Friday, March 11, 2011

Seeds of Power

When do you feel powerful? Powerless?

I feel powerful when I am doing something I am practiced in. Writing, for instance, is something that comes easy to me (although I still work hard at it), and I feel powerful when I am putting words to paper and creating something new. I get a similar feeling when cooking a favorite recipe, or cuddling with the children or my partners. It's not a power OVER but a power WITH, something that does not include powerlessness on the other side of the equation.

I feel powerless when I find that my trust has been betrayed. When people lie to me and I find out about it, I feel that power has been stolen from me, and I really struggle with finding my equilibrium afterward. I also tend to feel powerless when I am around people who know my buttons and push them.

What kind of power attracts you? Repels you?

There is a strong attraction in me for personal strength and power. Gray is a very powerful person, both in personality and in body, and I enjoy watching that power in action. I love to see his confidence at work. In a way I aspire to be like that, not needing the approval of others to help me hold into my own power. To some extent I've found a measure of that, but I still fight to find it within me. I find crass power to be very unattractive. The bully, the dictator, the power hungry person who lords it over others holds no interest to me. Those who seek power for power's sake can move right along.

What are symbols of power to you?

There are different types of power in my life. Religiously speaking, the icons of my chosen gods are powerful symbols for me: the owl, the grape vine, the caduceus, the cross. They are outward images that represent the strong and benevolent power behind the symbol. From a personal standpoint, strength of personality is a symbol of power, and the old standard, money. Knowledge, too, is a vibrant symbol of power.

How was power used in your family?

My mother was more of a tyrant than anything else. She ruled the house with tactics that were more bullying than leading. My father was more polite about it, but he chose to be with my mother and I was an accident of birth; his loyalties lie with her. Guilt, too, was used as a tool of power. Anger, depression, and many other negative emotions were used to control the actions of others.

How has power been acted out in intimate relationships?

That's kind of a broad question. I have a power exchange with Gray, one that I entered by choice but that has waned somewhat over the years (in some ways... in other ways it's still quite strong). I enjoy it when he takes control of our private time together. I tend to be more in charge of money and home, because that is where my skill set lies.

How do you know the difference between fulfilling a mission and being a "chosen one"?

Good question! I don't, necessarily. I work hard to never getting the "chosen one" idea into my brain. There are certainly things that I feel I've been incarnated here to do, and that's fine, but I think that if I failed others would take my place. I'm no more (or less) special than anyone else. I think the moment you start thinking you're the only one who can do something, you're on very dangerous ground.

Right now, I feel a distinct call to be a bridge between paganism and Christianity. That's a fun thing, a powerful thing. At no point am I under the impression that I'm the ONLY one who can do this thing, though. Anyone can, really. If I do not follow through, there are others who can and will step up to fill that role in the world. I am just a cog in a very large machine - important, yes, but not all-important.

What do you consider to be "enough" -- enough money, popularity, accomplishments, and so forth?

Enough... would mean not having to squeeze every cent until it screams. I like the idea of being able to run to the store and pick up milk without worrying it will bounce a check. Popularity I don't really worry about at all. Some people like me and others do not, and that's alright. Accomplishments are probably my downfall. I suffer from feeling inadequate, and so I really push myself to do more, be more, accomplish more. I often do it to my own detriment,  until I'm exhausted or over-stretched. Learning to say "no" has been a very difficult journey.

How do you feel about money and service?

I like money... I like service (both giving and receiving). I tend to be very open about money. While I do feel I deserve to be paid for my services (wedding, funeral, etc), I do not believe I'd ever turn anyone away from my services for lack of payment. Service, to me, transcends the money aspect. I ask for what I feel I'm worth, and accept that sometimes that number isn't realistic. That doesn't mean someone else has to go without service.

What kind of people do you put on or off pedestals? Have you examined why you do either?

I think I had my mother on a pedestal for a long time, although it wasn't a positive one. I had her up there to throw the emotional version of rotten tomatoes at her. Now, I've taken her off that pedestal. I still have issues with her, but they're person to person; the grandiose vision of her is gone. She's just another broken human being.

I put Gray on a pedestal for a long time, almost to worship him in a way. I don't mean worship as I worship my gods, but in a more human way. He provided me with all the basic necessities of life (food, shelter, love) and then taught me how to be a human being again after a long period of abuse and unhappiness. He taught me it's okay to fail, and that failure doesn't mean that love stops or is taken away. It was easy to put him on that pedestal! I suppose he's still up there sometimes, for me, but after a decade of living together I've come to know his foibles and failures as well as his successes.
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