Delusion of Power-Over is the primary concept I begin with in my in-progress book, To Do Your Work. In this book I explore the spiritual practice of personal power and the twelve pressure points of modern living. This is the first pressure point and the starting point for all that emerges from the delusion of Power-Over.
Here is this first chapter as it currently stands.
Delusion of Power-Over:
As a power dynamic, Power-Over exists when one person exerts control, influence, or authority over another within the belief that the one exerting control is of greater value than the person being controlled.
Human dynamics are power dynamics – thus, human behavior is guided by choices about the exercise and exchange of power.
In simple terms, the fulcrum of power dynamics is the perception of the unknown. Those in fear of the unknown will act, react, or choose based on a different set of values and concerns than those who are motivated less by fear of the unknown and more by the prospects of connection and equitable exchange.
The dominating, authoritarian position within power dynamics, known as Power-Over, seeks exclusive position as the only broker of the power exchange. Externally, Power-Over may appear stronger and better equipped to manage all human exchange.
However, internally, Power-Over is driven by fear of the unknown or, devoid of the need for human contact, knows how to manipulate fear of the unknown to achieve ascendancy in the power exchange. To attain its seat as ultimate authority, Power-Over will describe the unknown as that which threatens life and liberty and will claim ability to vanquish this entity described as enemy and threat to survival.
This description of enemy intends to deflect attention from the internal weakness or absence inherent within the mind and heart of Power-Over. This deflection also seeks to hold logic and the power of the mind as better than anything deemed to come from the heart. Think of the playground bully wanting to hide inner weakness by lashing out and victimizing those perceived or described as weak and ineffective. This is the foundational bias of Power-Over’s preference for engagement with power through fear, manipulation, coercion, and hatred.
Power-Over plays on the natural human need to feel safe – safe to protect self and family, safe to survive and thrive, safe from the chaos of the unknown, safe from the stranger and the enemy.
Thus, in the face of fear, scarcity, threat, and possible violence, when safety feels compromised, some stand strong in their capability to defend while many feel incapable of successful defense. Gathering strength, status, and value as a defender, some will take the further step of using this gathered power to manipulate and force the challenged in a manner that is primarily to the benefit of authority and not necessarily to the benefit of the protected.
In this power exchange, the person exerting control is perceived as more worthy than the one who has accepted protection. This creates a divide, where US are better and THEM are weak, less than, unworthy.
Power-Over also exerts dominance through fear of THEM – the outsider, the stranger, the threat. The fear is to convince US of the best choice for protection and safety against the outside danger. Power-Over also drives fear of the unknown through clashes and opposition with the outsider and the stranger as a method to achieve, prove, and maintain authority and control.
Social, cultural, political, and religious behaviors proceed from this division, becoming embedded in the human psyche as natural. In its deepest entrenchment, Power-Over is not questioned because dominant power is not recognized as a choice alien to human behavior.
This division, especially between US and THEM, also further emphasizes the erroneous belief that personal choice is not to be trusted especially the self-choice exercised by those classified as weak, of lesser value, or as unknown. Power-Over exerts control and dominance to demonize self-choice.
Moving beyond the delusion of Power-Over emerges the paradox of this first pressure point.
Personal choice is always available.
Everyone intrinsically has choice to exercise in each moment.
To release reliance on the delusion of Power-Over, the personal path to do your work is to shift inner belief away from the fear I can’t survive on my own to the self-awareness of I always have choice.
Remember, equality isn’t to say that we are all exactly alike. Equality is about opportunity, capacity, and connection and how these are shared and exchanged between individuals and groups. Within the energy of personal choice the inherent connection with others no longer needs restraining by fear.
To move past the pressure of Power-Over, the power dynamic begins within the inner personal power expression of Power-Within and shifts externally to Power-With where power is exchanged as equals no longer divided.
This is possible when personal choice is acknowledged, embraced, and trusted.
My Story of Power-Over
As female, I have often encountered the push of Power-Over solely because of my gender. What I wear, where and when I walk, the type of work I can find, my health care decisions, and more are all shaped by the misperception that male authority knows better than I about what will provide for my happiness and safety. As female, because I am not always seen as capable of my own defense, I am encouraged to rely on authoritarian strength and guidance instead of my own inner wisdom and intelligence.
