In Webster’s 1975 edition of the New Collegiate Dictionary, there are ten different definitions for ‘power’. For our purposes I’m choosing one which says “a source or means of supplying energy” and another that says “the ability to perform in a given way.” These definitions speak of ‘power with’ rather than ‘power over.’ There’s a great difference between ‘power with’ and ‘power over’ that we sometimes fail to consider.
As I speak of the Power of Woww: Wealth, Opportunity, Wisdom, and Well-being, many people first think about the power that can be had over everything seen and unseen. Wealth becomes a power tool to manipulate the physical world in ways that work for me and mine. Opportunity becomes another dominating power play. Wisdom puts me one up and over others while Well-being is a prize I seek to keep me in the game of life.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Have you ever used power to control people, places, situations, things, and experienced the same from others? Of course, it’s the way of the world and we’re all a part of it. What I want, at this stage of my journey is to help change the game from competition to cooperation. Talk about pushing the river and yet, how many of you yearn for less anxiety, fear, conflict, grief, and dis-ease?
I found a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte that I would have never expected from him. It speaks of ‘power with’ rather than ‘power over.’ “I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.” Does this sound like a military strategist and conquering commander of armies? I wonder at the chords and harmonies of the power within each of us. Hmm.
It’s been said that ‘Calmness is the cradle of power.’ As I reflect on this saying, I experience it as truth. Notice how in agitation it’s really easy to slip into ‘power over.’ Become aware of the Wealth of kindness, love, beauty, and appreciation that show up when you’re calm.What happens when you slip into anxiety and frustration? Notice too, how Opportunities show up when you’re in a relaxed state but, but, no, no, I gotta go.
Then there’s the Power of Wisdom, this place of knowing that you don’t know. Do you remember the last time you got upset with yourself because you couldn’t figure something out? What happened? Oh and Well-being, that sense of flow, all rightness, smooth sailing…….How did your power grid change when you got criticized or the deadline got missed or your spouse, parent, friend, colleague, or offspring did or said something that tipped your calmness into chaos? What kind of power erupted in you?
What if the purpose of power was to share it, give it away, create something new and wonderful with it? What if wealth, opportunity, wisdom, and well-being were powerful inner as well as outer realities? What difference would it make for you? Stay Tuned. . .