Love in a Time of Personal Power

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Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

 

“We have put the value of love — of life, self, and others, — in combative opposition to the value of personal empowerment. In actuality, these two values should be more like the Eastern concepts of Yang and Yin, which are not combative. Rather, they compliment each other as opposites while retaining their own identities, reaching toward a universal harmony. Love needs empowerment to have strength and substance, and empowerment needs love in order to have value, purpose, and meaning.”
— Massimilla Harris and Bud Harris (Into the Heart of the Feminine)

 

I grew up during the second wave of Feminism. I remember those years of women fighting for equality. And, I remember how they were treated for wanting equality.

Looking back now, I see that the call was for equality but not really for love for all of life, for justice for all, for the leveling out of the playing field for all.

It’s clear the feminine (as she appears in all human beings and in all of life) has been missing when we see the ways in which the power structures and institutions of our western culture values some lives more than others. When we discriminate against some lives and not others, when we commodify lives, when we don’t provide safety and care for all lives, we are witnessing the lack of the feminine in our institutional, systemic, and individual behavior.

Over the past two decades, many of us have found ourselves on this deep reclamation of the feminine.

She called and many of us answered, not really knowing what that meant.

The feminine (yin) can only be known in relation to the masculine (yang), and the masculine only known in relation to the feminine. In Chinese Medicine, this relational dynamic is understood as an elemental way of seeing and knowing life. Everything is related and nothing truly stands on its own. So when I speak of the feminine, I speak from this perspective. I am not speaking of women and men, but rather the energies of yin and yang.

The feminine is dark as related to the light. The feminine is moist as related to dryness. The feminine is non-linear as related to linearity. These aren’t moral leanings. They describe life and all life entails, including death.

The feminine is the mystery. She doesn’t reveal herself in clearly defined ways. Instead, she reveals herself through symbol, intuition, dreams, and the deep imagination of the inner world. But, the feminine has been revealing herself back into the world of form and we’ve begun to see the world in new ways. We’ve come to see how the feminine appears in this world.

We have so far to go to truly hold all of life as sacred, worthy, and equal. I believe one of the reasons we have not done so is that we don’t know the feminine. We don’t clearly see her. And, because we don’t see her clearly in relation to the masculine, which has had a greater presence in our world, we don’t see that the nature of life itself is to live not for itself but for the whole.

This is how the feminine moves in all of us — not hierarchically, but relationally. The feminine cares for life — all of life. Not some life. And not just life that is commodifiable. She cares for all of life equally.

The feminine is Eros. And Eros is love. Eros nurtures the impulse to live. And the living of Eros moves in such a way to ensure the preservation of the human species.

But the feminine is not moving within all of us because we haven’t become conscious of how she is within us. And we become conscious of how she is within us when we come to see what is hidden within us when we find the courage to face that which we haven’t wanted to see. When we do this, our hearts can break open. Our compassion can flow. And, our love can pour forth.

We can come to remember our wholeness.

While we’ve been seeking empowerment and equality, this twin ‘value of love’ has not been championed in the same way.

“We are liberating our empowerment, yet at the same time, we are denying our inherent abilities to like, nourish, and take loving care of ourselves and to make the love of ourselves, others, and life the dominant value we try to live by.”
– Massimillia Harris & Bud Harris

We want to be equal to men. We want to be empowered. But to what end?

Ultimately, it must be for the love of all things, all beings, all of life. For this is the nature of the feminine. She does not discriminate. She does not exclude. She does not favor one child over another.

Empowerment needs love in order to have value, purpose, and meaning.

What does empowerment do for us and the mess we find ourselves in if we aren’t caring for all beings if we aren’t using this power to liberate all of life from the effects of our out of balance, hyper-masculine western culture, exemplified by racism and white supremacy? The feminine does not hold any aspect of life supreme over any other, any expression of life over any other, any incarnation of life over any other.

Yes! Love truly “needs empowerment to have strength and substance.”

We must do what it takes to free the Love within ourselves, otherwise, we are still stuck in the old paradigm of ‘what’s in it for me’ where there is little true value offered to the whole of life through our work. And when we do free ourselves, we then have the strength and substance to bring Love to the forefront of our work in the world.

When we face all of the intense conditioning within us — everything that feels so hard to face and own — we often feel guilt and shame when we finally do. But here’s the thing. It is through feeling these very things that love frees up within us. When we truly stay with everything that comes to call on us, asking for us to face it, our hearts can open to the life that is here — to all of life, not just some of it.

This is how we do the deeper work we must do. We do what is ours to do. We face what is within us so that our hearts can do what our hearts know is true to do. This is how Love moves.

And for those of us who’ve said yes to Love and have been uncomfortable saying yes to power, myself included, it is time to bring these two together. Power-over, how we see power playing out in our world, is a zero-sum game. But power born of love is power-from-within, and this power is the expression of our deepest being into the world. It is our life force. It is Soul born from the deep Love that moves all things. It is generative. It is inviting. It is intelligent in the way of Life.

