. Gaia’s response is not about power but about love. She shows us what we do to ourselves. She mirrors back the truth to us that we must love ourselves and our planetary home enough to move from collecting and misusing power into a co-creative dynamic of love.
As patriarchal structures continue to fall apart, all of us will be called to go into the unknown of co-creation. But unknown doesn’t mean bad. Our co-created gardens and co-created Green Hope Farm community lead me to know this unknown will be more beautiful than we can possibly imagine.
As we practice these new skills of co-creation, we will be called upon to lean on the inner resources of the divine feminine within us with its skills at containing other points of view, vulnerability, intuition and consensus building. If we own our divine feminine then our own inner divine masculine is going to come on board. The out of balance feminine will no longer count herself out and the out of balance masculine will no longer act in a rogue and destructive manner but listen and co-create with our divine feminine.
When I was talking about writing this blog, staff goddess Vicki reminded me that the Crete Essences ( found in the Mediterranean collection section) are so helpful in this work of accessing our divine feminine as part of co-creating a new reality here on Earth.
Crete held a vastly harmonious civilization that was not based on the power dynamics of patriarchy and power politics. In its land and Flowers it leaves us tuning forks as we too work to create a world in which we experience ourselves as co-creators birthing a new harmony.
To those who say none of this can happen, I say, “Let’s try this and see if that is so.” I think we are going to be surprised by what is born after the collapse of patriarchy. This New Life will be a wonder beyond our imaginings.
A possible Flower Essence toolbox for co-creation might include Flower Essences from Crete in the Mediterranean collection and the Venus Garden Collection which always help us cross the threshold into the new as well as the Sacred Feminine, the Sacred Masculine, Symphony and Pear. AND OF COURSE THE SOVEREIGNTY SET. The present power politics are based on erroneous notions of power. Our true power is our inner life force/divinity. As we spiral inward to know and experience this power, not only does it help us co-create a new world but it helps us see patriarchal power as the illusion which it is.