When I sat at the computer with today’s word boldly keyed across the top of the page, the words spilled out below it in so many directions, synapses firing this way and that as my brain is wont to do. But nothing seemed to connect in any cohesive way, and I couldn’t keep them inscribed within the margins. So, I finally stopped, picked up my journal, to search with my pen beneath all that chatter for what was at the heart of the matter.

There, I wondered if that ‘spilling all over the place’ was perhaps an apt metaphor after all. They speak of ‘harnessing power’ and I suppose once upon a time I would have heard that phrase as oppression, picturing wild horses being subdued with bits and whips and wire. Now, I think I understand the way that one’s power is diffused, one’s energy diluted, by too many draws. Paradoxically, however, our gift IS connected to our freedom — We are free to follow our star. We are not free, it turns out, to follow them all.

But what does that mean in regards to human power? Are we here to focus the energy of our passion in order to bring to fruit(ion) the one unique gift that only our particular line up of genes might bring forth? In a way that seems a bit too mechanistic, but it makes me think of the African proverb that supposes that each of us comes into the world with a specific cargo we are to deliver down river. Nothing fills our lives with more meaning and power than finding and offering that gift.

Some of us fear missing that boat. Some of us spend all of our lives, it seems, scurrying about on the shore, grasping for every possible scrap of potential cargo we might possibly carry on the voyage that t­­he boat drifts away in the distraction like Dorothy’s balloon – just as she realized the one thing that she needed was with her all along.

Life teems with potential, but any one of us cannot carry it all. We are limited, no matter how many multitudes we contain. But we want to taste it all! Choices are necessary and pruning is hard. It feels like cutting off a part of ourselves, cutting off something or someone that we love, to focus the energy of our life force (power?) into that singular fruit.

And we pray that the nurture is not merely for us alone. Somehow the deepest part of ourselves knows we belong to each other and wants that gift, which can feel so particular and individual, to feed all. Perhaps it feels selfish to board that boat alone, to allow ourselves to experience the profound joy of that. …. But perhaps that is just my female conditioning, taught to believe that harnessing my own power is selfish when I ought give myself away . Load others into that boat. ­­It is near to impossible to give that kind of permission to myself….

And so it is that the power of the passion dissipates.

Stars fade.

Words leak all over the page……….

I should stop here….

The truth is probably that I am unable to grasp the essence of the word because I have no idea what it feels like. When I close my eyes, search for it inside my body, I imagine it there in my heart the way it must feel when a bird propels herself in flight from that center of power in her breast. The power of wings– not necessarily the kind of power one typically imagines when envisioning a powerful creature, no roar (they sing?) nor thrust of muscle and speed, and yet they inspire.

I once read an explanation of the mechanics of flight written for northern nature lovers who might understand the physics of moving a canoe through the water, the paddle not unlike a wing, the resistance of the water not unlike the air. I can’t really recall more details than that, but I took in those words, chewed them up, and the energy of that understanding remains in the cells of my body. I can feel the power of that.

If the power of flight feels like paddling a canoe, I know what it feels like to step from the shore into that boat with only the cargo I can carry on my back (for the times I might have to walk across dry land with it) I know how to lighten the load., how to deem what is necessary, how to be creative without. I know how to harness my power to that boat -neither one of us making it down river without the other – my knees in her ribs until she is an extension of me, I of her. Our power not coming from force but from subtlety, the angle of the blade in the water, the lean of the hull, the pull of the paddle, the curve of the rocker, the twist of a wrist.

I know what that kind of power feels like. It is not loud. It does not pollute. It is not about force, speed or distance or powering through. It does not disrupt, destroy, disrespect. Canoeing, the way that I do, is not about conquer, it is about encounter. Encounter where I must put myself forth, meet the world with the fullness of my being…my competence, my experience, my attention, my integrity, my presence, my joy, my gentleness, my strength, my wisdom, my silence, my aliveness, my stillness, my body, my mind, my heart, yes, my love. Be met BY it as well, for this is a humble kind of power that knows I am not one and only, which honors the power (wisdom, presence, integrity, strength..) in the other’s wildness and enters that place of belonging with joy. That means sometimes I pull my boat ashore.

I suspect that this sense of aliveness and belonging and respect is where the seat of my true power resides.

­­­ Once upon a time,
When women were birds,
There was the simple understanding
That to sing at dawn
And to sing at dusk
Was to heal the world through joy.

Terry Tempest Williams


Perhaps there is power in that

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kidfriendlyyoga
    Mar 01, 2018 @ 22:17:27

    Wow! Awesome reflection on Power! Please publish so others can hear your words!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Karen
    Mar 10, 2018 @ 12:22:09

    The best musing on power that I’ve read! And ahhhhh…..when women were birds! Oh to be one now!



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