I look around me and see other factors such as race, age, ethnicity, religion, education, political affiliation, and more being used to defend one group as better and more deserving than another. This division is used to defend further discrimination, condemnation, and apathy of one human being over another.
Much of the current, monumental global change emerges within the friction of power and how power is used to dominate and manipulate. From #MeToo to #BlackLivesMatter, the motion around the globe is a debate about power – who has it and why, who should relinquish power, and who will go to any cost to maintain what power they think they have or deserve to have.
History details the power dynamics of humanity with stories of war, oppression, and liberation. While some of this motion is obvious, there are other motions which are subtle and buried deeply. Those who legitimately question abuse of power often find themselves in the minority because the domination has become so ingrained and, thus, goes mostly unidentified.
Let’s step back a moment and discuss power.
Fundamentally power is capability or possibility to act or behave in a certain way. This is personal capacity – your power. Originally from the Latin posse, to be able, the concept of power acknowledges inner personal ability. In this sense, we are all endowed with personal power.
However, power has also come to mean how capability can be used to influence or control. Influence is sought through this structure of power to dominate and manipulate. Control achieved, its agenda is rendered supreme and its followers are safe from challenge and fear.
Depending on how you perceive yourself and how you interact with the world, power can be an experience of connection with others or an experience of domination which separates and divides the good from the bad. Power is a balance between capability and control.
Thus, understanding power requires understanding four seemingly contradictory statements:
Power as personal capability.
Power as influence and control.
Power as an internal, personal experience.
Power as a dominating external force felt within every aspect of life.
Because of this paradox, power has four primary forms.
The first pair occur when there is an abuse of power or an exchange of power which doesn’t benefit all involved.
Power-Over is the exercise of personal power to influence, manipulate, or dominate others for personal benefit only and to maintain control and authority.
Power-Under is either exercising personal power to the benefit of Power-Over or giving up personal power in the push and pressure of Power-Over.
The second pair within the power dynamic occurs when the sharing of power comes through the connection of equals.
Power-With is the capability to exchange as equals where both benefit.
Power-Within is inner capacity in motion through thought, belief, and behavior and within the expanding integration of body, mind, heart, and soul.
Personal power is both an internal experience and an externalize experience of the person within the world.
Fear of survival tends to push toward the power dynamic of Power-Over and Power-Under.
Where a focus on shared, equitable connection highlights the power dynamics of Power-With and Power-Within.
Let’s look a little deeper into these four aspects.
As the center of your personal power, Power-Within is your capacity, your sense of authority of self, your belief in your ability to choose the path of your life. Power-Within is the crucible of personal integrity and deep creative expression. As inner experience, balanced personal power shifts away from the inflexible ego toward authentic self, away from blind reaction to clear, thoughtful response.
Power-Within develops a sense of personal coherency. Feeling balance, resonance, and alignment within is to feel the equilibrium of Power-Within. In this balance is the ability to respond rather than react. To choose based on personal desire rather than being manipulated and coerced. To express freely rather than feeling muzzled, inhibited, or afraid.
Within personal presence and in the balance of Power-Within, self does not perceive self as better than. Instead, the equilibrium of personal power nurtures an inner sense of harmony both within and without – as a balanced, synergistic connection with all.
Look inward and feel into your sense of personal strength and capacity. Within is inner awareness of personal choice available across body, mind, heart, and soul, yet felt most intently at your center. This central awareness is your center of personal power – your Power-Within.
This is also you choosing the Inside-Out approach to life. Because you believe in your worth, you begin your search for truth within you. You trust and believe in yourself.
For example, if you struggle with worthiness, you may intellectually understand the existence of your center, but not actually feel a center with personal power present. Fear, lack, and threat also push away clear awareness of center. Releasing the pressure of Power-Over will over time help you access your center and open the door to awareness of Power-Within.
Awareness of Power-Within leads to awareness of your exclusive determination over your body and life. Within the balance of Power-Within is also your ability to exercise independent action and free choice.
With self-determination and choice from Power-Within, you have the ability to live your life as you choose beyond the domination of fear. Life is not constant, mindless reaction to fear and all its claws, triggers, and rejections. Instead, as awareness of Power-Within expands, the heart has room to step forward, to be heard, and to be trusted. Heart and mind come together with body and soul to respond to the challenges and opportunities of life empowered and freely engaging with and experiencing Power-Within. This is you being present to you. This is you claiming your personal power.
