Musings About Power Within Vs Power-Over

Dedicated to all my incredible friends and like-minded fellows at Village Surrey Tansition Initiative, Friends of The Grove, the Food Action Coalition, OUR Ecovillage, Gaia Craft, 8Shields, Wisdom of the Earth, Looby MacNamara, Starhawk, Animas Valley…and all the amazing people I’ve met since I chose the permaculture and transition Paths, now enriched with the ecovillage and ecopsychology Paths…

Disempowering…that’s how they work.

Not only they put forward structures and processes that disempower us, they make sure we disempower each other to the point we believe we are powerless…these structures are made up of laws and bureaucracy but also of deeply ingrained belief systems of how the world works.

They make us believe we cannot be responsible for our own safety and health, only police, doctors and firefighters can do that for us, and city planners and safety officials who spend their lives creating big documents nobody finds or reads…

They make us believe the food we produce is unsafe and has to be tested, labelled, produced under mysterious processes by food technologists…that anything we experiment with in our kitchens may kill us, then we become afraid of “germs” and “weeds” and go on destroying the same life our guts so much need for its health and the medicine plants that could make us stronger…

They make us believe we have to pass through a filter of experts and consult every decision before we act, that’s how they remind in control…that we have to ask for permission to live, to do what should be natural for every healthy human being: grow and care and build the stuff we need with our own hands and those of our community fellows, decide on the fate of the ecosystems we inhabit and give us life, on how we want and need to run our own local economies, the rules that make sense to us, the technology most appropriated to our place and time…

And then they support and give air to all the events that proof that we are powerless and need them…so they can build more surveillance and convince us that we need their power to be protected, no matter that the lifestyle they promote is killing us in more numbers and more perversely than any “terrorist” attack”…

The also support all what makes us to fight each other and feel separated and different…so we often times engage in power-struggles over superficial things and forget what truly matters: that way they can continue feeding our pain with hatred and fear and disempower us more through acts of self oppression and destruction…

The system is built in such a way that they don’t even have to show up any more, we now police and restrict each other and even self-police and self-restrict by closing the doors to our power even before we dream on opening them. So pervasively this works, that most of us truly believe there is no way out, this is it…and then our children (the saddest victims of them all), bury their heads into virtual realities and drugs because the pain is unbearable to them, being born in a world where playing outside is “dangerous” and where the future consists on working yourself to death, buying love, fun and health and eventually being pushed aside when you become disabled, sick or too old to do the above…

What they don’t know is that some of us never learned this: either we played with mud and frogs and jumped from trees and walked barefoot and eat with our unwashed hands for too long or we discover that after a bad nightmare that almost took our lives away… and therefore, we are stubborn and naïve: we believe, we know we have power, not power-over but power with and power within: that kind of power that cannot be stolen or given because it resides both inside of each one of us and with the relationships we build and nurture as well as in our bigger selves: the 13.8 billion years’ Self…

What they know (and are panicking about) is the fact that we are finding each other: everywhere around the world there’re more and more of us, working in myriad of ways, from slowing down the system of destruction through acts of activism and patterns disruption to the creation of new patterns and structures (because structures determine our worldview and relationships and vice-versa), and everywhere in the world, people are starting to wake up and shift consciousness and adopting new ways of being and connecting to this world..

When you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, angry, powerless, in pain for the world, acknowledge it, don’t bury it under empty and superficial “positive thinking”: because it is by acknowledging our pain for the world that we do one of the most subversive acts we can do: staying awake and fully alive in our pain, meaning we are not alone and we care…

Remember in those moments that you have an entire planet behind you…alongside with you, there are the million of species fighting for their right to life: entire forests giving you air to breathe, entire rivers and lands nourishing your body, entire communities of ancestors and those still unborn giving the gift of strength and love for a better world…remember too, that millions of other human beings are both struggling and finding their power too: go find them and support each other.

We are not alone…

It is very important for our spiritual resilience and maturity, to see something happening, give ourselves to it and also allow for us to recognize that it can fail” (Joanna Macy at one of her “The Work That Reconnects” workshops…we are not in this because we are convinced we will “win” or for a reward, we are in this because living in any other way would be a betrayal of our souls and what we are…a betrayal to life.

Resources and sources:

EDE Curriculum from Gaia Education where I’m taking the EDE/holistic design program online: https://gaiaeducation.org/shop/free-downloads/

The Work That Reconnects network: https://workthatreconnects.org/

Joanna Macy’s website: http://www.joannamacy.net/

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