What Eugene came to is that power is "about creating connection or movement where none exists". It is the "willingness to connect".
I sit with that.
If instead of fearing power and the misuse of it, I begin to see power as a "willingness to connect", how might that change my life, and yours?
Here is my hand, connected to my heart. May I touch my hand to yours?
As many of you know I am in a sensing group. We study and practice the work of Charlotte Selver, the founder of Sensory Awareness. We take turns presenting each other with questions to answer and work with.
Len Shemin, one of the members of the group, answered the question on power with this:
I'd like to explore the question of power with an experience that occurred 14 years ago that some of you may already know. Unable to breathe I collapsed in our home and was taken in an ambulance to the critical care unit of Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley.
As breathing was no longer automatically functioning and precarious moments of uncertainty ensued, sensing seemed to emerge of its own accord, allowing the possibility of meeting what was arising, with much less fear in my internal narrative.
Sensing as a default sensibility allowed me to meet the moment as it was ("whether pleasant or unpleasant", as Charlotte would say) thus altering a "victim space" into one of proactivity and empowerment. This inner transition had a significant impact externally as well.
I became curious about the nurses and other staff members who were caring for me. A practice began to flower in which I asked the name of every individual who arrived at my bedside. This simple act of knowing the names of all my caregivers broke open doors of connectivity with them and led to multiple conversations about their kids, their own health, as well as problem relationships they were having with other patients. As we confided in each other I became a citizen of their world, part and parcel of their work and their best intentions to serve.
The root of this experience lives in the world of the heart, that powerful mystery which seems to capture all of our vulnerabilties and all of our triumphs. Could it be, that to be with that and trust in that, is all the power we ever require?
I am touched by Len's offering. I read his words over and over again imagining what the world would be like if people listened to and received each other with this intention and attention. I find myself shrinking the Congress to the size of a box of pick-up sticks and shaking them back and forth, saying "wake up; listen; connect".