Power-Within does not view the heart as weak and in need of defense. Directed to the center as the focus of power, Power-Within thrives with the integration of body, mind, heart, and soul. The heart is trusted and valued, and often leads in creating connection with others.
A heart connected to the strength of Power-Within is what Power-Over fears and despises above all else. For Power-Over senses the heart cannot be dominated and equates the heart with the dangerous unknown. The belief is that heart must be obliterated for Power-Over to win the power game.
The bully mind of Power-Over demeans the heart of Power-Within as useless, illogical, emotional, and without merit or worth. Power-Over must do this to corral the Power-Within heart and those unintimidated by the unknown or the agenda of Power-Over.
For the inherent divisionary tactics of Power-Over separate mind and heart to instill fear of not being in control in the unknown, unpredictable future. While the heart may be able to deal with this ambiguity, the mind of Power-Over rebels at anything less than absolute control. Absolute power in all situations is perceived to be the only safe path for Power-Over to achieve status and accrue benefit.
In the dominating struggle with Power-Over, mind and heart appear to be separate, one valued more than the other.
Power-Within does not experience this division and finds comfort in the integration of action, thought, feeling, and belief within the connected presence of body, mind, heart, and soul.
Moving beyond self, directed externally towards others, power is also defined as the ability or capacity to direct or influence the behavior of others. Externalized, power becomes authority, influence, dominance – all used to affect the behavior and actions of others to the benefit of authority.
Power-Over steps forward when this influence is used to dominate, manipulate, and coerce. In Power-Over, the exertion of power benefits the aggressor, and not the one who succumbs as the only choice to maintain safety or avoid punishment by the dominating authority.
The only way Power-Over participates in power exchange is by demoralizing and dehumanizing to maintain its ascendancy. Using fear, coercion, and a sense of scarcity of basic human necessity, Power-Over creates more fear and deepens the possibility that safety is impossible without its control and direction. Thus, Power-Over perpetuates a false narrative about what is necessary to maintain control, denying the fundamental truth of intrinsic human worth and the power of personal choice, while equating heart-felt connection as weak and inadequate.
There is no support for the Inside-Out approach. All effort by Power-Over is pushed toward the Outside-In approach to truth and belief where both can only be found in external, authoritarian sources pre-approved as consistent with the power agenda.
Additionally, Power-Over does not rely on truth to support its position. Instead, it states as true the feeling and emotion contained with a fear the something might be possible or is already happening.
Within the guise of protection and defense, Power-Over hoards control, influence, and authority usually by a small group over a larger group. The inequality fuels a continued reliance on Power-Over. Human relationships become a playground for the inequitable exchange of power and the jockeying to be king of the heap.
Power-Over also asserts there is an inherent lack of personal worth within everyone. This perpetuates the need to prove worth at any cost including relinquishing the authenticity of personal power within to gain protection from or to secure a dominant position. Power-Over diminishes or denies the efficacy of personal power and the existence of choice and determination.
Imbalance at its worst, Power-Over propagates inequality, hatred of others, and a false sense of superiority. Power-Over creates a power structure to elevate some and diminish or eliminate others. Power-Over moves all human relationship away from the equality of WE to the separation of US vs. THEM. Varied in expression, US represents those who are right and powerful while THEM are those who are wrong and should be powerless and dominated. The existence of separation then becomes explanation for maintaining authoritarian dominance. The idea is:
Because I am stronger and can protect you, and you can’t protect yourself, I should retain power over you. My power-over makes me better than you. My power-over makes me right and renders you hopeless and unworthy. Your only possible redeemable quality is you recognize my superiority. By recognizing my superior position, your prove your worth and secure your position as the one of the chosen few.
Understand to maintain physical and mental domination, Power-Over is a necessity. However, especially in the emerging presence of alternative agreements for human exchange, Power-Over is a misconception, neither a necessity nor an absolute.
Choosing to believe in the agenda of Power-Over is to follow its voice as authority. To seek its protection shifts life into a Power-Under position in the power dynamic. This choice is Outside-In always.
There will be times where the need for protection from hurt and harm is acute and immediate. In this case, taking shelter and receiving protection from the strong and powerful seems to make sense. Whatever might need to be relinquished, seems worth the exchange.
