With fists, with words, with kindness
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I will respond to any questions, concerns, or comments that you send to me, Leaf, care of THE SUN, Box 732, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Power is acting, doing, performing, producing. Power is directed energy. Power = desired, directed behavior → goal accomplished. Power is the hammer striking the nail, the axe cutting the tree, concentrated force changing the environment. Power-full people change (manipulate) the environment to meet their needs. Power is neither good nor bad. Power is focused ego producing or preventing change. We are children of America: power is our creed.
During much of my life, I have craved power in the belief that power would lead me to some undefined but much desired happiness. I have expended time and energy performing, in the hope that my work would eventually bring pleasure. Many hours were spent doing push-ups, studying “subjects,” laboring at tedious jobs. Whatever the power of stardom, “good” grades, money, recognition, the glory was lost in my lack of true enjoyment.
Thesaurus, dictionary, quotation book, pencils, pens, paper. I labor with this writing. I search to understand, clarify, articulate. I am different now. I work not so much to finish this task and have MY ARTICLE IN THE SUN or to HELP SOMEBODY. I write, primarily, because I feel pleasure in the involving process of seemingly creating order and lucidity from the confusion that is a part of my life.
The change that has occurred is vast. For the most part, I do what I want, and I enjoy what I do. When I think, feel, or say that I need or have to do something, I decide whether I want to do it. This means that I go to the grocery store, empty the garbage, sweep the floor because I want to do so. I am aware that I don’t have or need to do anything (except die if I do nothing). No one needs to be a victim of life — we all have the power to be active participants. As we make our thoughts, feelings, behaviors a matter of choice, our personal power greatly increases. We can choose whether we want to work, and whether we like our work (and whether we want money and want to work to get it).
The most beneficial result of realizing that we can decide what we do is that we can decide to do what we want. What we want to do hopefully becomes what we enjoy doing.
Enjoyment is an attitude, not an intrinsic part of a situation. In some situations, the decision I make after “I want to do this” is “I will enjoy doing this” (or, at least, “I will enjoy not enjoying this”). Sometimes I have to kick the flat tire or cry over the spilled soup, and then I enjoy myself.
I try to accept what happens as a gift. I try to respond in appreciation (enjoyment is appreciation). If I don’t do this, I usually feel bad, distracted, restless, alienated, and get no value from my experience. Sometimes the enjoyment that I get is in observing how negatively I respond to a situation and experiencing the results of my negativity. Awareness and learning are always pleasureful for me; these are possible in any situation.
Although I sometimes try to understand “Why has this happened to me?”, this question is often answerless. Whatever the reason, I am now presented with the decision of whether I will accept, enjoy, learn from my experience. Sometimes I make this a difficult process for myself and resist feeling any enjoyment or benefit. I am clinging to old attitudes/responses and preventing myself from being aware of the uniqueness and wisdom of the moment. My gain is unpleasant. I remain stuck, in the status quo; I have stayed unpleasantly comfortable in the familiarity of my rigid values.
As I respond to my everchanging life experience with the attitude that my responses are a matter of choice, I become more powerful. I am focusing my ego more effectively.
As I decide to enjoy each decision, my mind and heart open, I experience more of the benevolent wisdom of the universe. I become potent.
Potency is the state of feeling the love of the universe. Potent people are open and benefit from every experience. They view life as a wonder-filled process and are attuned to the magnificent beauty. This does not mean that they do not feel sad, angry, depressed, sick. They do experience feelings, processes, changes (the continuous death and rebirth) but with appreciation. Every experience becomes an opportunity.
The potent person is part of his/her experience. Life is a process of interaction and integration; potent people observe without alienation and participate without controlling. They accept rather than resist life. They grow, give and gain much in their lifetimes. Love and awareness are guiding stars.
People can be powerful and potent. Focused strength and ego can be used in service of love. Danger lurks, though, for our insecurity, hurt, and anger can be the motivator for our power. We then expend our energy in hope that the external world will value us enough (with money, fame, position, material pleasure) so that we may recognize our inherent value. These vestiges of power, as we know, do not equal love. As we experience love, harmony, oneness, external “rewards” become a by-product of life movement.
I NEED TO TALK AND THERE IS NO ONE TO LISTEN
Thoughts feeling lost like a falling tree in the woods — still a falling tree even though no one hears. I fear the thoughts are not thoughts . . . especially with the conflict fighting inside . . . especially when I need someone to listen, to help each thought be expressed one at a time, to soften the clamoring which makes me feel so out of control and overwhelmed with the ruckus surging through me. Oh, the wonder of laying these thoughts out one at a time before another . . . not to be judged, not to be scooped up and rearranged in the perfect solution (there is none), but to be patiently delivered from my mouth and quietly laid before us. Before even a few months, as my thoughts are heard, sometimes repeated for my reconsideration, or to verify for the other that he/she is in contact, calmness and warmth move up from my belly. Those terrible thoughts have seen light and are not death to me nor to others involved! They are desires and hurts and strivings for growth asking to be loved. As you listen to me, I watch your eyes, your hands, your back. Your eyes do not roll, your hands do not push me away, your back does not arch with anger or tension from taking on my problems. I feel your love and I am now loving my words. Behind the words come a smile, some tears as I fully live with you and give birth to my being. And tomorrow the phone may ring and I may hear your words — “I want to talk . . . will you listen?”
(My first writing after reading Channel One, April ’76 — “I’m really getting angry, what can I do?”)
Through our mutual caring and communication, we are all growing healthier. The opportunity to help or be helped is a valuable gift. I thank you friends, who have helped me and allowed me to help you.