It can be frightening to live our power when our true power has been suppressed. We’ve feared our power for suppressed power fears harming others. We know somewhere that if we unleash it, it can be harmful. Yet, by not addressing it, we harm, too. Our true strength and power are of life itself. When we come to trust life itself, we come to trust that which flows through us and that which flows through all — the Source of life itself.

We cannot have true empowerment without having the conscious understanding that we are given our lives as a gift, that all of life is of equal value, worth, and beauty, and that we are here to serve the continuation of life itself. When we are willing to see what is standing in the way of this knowing and willing to do the work to dismantle it, I sense we will be able to live for life itself and to live life as the gift that it is.

Again, the feminine is the mystery. When we sit in what we don’t yet know and are unwilling to face what we must feel in order to know it, we’ll suffer and cause suffering. Everything is conspiring for us to end this suffering and liberate ourselves and the whole.

Originally published at JulieDaley.com

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Eros, Love, & Real Power

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Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it. ~ Alan Watts

 

Eros

I am in a deep exploration of Eros. I suppose I have been for quite a while. It was showing up through me – in my photographs and writing – but now I am making a conscious decision to move into a thoughtful, open, inquiring exploration of what this form of love truly is. It is calling me.

Eros is love. It is joy. It is beauty and deep feeling. And it is power…

I’ve been writing a lot about power: the kind of power we see today in our culture and the kind of power that is beginning to take hold in our world that is truly a form of love, a form of Eros. I see these two expressions of power from a relational perspective, for all of life is relational.

Power Over

The power we witness in our culture today is what I call ‘power-over’. Power-over is hierarchical and is characterized by domination and control. In our cultural systems, those in power are held higher in privilege and worth than those who are not. Those who are in power are supreme over those who are not. Those holding up the power structure are those who have power, whether it be through positions of power or unearned privilege.

This is finite power in a closed-loop system. It’s a zero-sum game. Why? It is a systemic power granted by and held within this specific system. The system grants it depending on how high you rank in the system. But there’s a catch. It’s ultimately not true power in the larger reality because there is a greater source of power than power-over.

Power-over is based on control because to believe that this is true power one must ignore the truth that life is really in control – that life is the greater source of power. Think about it. Within our culture, we do not entertain the truth about death (part of life). We push it into some kind of ignorant oblivion. As long as we refuse to see death and its power, and to see the power of nature itself, those in charge and in power of our cultural systems can pretend that they are all powerful beings, which they are doing on a continual basis.

Power-from-within

But there is another form of power emerging. It is power-from-within. Power-from-within is also a systemic power but within a different system – the system of life, whether it be the whole of life or one’s individual life. Over the past decades, people have been becoming more conscious and doing the work to heal wounds and become clearer about who they truly are. What we’ve been doing is waking up to our power-within. Not everyone is doing this, but so many are. And it’s shifting things.

Within one’s own internal system, there is a flow of life force that comes from Source. It is a steady flow through the body while we are alive. The internal world is the world of the feminine, the world of soul. When the feminine rises within, there is a movement to know and live our power-from-within – our naturally creative, life force power – into the physical world.

The thing about power-from-within is that when we live it, we are no longer living solely in flow with the status quo. The power that flows from source is intelligence that is alive. It is fueled with intelligence that knows something more than any one human being, or two, or even three, could know. This intelligence is tied to the whole of life.

Power-from-within is Eros. It is deep creativity. Power-from-within is the expression of this love into the physical world of matter. 

Now you know why Eros has been made to be something to fear or something that is only sexual in nature because if we fear our source of true power, we will stay within the power-over dynamic, even if we are in the ‘under’ position.

Eros is definitely orgasmic, but then orgasmic experiences are, again, found in so much more than just sex.

Power-with

Power-with is when I am living power-from-within alongside you living your power-from-within. Power-with is generative. When I live power-from-within, I take nothing from you. I don’t dominate you. I don’t try to control you. In actuality, the reverse happens. When I live power-from-within and you witness this happening, the awareness of your own power source begins to be awakened in you.

Eros

So here’s the thing. Alan Watts wrote, “Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it.” In order to navigate and negotiate power-over structures from a power-from-within approach, we must come to remember that we are smack in the middle of life itself. A power-over system is not the ‘big’ system of life. It is pretending that it has that power, but it does not. When we come deeper into the real relationship with life and know ourselves wholly from this place, we can then see these power-over structures for what they are. It does not mean they go away, but we can navigate them differently with this generative life-affirming power.

We navigate them differently through Eros and our relationship with Nature and the Earth. Earth becomes our foundation. We begin to weave our power-from-within together.

We become resourceful and resilient, together.

Eros is love. It is deep feeling. It is beauty and joy. It is pleasure. It is life moving through life, asking life to blossom fully. This is the love we can embody in order to bring a new world into being. Eros connects us and when we are connected we are much more powerful in responding to the power-over structures.

When sleeping women wake, mountains move. – Chinese proverb

It is time to awaken to our power-from-within. To do so, we must go within. That is the task at a hand and we are up for it.

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This is what I do in my coaching. I guide you to awaken to Eros, to your power-from-within. I then walk with you as you begin to live this in the world. I’d love to be your coach.

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