This doesn’t necessarily or immediately negate Power-Within. However, either through habit or neglect, that this was choice which can be shifted through additional choice is forgotten. The result is personal disempowerment and the loss of awareness of personal choice, trust, and truth.
The Power-Under position usually occurs through conditioned belief that personal worth and capacity are non-existent, and the capacity for self-protection and self-choice seen as negligible or absent. Thus, Power-Under is not a choice and more force of habit.
The habit of giving into Power-Over can be so entrenched there is no awareness of having given up. In this case, the presence of Power-Over authority appears as the natural order and is never questioned.
Power-Under can also be a very conscious choice to become one of the special chosen few. Especially as an early adopter, the embrace of Power-Over as the savior from either current existence or the specter of a doomed future can be motivation to yield personal choice and personal truth to Power-Over. This can also be a path chosen to become a dominant authority with equal and ultimately more power than the initially chosen Power-Over authority.
As we will discuss later in the book, Power-Over sets up a scapegoat to blame all troubles and failures. Embracing Power-Over’s agenda creates a fallback position for those within Power-Under which protects them from not assuming responsibility for their own lives and deferring to others with Power-Over.
Hand in hand, Power-Over is elevated by the presence of Power-Under. Power-Under feels a certain invincibility because of their status as the protected chosen few. Even if Power-Over cannot deliver on its promises or confiscates all benefit to its own use, Power-Under extols the value and excellence of Power-Over because blame for the loss goes to the pre-determined scapegoat. In this scenario, Power-Over is never wrong. Instead, what is deserved is said to be stolen by the scapegoat or defrauded by THEM.
Psychologically, this is a codependent relationship. Spiritually, this is a corruption of healthy exchange between equals. For there is nothing equal in the relationship. No matter what the objective of Power-Over may be, Power-Over’s primary objective will always be its own aggrandizement and benefit at all costs even if that cost is to those Power-Over is sworn to protect – and who will ultimately lose out on the promised reward.
In many respects, the Power-Over/Power-Under relationship can be maintained indefinitely until and unless Power-Under acknowledges that the King does not wear the marvelous clothes claimed by Power-Over to be clearly in sight. In other words, Power-Under begins to see through the threats and false promises, begins to question the authority and beleifs.
Typically, the shift in this relationship only comes about when another power-hungry dominating force appears. Then the clothes of the first power structure are seen to be torn and tattered. Whereas the new agenda offers better shiny baubles and bigger promises for an even brighter future reward.
Deriding the older power agenda, Power-Under will shift allegiance to the power of this new and better promise. There is very little respect or loyalty between Power-Over and Power-Under. However, when what was bright and shiny becomes tarnished, there is an arising within of a new power relationship. At this point, Power-Under can begin to collapse, opening the door for a new awareness to emerge as Power-Within.
Moving away from Power-Under and returning to the personal sense of Power-Within, there is a different choice which can be made about how power is experienced between people.
Perception of inner capacity and strength creates a path to recognize the same capacity and balance within another person, thus experiencing the fundamental nature of equality. All people have inner personal power. When relationships are established from this awareness, then the exchange is between equals, not between perceived un-equals.
The power dynamic between equals is Power-With. Power-With is influence between equals where there is no need to use fear or insecurity to manipulate action, choice, or outcome. Power-With can occur when the involved individuals are aware of and exercise their Power-Within.
Remember that power is about influence, control, and choice. Within Power-With, all three are exercised between equals – all of whom may consent freely without fear of domination or the requirement to give up self-determination.
In Power-With, the other person chooses based on any inner sense of balance and alignment, in harmony with self.
Thus, Power-With responds differently to the differences in human capability. Each person has their own attributes of strength, capacity, and awareness. Humans are not exactly alike. Instead, we complement each other.
Power-With acknowledges the difference without the need to exploit or manipulate toward an agenda which benefits only the few.
Power-With seeks a consensus of choice rather than an authoritarian domination of an enforced yes.
The Fallacy of Power-Over
The fallacy of Power-Over rests in the misconception that dominating power is the only source of safety in a world clouded by fear and threatened survival. Power-Over propaganda is geared to instill the belief to protect you and yours, there is only one choice: allow Power-Over to exert authoritarian control and maintain a constant defense against all attackers.
