T his week we’re going to ‘feel the power,’ explore how we use it, and discuss the ‘types’ of power and how they work through us to ‘Drive the Green Fuse‘ as Dylan Thomas brilliantly put it. So let’s empty our minds of any preconceived notions, and hit the switch – it’s time to power on!
As ‘Immensely Powerful Beings’ (IPB’s), we know that power has many symbols. Some are personal, like suits and uniforms; some are ornamental, like statues and monuments; some are official like military vehicles and weapons; and some have become cultural necessities, like money, phones, computers and bank cards. Take a moment to look at your world and see if you can spot all the symbols of power that surround you, then ask yourself this simple question: Does my power flow through them, or does their power flow through me?
When I was growing up I was thrilled by the trappings of power, because I hadn’t developed a conscious sense of self empowerment. For years I allowed my trust to be broken by people I hoped would teach me how to be a powerful individual. But I was fooled. The power was inside me all along, and it’s been a long, hard journey back to the place where I started, and see the truth of my unique Green Fuse for the first time… Thank you, T.S. Eliot.
“We charge the Green Fuse of civilization’s diverse bloom, and the soulful energies we flow are the building blocks of humanity .”
T ake all the symbols of power you can think of and place them in an age with no humanity to sustain them. Now imagine a thousand year time lapse, can you see them crumble to dust and vanish without a trace? Absolutely. We are the atomic batteries of human experience, and by quietly focusing our power, we create consensus, and inspire others to join us in the joyful work of building a more beautiful, connected & passionate world.
“I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me, and my enquiry is as to their working, and my problem is their subjugation and victory, down throw and upheaval, and my effort is their self-expression.”
― Dylan Thomas
Lighting the Green Fuse
Now that we’re turned on, it’s time to tune in to the nature of power and how it works through us. We’ve discussed power before in these posts, and elaborated on it’s creative aspects and the amazing skills it inspires in us, but what is power? I have a simple answer, power is ‘Breath’ – the elemental life-force that flows through the Green Fuse of our uniquely personal flowering.
L et’s stop for a moment. I want you to take a deep inward breath. Let your muscles welcome the expansive feel of it as you stretch and absorb the oxygen that sustains you. Hold it for a beat, and appreciate the powerful simplicity of suspending the world in a breath. Now exhale deeply, slowly, and feel the tension release, gently gifting your carbon dioxide to the planet. All beings receive, all beings give. Seek the purity of that blessing in all your exchanges of power, everything else is a lie of the mind.
“If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?”
The Nature to Nurture
The ‘Biology of Power’ is how we transform light, air, water and earth into energy. the ‘Psychology & Spirituality of Power’ is how we transform consciousness into creativity and action. We ingest a universe of ideas, eliminate the dross, and fuel our presence with what most strongly resonates with our passions. And if we focus that energy quietly, mindful of it’s sticky nature, we can see it at work, feeding ourselves as we feed others, because the essential nature of power – is to nurture.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us ‘universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
In relationships, we use the Green Fuse to connect and nurture; building trust by seeing others as clearly & compassionately as we see ourselves. Nurturing eliminates barriers and reduces the internal resistance that blocks the enlightened exchange of ideas. That means the Quiet Power of nurturing is a circle that works in & through us, and we fashion it’s flavors through our intentions. It also means that your emotional state influences your desire for a particular outcome, and seasons the taste of your interactions. So remember, your gift will be received in the spirit you offer it, and the better it’s received, the more Quiet Power we flow to each other.
B ut what about Raw Power and the bitterly destructive qualities it engenders, after all, ‘haters gonna hate,’ right? No. There are no haters, just people who are emotionally & psychologically blocked. They feel threatened by their vulnerability, unable to free themselves of self hatred, and so they aim the raw destructive power of their fear outward. So the most important lesson that power teaches us, is that we have to nurture ourselves, to effectively nurture others.
The Angriest Men in the World
When I see stories of people who abuse power, I feel a profound sadness, and the fictional stories I write often circle back to the theme of injustice, and the fight for equality and wisdom. We all share personal stories of this struggle, and I suspect that even the perpetrators we revile for their unconscionable behavior, were shaped by similar injustices; because monsters are made – not born that way. Civilizations may pay lip service to the truth, and offer up the occasional sacrificial offerings to focus our ire, but we remain the only real hope for dissolving the chains of ignorance that imprison our collective common sense & wisdom. Be kind to yourself & others, because being the change you want to see isn’t just a slogan – it’s a call to conscience.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Lewis Hine was a social activist and his photographs of the hardships and dangers experienced by working children were instrumental in passing child labor laws in the U.S. The photo above was taken in 1908 at midnight in the Indiana Glassworks, and I’m drawn into the moment through the defiant stare of the young man on the left, who seems to challenge us to do something! Hine was a master of quiet power, even though his work screams of the injustice his subjects faced. Quiet power is seldom quiet, but my use of the word points to the silences in-between; the quiet places where the conscience of the viewer, or recipient, absorbs and engages with the wielders call to action. Maybe my take on this is aspirational, a plea to the ‘Better Angels of our Nature’ as Lincoln put it, but positivity is how I roll, my friend, and we need it now more now than ever, so I invite you to join me…
“Between living and dreaming there is a third thing. Guess it.”
