Who Has the Power?

Glancing throughout history, it can look like the answer to that is “whoever controls the most people at once”.download (38)

The irony is that it has always been the people – every single individual person – who have the power. We allow ourselves to be convinced otherwise and to accept falsely that our votes count in a system designed to ignore them. Surely someone else knows better than “I” do what is right or wrong. Groupthink is very effective, and is catalyzed by keeping individuals wounded, numb, uneducated, and feeling separate.

The people designing and actively perpetuating certain social systems – from large-scale government to your workplace to the family you grew up in – that harm others have mistaken power as an externalized weapon. But the truth is they are grown-ups who never progressed past bullying in their personal evolution. With the recent attention on bullying, you’re probably familiar with what motivates it: that four-letter-word that sums up the insecurities of anyone who bullies.

Any measure of externalized force or manipulation for control is no more than a cover-up for fear.

download (39)Even social boundaries that regulate reasonable measures of safety like speed limits, bike lanes, and traffic lights are based on fear – the fear of death (either our own or that of a loved one), fear of pain, or fear of financial loss. That doesn’t mean they aren’t necessary for a functioning group of people or that they’re wrong because of that basis – but it’s good to remember that’s why we make those laws. We should remember so that we can keep perspective when other proposed laws are on the table, like out-of-balance Saturnian directives that attempt to constrict society and deny another’s truth, including anti-gay legislation, racial or sex-based inequalities, and religious persecution.

Part of life is about the balance of understanding fear’s useful places in society, admitting what is and what isn’t truly power, and experiencing how we are all brought together more when we honor ourselves as individuals. It’s a beautiful and often overlooked phenomenon that the health of our interconnectedness as a group is absolutely dependent on the intraconnectedness of our individual selves.

Power is internal.paigebradley3

Power is measured by anyone’s ability to open up inside of themselves the purest expression of who they are, and let that be in the world.

Power is not fear, though fear is (for now) part of life.

Power is an individual learning to recognize and accept what is truth to her or him regardless of how afraid anyone else is of it. Power grows stronger the more we act on our inner knowledge and allow our individual lives to be guided in the directions of our truths, even if that is not what is considered right or normal or even safe by people overtaken with fear.

I’m not tipping the balance of power away from it’s fulcrum of truth into selfishness or harming of others. In our quests to connect to our personal truths there are always basic social boundaries to be considered and respected – including murder and physical assault; violating children, the elderly, or the disabled; hoarding while others are in need; slander and verbal violence. Crossing those lines negates our truth because we would be doing so at the expense of another’s rights to reasonably and peacefully live.

A person open to their power helps others by naturally extending the light inside of them into the world. That’s how we satisfy expressing the truth of who we are, and it doesn’t involve impeding on anyone else.

It’s the last thing we should be afraid of doing.

download (40)Life is messy. We’re a passionate species, and require outlets for expression of imagination, creativity, fervor, and love. When one person can access their power and truth more easily than another, it can be incredibly scary for anyone to see who fears their own. It means part of their life has been lived in the shadow of who they are, and examining the darkness of that can feel like too much.

But it’s not.

We’re all light and dark, and it’s ok. We may be wounded, numb, uneducated, or feeling separate – that’s being human and those things are what give us our personal challenges to explore and grow. They are not excuses to retreat into darkness or become blind to our power and pacify ourselves with the belief that everyone else knows better or more than us. They don’t. It’s on us to figure things out for ourselves, and I believe we can.

Nothing exists permanently, so why not make changes for truth now?

Read more, turn off the tv and radio, get off the phone, do yoga or take long walks or ride your bike, meditate, have open-minded and heart-filled conversations with yourself, have open-minded and heart-filled conversations with others, get a pet, look your children and your significant other (or anyone else for that matter) in the eye more often and for longer – even yourself in the mirror – without talking (it’s harder than you think), go back to school, join a group, quit a group, update your house, take a trip, relocate, change jobs, change the food you eat, change your physical appearance, change your mind, question everything, dance, feel music, be still, laugh, cry, stop drinking, start drinking, change nothing but start noticing everything, CTFD. Whatever!946645_10151831407948185_955769116_n

There is a Rumi quote:

You have escaped the cage.
Your wings are stretched out.
Now fly.

Who has the power?






For those interested, here’s a link to more info on the artist who created Expansion, the piece in the photo above:

And for those who enjoy the journey down the rabbit hole:

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