To achieve this end, Power-Over propagates the false belief that personal choice and capability is not to be trusted. This is what sets up the Power-Over/Power-Under dynamic. This is also what attempts to suppresses Power-Within and eliminate Power-With response within any exchange of power.
Without trust in personal choice, life is turned into automation driven by the dictates of external forces alien to and derisive of Power-Within. Authoritarian control of all forms seeks to reinforce the uselessness of personal choice which does not concede power to those better and greater.
Choice which resists this push is derided as blind, idiotic, reprehensible, and dangerous to the well-being of US – those who have cleverly chosen to heed the dictates of Power-Over.
The standard is clear, US knows better than THEM. US has the power perspective to determine the good for US and for THEM. THEM are incapable of doing right and their presence threatens the status quo and, thus, threatens the very survival of US.
Ripped away, the loss of personal choice destroys the heart of personal power. The effect is to maim and render all personal effort as ineffectual unless it is either directed by outside authority or is following the standards set by Power-Over.
Choice is the fulcrum in power dynamics and in all human relationships. Choice fuels personal power, truth, and trust. Personal choice powers self-determination. Without a sense of choice, without a belief in the personal ability to choose, there is no way forward which is not independent from the thumb of external authority.
Without a sense of personal choice, life will feel hopeless. Personal action will feel ineffectual. Personal desire will be absent or feel impossible to ever reach or understand. In this place, comes the emotions of anger, blame, shame, and mistrust of self and are often directed at others deemed to be the cause.
Feeling incapable of trusting self-choice erodes personal worth. Confidence in self and a belief in self-worth both go hand in hand with the trust of personal choice. A vicious circle is created where doubt in personal choice weakens self-esteem and then personal mistrust undermines personal choice and responsibility. This inner division is reinforced by the external division created by Power-Over of US vs. THEM.
THEM becomes the reason for the misfortune of life. THEM become the reason why it is not possible for life to be different, better, more enjoyable. The actions of THEM seem to reinforce the lies and threats propagated by Power-Over. The choice of the Power-Under position is reinforced as right and proper.
Once the habit of giving up Power-Within is established, personal choice is made within the dictates of what will maintain the power dynamic of Power-Over/Power-Under. Power-Under does not want to find in its initial choice was wrong. Now the motion is toward maintaining the façade and dismissing anything which might demonstrate that survival is not threatened or there is no inherent danger in the capacity of personal choice.
To claim personal power, belief in personal choice is a fundamental requirement. Without self- trust in personal choice, then determining life’s path is difficult. Everything becomes deference to external authority to determine reasonable choice or provide excuse for any perceived deficiencies.
In understanding that personal choice is intrinsic and valuable, there is the opportunity to take a step back and look at life differently. This is a step into Power-Within. This is a step into life guided by personal choice. With the guidance of personal power, domination need not be the default. Nor is there necessity to see THEM as less than.
As the inner battle of validation calms, take the opportunity to reassess. Each person is a being of value able to engage in life within an inner sense of worth, empowered to choose for self as needed. Neither fear or insecurity, nor authority or force have hold. Nor do these same strong compulsions need to be allowed to either rule life or limit personal choice.
Instead, balance and connection can be felt and experienced with others, even strangers. Choice within relationship comes through awareness of harmony and the willingness to exchange as equals. US vs THEM melts away. WE emerges and the power dynamic shifts. Power-Within supports the interpersonal relationship dynamics of Power-With.
This doesn’t mean there will not be disagreement or conflict. Rather in the face of disharmony, and imbalance, there will be room for mutual choice, mutual consent, mutual consideration rather than a false hierarchy of superiority.
Within the recognition of personal power, Power-With is about collaboration, creativity, strength, insightfulness, and integrity. Gone are brute force and the hazards of mental and emotional manipulation. Instead of replacement, self-awareness allows consideration of external sources of wisdom and knowledge as paths for expansion and learning, fueling additional layers of inner self-revelation.
Power-Within encourages both heart focus and open mind to seek the natural connection among all human beings.
US vs. THEM tries in vain to validate one truth as inherently more valuable.
As a fundamental truth of human power dynamics, WE seeks the beauty in all perspectives. WE seeks to honor and respect the human connection as inherently worthy.
WE focuses on how equals complement rather than how differences divide.
Most importantly, within the dynamics of Power-With, the forced need for self-protection lessens and disappears. Interaction between equals does not feed a social organization of manipulation and coercion. Instead, personal choice occurs within a natural sense of possibility and opportunity which does not need to be bought at the expense of the diminished humanity of all.
Power-Over in Daily Life
Within every facet of life and every interaction with the world is the depressing propensity to create the false divide of US versus THEM.
Sports teams and competitions. Politics and socio-cultural bias. Nation states and religion.
Humans habitually tend to create a sense of who is better, who is no good, who should exert power, who must follow.
Celeste came to me with such a profoundly diminished sense of self, literally beaten into her first by her authoritarian father and then by a physically abusive husband.
Her pain was deep and crippling. Her disgust focused primarily on herself. Her anger bouncing between both men yet landing on herself.
“How can I live? How can I find peace? What’s wrong with me?” she asked.
Power-Over demeans and casts judgment on the subjugated solely to enforce positions of control and authority. These men in Celeste’s life were no exception and exploited her tenuous sense of choice and worth to dominate and control.
Yet, from the first moment I met Celeste, I saw her acknowledge within a slim awareness of the possibility of trusting herself. She was reaching out, asking questions, listening to advice and suggestions – but not in a blind, self-denying manner.
Emerging from years of repression, Celeste was questioning old stories that she was not capable, should be dependent, and needed to be told what to do because her inherent choice was flawed and wrong.
At first, she thought the answer was to fix herself. With time, she decided she was not inherently flawed. A lack of inner capacity and value was a belief foisted on her for the benefit of others.
Instead, she was becoming thoughtful, open to processing for herself what made sense, what she decided was truth for herself. She was consciously creating new habits and new self-understanding of her capacity and her inherent worth. Most importantly, Celeste was discovering she was capable of personal choice.
In leaving behind the detriment of lack, Celeste moved forward for herself, while also moving away from abuse, self-hatred, and a sense powerlessness. She let go of the habit of letting others tell her what to do.
Celeste declared after months of self-exploration that was both painful and joyful learning, “I get my power back, not by dominating others or hurting myself – but simply by respecting, trusting, and loving myself.”
In finding herself capable of choice, Celeste claimed her personal power. She chose herself for herself and developed her Power-Within. Though fear of consequence pushed hard, she did not let the abusive relationship define her or limit her. She extracted herself from her marriage despite threat and even though it meant she had to start over economically.
“I am free now to create my life,” Celeste explained. “To me this is priceless.” In trusting herself, Celeste found the power and value of her personal choice.
In claiming choice, the need to dominate to validate one as better than another drops away. Power then resides between people as equals, each with challenges and opportunities, strengths and weaknesses which are not points of exploitation, rather representations of shared humanity and avenues for shared learning and experience.
Celeste shifted from I have no choice to I am capable of personal choice.
Then Celeste learned when the inner turmoil of feeling powerless subsides, the question becomes:
Who am I?
This question shifts life from reaction to choice. This also shifts life from hopelessness to the opportunity embedded in the ancient mandate: Know Thy Self.
Power-Within finds traction through self-awareness and learning. The personal choice of Power-Within serves as oracle to see both a present and a future rooted in the foundation of personal capacity and shared learning and experience.
Equality is not sameness. Equality acknowledges as human beings we each have personal power and capability. For each person, the personal traits and characteristics expressed within their capacity are unique. Equality is the sharing of personal power within the balance and harmonious exchange of Power-With.
The point of equality is not to make us all identical automatons. Equality and Power-With support the inherent, intrinsic value of all, no longer needing to value some as better. Power-With gives each the support to develop Power-Within, to feel capable of knowing and respecting self, and Power-With affirms the efficacy of personal choice.
Release of Power-Over
Power-Over wants to convince you that you have no choice. Play by the rules. Follow the standards. Accept the structure of control chosen for you. Aspire only so far as you don’t rock the boat.
However, personal choice is inherent. In each moment of life, you choose. Choice is always available and always exercised, including the choice to not choose or to believe choice is unavailable.
Yet . . . choice is always available. Always.
The sticky part comes in not liking the options of choice, being unhappy with circumstances or consequences. The reality of life is that sometimes life is not fair, not fun, not composed of expected satisfaction.
In the face of challenge and opposition, refusing to acknowledge choice may appear to be the best option. However, in relinquishing choice, self-responsibility and the prospects of self-determination are abandoned. Belief and connection are thrown out.