― Antonio Machado
We’ve got the ‘Quiet’ Power!
So now that I’ve finally nailed down the nature of ‘Quiet Power’ let’s sit with it for a minute. I’m a filmmaker, and even though I love the snappy back and forth of Andrew Sorkin, and the volitile chatter of Quentin Tarantino, I hold a special love of the quiet spaces in films & TV; the sonic chiaroscuros of quiet space, bookended by emotionally intelligent music & dialogue. It’s one reason I love modern television’s ascent into the sublime reaches of dramatic space, because this traditional medium of talking heads, has become a shining beacon of light and space. Why? Because the Quiet Power of an army of creatives has proven that moments of calm invite us to experience the quiet spaces within, and allow us to bring our own lives into the sacred space of the theatrical present. This makes for a more powerful viewing experience, and keeps us coming back for more, so ‘Viva los & las Creatives!’
W hen we open spaces within us, pushing aside the cluttered thoughts and pressing notifications, we invite ‘possibility’ in for a visit. For years my days were jammed with the emotional and intellectual chatter of the Monkey Mind. Now, I’m quieter, happier, and more relaxed. Do I hear you say impossible? It’s true, and better living through Quiet Power is my secret. No matter how fast my wheels turn, when I allow the power to work through me, I become the hub, avoiding the dizziness and burnout at the treads, and calmly accepting whatever, or whoever shows up to say ‘hi!’
Breathe • Breathe in and follow the Breath, feeling it’s power as it moves through you – it’s the physical manifestation of your connection to the source of all energy. Stand up, and stand tall, even when you sit; ‘Standing’ is how we take in the big picture before us, and how we gain the energetic perspective that empowers us to open our hearts & minds. Absorb • Now that you’re completely open and see the forest for the trees, pick a tree – i.e. anything that calls out to you – and absorb it’s powerful message. We are the conscience of the world, so let the power and wisdom of that focused knowledge fill you to bursting. And pay attention to the flow of power as it sparks through your imagination and lights up a path, or paths – because all roads lead home. Act • Time to exhale your Quiet Power into the world. Let it flow through the wings of your Better Angels and make a difference. It could be as small as a warm gesture, or as large as a million being march. Mix flavors of your power as needed, and step forward to greet the joy of action in every face you meet, because all power is personal. Repeat • Repetition is the mother’s milk of power, and the more you use it, the more power you receive. Quiet Power is how we spread the love – the circular joys within our Green Fuse. If you doubt it, just look at a new mother feed her baby and prepare to be amazed at the power unleashed in that tender moment. Your nature is to nurture, so go forth and feed the world, it’s what you were made for.
Breathe • Breathe in and follow the Breath, feeling it’s power as it moves through you – it’s the physical manifestation of your connection to the source of all energy. Stand up, and stand tall, even when you sit; ‘Standing’ is how we take in the big picture before us, and how we gain the energetic perspective that empowers us to open our hearts & minds.
Absorb • Now that you’re completely open and see the forest for the trees, pick a tree – i.e. anything that calls out to you – and absorb it’s powerful message. We are the conscience of the world, so let the power and wisdom of that focused knowledge fill you to bursting. And pay attention to the flow of power as it sparks through your imagination and lights up a path, or paths – because all roads lead home.
Act • Time to exhale your Quiet Power into the world. Let it flow through the wings of your Better Angels and make a difference. It could be as small as a warm gesture, or as large as a million being march. Mix flavors of your power as needed, and step forward to greet the joy of action in every face you meet, because all power is personal.
Repeat • Repetition is the mother’s milk of power, and the more you use it, the more power you receive. Quiet Power is how we spread the love – the circular joys within our Green Fuse. If you doubt it, just look at a new mother feed her baby and prepare to be amazed at the power unleashed in that tender moment. Your nature is to nurture, so go forth and feed the world, it’s what you were made for.
“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought.”
― Bashō Matsuo
We flow our power into everything we do, and receive it’s gifts of life, spirit, creativity & wisdom in return. But we live in a world that sees this power through the lens of commerce, and tries to manipulate us into thinking that we are powerless unless we buy what they are selling. It’s like a person who believes that cutting off his head will magically allow a bigger and better one to grow in it’s place. Ridiculous, right?
“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Your Power cannot be bought or sold. It is not a commodity – it’s a life force – and your relationship to it is the most important truth you own. The idea that power is an external commodity is a vicious lie that punches a black hole in your consciousness, and you will forever seek to fill this disturbing emptiness with useless ‘stuff.’ It will also, according to Dante, put you ‘smack dab’ in the third circle of a self created hell.
But… If you accept power as your birthright, you can create a and sustain a little slice of heaven on earth. So power up, light your Green Fuse, and enjoy that quiet flow as it electrifies your brilliance! (Mic drop goes here)
Some of my Quiet Power Faves: