ON POWER“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." ~ Jimi HendrixThrough the development of human civilizations, humans have sought power. The power to defeat enemies, a rival tribe or clan, power to overcome a challenge. Yet what is power? And more importantly, how are YOU using yours?As a shamanic practitioner and teacher, my training and experience has lent a deeper understanding of what power means. For me, this means a personal power. It has less to do with “overpowering” and more to do with “empowering.” There is a very common, yet beautiful, ceremony called Power Animal Retrieval, in which the purpose and intention is to reclaim an aspect of your own power in the form of an animal. Our Power Animals volunteer to be of assistance to us when we need to tap into that support. This support is available 24/7. This type of power serves to feed our own inner power so it grows within us.It is important to understand that there is never any hierarchy between Power Animals. If someone’s Power Animal is a honey bee, that honey bee has just as much power as a whale. Power Animals know this. The energy is very individualized and so are the individual teachings a Power Animal brings. Power Animals don’t get “envious” that a practitioner is working with other Power Animals. They don’t believe that the “grass is greener” because someone else has “more” power. In fact, this notion is truly impossible and is a concept of scarcity that has developed over thousands of years to ensure human survival. In a recent shamanic journey, I asked about what power is. I was shown the undulations of light and dark reflecting upon a lotus flower. I was shown the Light as a perception of growth, of abundance - of blossoming. I was also shown a shadow path, of destruction and loss, the energy of scarcity which was rotting the roots of the lotus and destroying its fertile ground. Lotus flowers are known to grow from the mud - symbolic of adversity - of making lead into gold. So, if the soil is seen as infertile, as scarcity, it will rot our roots and stymie the utter grace and beauty of the lotus. It will not be capable of sustaining life if the mud is perceived as infertile. In our day to day interactions, we may observe people not only attempting, but succeeding in overpowering others. This practice is done essentially out of the vibration of scarcity. Those that practice the act of overpowering others are also stealing power, and this act of stealing substantiates and fulfills that scarcity. But no matter how much is overpowered or how much power is stolen, it never is satiated, because the source of power is from outside. It cannot and will not be refilled from the infinite source of abundance from Self.The root cause of this is that we have forgotten that true power is in empowering others. True power is shared, is abundant and multiplies magically. There is a saying that Love is the only true power. This is very much true. When you light the flame of another, and help another remember their inner power, that is an act of empowerment. Conversely, if one overbears, overshadows and abuses another, by words, thoughts or actions, that is using stealing power and is the dark side of power.One might say: “But Love won’t stop someone from killing another person. Love doesn’t stop some children from suffering. Love doesn’t halt the mass killings of ocean life.” No, unfortunately, it doesn’t. Because choosing Love is exactly that: a choice. Choosing Love is choosing to not operate from scarcity. It is choosing to operate from a place that multiplies and nurtures Self. As a by-product, it nurtures and ripples out to others as well. True power is easily shared. It is Light. It nurtures Love and growth. It lives and breathes despite the destruction, despite the scarcity.Choices that engage in words and behavior that cause hardship for others is a choice to use power that is a vibration of scarcity. It is not expansive and only knows lack. We have free will to choose our behavior. Sometimes, we choose poorly. Sometimes those choices are made out of fear and scarcity. We see these vibrations of scarcity on the news reflecting violence and destruction. We may use it in our language and say we “can’t afford it” and our thoughts are embedded with “not enough.” To listen to and believe these notions is to take away our own power.The Star Wars Jedi Master, Yoda, speaks of the Dark Side of the Force to his student, Luke. He acknowledges that the Force has two paths: …beware the Dark Side. Anger, fear, and aggression; the Dark Side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight…When Luke asks if the Dark Side of the Force is stronger, Master Yoda replies, “No, no. Easier and more seductive; not more powerful.”Why isn’t the Dark Side more powerful? Because the vibrations of the Dark Side, which abuses and distorts the true energy of “the Force” has forgotten that it too was created by the same Light. Through its own unhealed suffering, the Dark Side has fed the lower vibrations of scarcity: fear, anger, jealousy and hatred - and then has chosen to identify with that. Star Wars highlights the infinite conflict within ourselves: the power of our Light and Dark within each of us. It illuminates the notion of feeding either the Light or the Dark within and the consequences each action can create for Self and the whole. There is a Cherokee story: An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life: “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”True power is sourced from the place of Love, which IS abundance, a place where there is always “enough.” It is the source of growth and peace for Self and for others. This innate power does not oppress, but instead, lifts up to inspire to live to the fullest. This aspect of power can be found in laughing during challenging times in our lives, essentially taking the potency away from personal challenges and chooses to be joyful in that moment instead. It doesn’t dismiss the challenge, it just discharges the power from it. In essence, true power is empowerment. This innate knowledge understands that life is precious… and it continues on whether we are in the flesh or not. This power understands that we are eternal, despite the appearances right in front of us. True power understands that there is no hierarchy and that we all have the capacity to tap into life in every moment, no matter how painful. It is the ability to become vulnerable to each emotion and to open our hearts with gentleness. It is speaking our truth and honoring our perceptions, even if no one else agrees. It is being courageous to walk to the beat of one’s own drum.True power reminds us that every being is luminous. It reminds us that each person is having a unique experience for the time allotted, learning an infinite amount of lessons through those experiences. Being in the flesh as humans, observing the flow of the Universe, we can choose thoughts, words and actions that come from a place of expansiveness and abundance. We can also choose our words and actions that come from the place of our shadow - however, that will only serve to cause more suffering. Indeed, power is a conscious choice. How do you use yours?