Life might seem better if all was easy, fair, and always attainable. But, this is unrealistic expectation – yet often not only a desire, but the preferred choice to feel safe.
The primary reason for relinquishing choice is a lack of self-trust. However, not exercising self-choice opens the door to the control of Power-Over.
To release Power-Over:
Trust the power of your personal choice.
Trust yourself to make the best choice for you and yours. Don’t confuse lousy options with no choice. Rather, see choice comes in how you respond. Whereas a lack of choice is shown within mindless reaction and fearful reply.
Trust and choice go hand in hand. Your firm belief in you is the energy which empowers your choice. Ability to trust personal choice builds through experience and does not require huge leaps forward. Small steps, little by little, building trust and choice over time.
Instead, begin with the simplicity of breath and pause.
One breath. Now. Pause.
Take a breath to create a pause.
In the pause, consider options.
Take another deep breath.
Now, be honest about prospects.
Acknowledge what feels positive.
Assess the challenge of the negative.
Be honest and don’t exaggerate, demean, or belittle self or other.
Deep breath into your heart and mind.
Feel trust peek out.
Feel your ability to choose.
Feel even just a sliver of Power-Within buried deep.
Now, trust the personal power of your choice.
With this pause, instead of reacting without consideration, you are trusting yourself to create space to choose.
Choice is always possible. In learning trust, choice in each moment will begin to feel natural and honest.
There was a time in my life when I had daydreams and night terrors of being forced to jump off a cliff. In my dream, I would stand at the edge of a cliff, in absolute terror at the awareness of impending doom bearing down on me, ready to destroy me and my life at the cliff’s edge.
There seemed to be no other choice than to jump, falling splat to the ground. Night after night, pursuit led me to the dream cliff where I would feel pushed to do the unthinkable: jump. I’d wake up exhausted, weary, and feeling unable to trust myself to make conscious choice for myself.
I felt hamstringed. I deferred decisions. I did not believe myself capable of safely living my life. The terror and dilemma of the cliff flavored the events of my waking life. I started to feel, in every moment choice was nothing more than me flinging myself off a cliff. I was exhausted and fearful and not me. I couldn’t find a way to avoid the cliff.
Finally, I made a choice. I made a choice to tackle what had become an almost impossible situation.
I took the unexpected option.
I asked myself what would be the worst outcome if I jumped? My immediate response: I would die. I would perish. I would cease to exist.
Ahhh! Got it! Life or death. The push at the cliff was to make a life-or-death choice. No wonder I was in resistance and turmoil.
Then I thought: But at the cliff, is life-or-death truly the only choice?
I pondered this for a while and decided perhaps death wasn’t the only possible outcome. Perhaps there were other options, in my terror, I hadn’t considered or couldn’t see.
I took a deep breath and paused again. I asked myself what I wanted and immediately I knew. I wanted to let go of the fear, to choose for myself, even if the options didn’t seem optimal to moving forward, even if that involved cliff jumping
In the pause, I saw something I hadn’t considered.
Maybe if I jump, I don’t fall. Maybe my worst fear is not true possibility or maybe going splat was how I was defining failure and choosing limitation. Maybe my reluctance to jump came from a fear of the unknown
But if I jump, I must trust myself and my choice to jump.
However, to jump, I had to reject my fear and the force of danger from behind pushing me to either retreat or freeze in place. Retreat was not working and neither was a dead stop, or a frozen stance. To jump I needed to trust myself in the face of an unknown, possibly painful, outcome.
Finally, the terror to jump was not as bad as the pain of being frozen in place.
I jumped and I did not go splat.
Instead, I found I had wings and landed safely on the valley floor. The next time I jumped, I felt hands provide steps so I could cross to the other side. The following jump, I slowly coasted to another location, safely, feeling confident in my choice.
I released the limitation of the terror by claiming choice in trust and belief in myself.
For you, perhaps your point of terror is different than mine. Perhaps, yours comes in the struggle at work with an impossible situation. Perhaps, you must deal daily with the threat of physical harm at home. Perhaps, the threat is attack and disrespect because of how you look. Perhaps, you live in a war zone where danger is imminent.
Whatever the circumstances, your choice, in the face of your personal fear, is to trust and to believe in you. The cliff is the edge of the unknown and the unexpected. When choice and trust are challenging you have come to your edge and go beyond into your unknown.
