Have you heard the concept of “power with”? This concept has fascinated and inspired me. Our culture portrays dominance and control, “power over”, as the only form of power. This form of acquiring power puts us at odds with each other, limits the power of the individual, and keeps the individual small and ineffective, for awhile.
The concept of “power with”, speaks to me of the connection to our own inner knowing or goodness and an understanding of our connection to something greater than ourselves, to the energies around us, each other, and life force energy. “Power with” has many aspects; planting crops in rhythm with the seasons, waiting for a quiet time to discuss something of importance with a loved one, a barn raising, taking on a common intention or goal that changes the course of events, and so much more. It can be something big like Ghandi changing the course of India by leading peaceful demonstrations. Or perhaps something small like seeing a kindness given out and the ripple effect it creates. Or a group of enlivened, engaged individuals determined to stop something they disagree with in their own back yard. I remember the first time I noticed this having happened in my daily life.
I was living in San Francisco and there was this one spot along the freeway where the road branched and the branching section only went a few feet and stopped. I asked a friend and found out that the plan was that the freeway continue right into Golden Gate Park. There was such a tremendous public outcry that the only thing left of this idea was the branching piece of freeway going no where. Whenever I drove past there, I would feel encourage and inspired by the power we have when we stand together.
Most recently, just south of us, the citizens of Mills River, NC stopped Duke Energy from building a “Transmission” line through their land. “Power with” is still real and alive.
Have you seen examples of “power with” in your life?
What else have you found that is life affirming?