Choosing Power-Within doesn’t change the circumstances of your life. Connecting with personal power is not a guarantee or protection from the unpredictable or the unknown. Going into the unknown not about results at the edge.
What changes is how you choose to respond. How you choose to be for yourself within the life that you are living. How you deal with fear and the unknown. How you wrestle with trust. How you choose.
Until you make this choice – until you decide that you trust yourself, your life will be beyond you, driven exclusively by external forces.
Accepting the responsibility of personal choice brings you into this moment where all of you is accessible, where you can learn and explore, where you can connect with the best of you and the best of everyone.
Let the seemingly impossible offer an alternative. Honestly, you may only face difficult options, none of which are anywhere near ideal. Choice rests in your response not in expected outcomes. Alignment within you comes in the process you choose in this moment regardless of what might happen. Your capacity and trust are displayed through your personal choice.
In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, question everything. Question the underlying premise of the situation. If jumping is death, is this the only possibility?
Question the premise and don’t let assumptions or expectations hold you frozen in mistruth and distraction. When faced with the impossible ask, “Is this dire outcome the only possibility?”
Choice is always possible.
Trust yourself to take the right step – or the right jump.
Release the dominance of Power-Over by trusting the power of your personal choice.
Now you are ready to live life – knowing you can choose how to jump cliffs, face fear, and live the life YOU choose for yourself.
Personal choice is always available.
In each moment, I trust the best of who I am to emerge.
I trust myself to choose my best path.
I can create positive connections with all.
I trust the power of my personal choice.
Questions To Do Your Work with the Delusion of Power-Over
Here are the five process questions for you To Do Your Work. You may use the questions for reflection or meditation or to ask within your Akashic Records.
What follows each question is not a response for you. Rather it is commentary from me to help you get to your truth.
There is no limit to the number of times asking these questions will be beneficial. Each round of questioning will take you to a deeper level of inquiry and understanding.
Question 1: For me, what no longer serves, resonates, or is in alignment with Power-Over?
For most, there is a lack of recognition of the insidious, unquestioned reach of authoritarian power. Accustomed to being told what to do by figures of authority from parents and teachers and more, the idea of questioning the legitimacy of Power-Over control can seem odd or perhaps unneeded.
Yet, somewhere deep inside is your ability to choose for yourself. Finding what no longer serves can begin with a focus on this depth and quietening self-criticism for just a moment to hear the wisdom of you buried inside and ready for you to hear and respond.
Question 2: What is the fear holding you back from release?
The unknown. The threat. The horrible possibility. Maybe the fear is buried in trauma, denial, or neglect. Is this a matter of survival? Are you unable to choose a path to thrive?
The paradox of fear is its gift. Somewhere, somehow is the perspective fear is offering your awareness. The unknown isn’t usually horrible. Instead, the unknown is appearing as the next step to understanding the gift of fear. Ultimately, resistance is futile unless you deny or ignore. But neither of these responses eliminates fear – only buries the fear deeper where it must push harder to be seen and understood.
Question 3: What releases this fear?
Within the perspective of releasing Power-Over, the release of fear is most often about how some aspect of your personal power, your Power-Within, will begin to step forward. Fear wants to make Power-Within cower and retreat. When you begin to claim your power, fear begins to find that it has no place in your life.
Question 4: What is your truth?
In the face of Power-Over, the first step away is to begin the process of acknowledging the truth of your power. The truth of your being. The truth of all of you. To ask for your truth is to begin to put the puzzle of you together so you are held up in truth, in personal power. With the truth of your Power-Within there is no mountain too high. There is only you willing to fly.
Question 5: What is your next step?
When you begin claiming your Power-Within, you can feel like there is much to release and much to accomplish. However, in this moment, instead of overloading yourself with a huge to-do list, narrow your focus.
In this moment what is the one most important step to take?
Focus on one thing, one step, one thought. Allow your depth to guide you.
Here, now, what is my next step?
There will always be a sense of much to be done. Now is the time to engage self-trust to focus on this step, now. This helps you feel more comfortable beginning within self, trusting personal truth, and exercising personal choice. You’re less likely to get trapped by overwhelm and judgment.
This becomes the way to live your life: this one step now. Repeated time and again, in trust, in truth, and from your choice.
Personal power engaged, all you have in front of you in any moment is this step, now!