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True Strength Comes from Within

Shifting the Tides of Power

My family and I frequently visited a canopy of majestic white pines that lived near the great Mississippi river. As we walked in and around these giants of strength and wisdom, I encouraged my sons to imagine themselves going through a spiritual carwash, allowing the trees and the healing waters to take away any worries or concerns that had taken up residence in their thoughts. These walks through the woods connected us to all that was good about ourselves and others. They rejuvenated us and gave us hope in humanity.

We all share the air, water, and soil. The destructive things we do to our planet reflects the harsh and cruel things we say to ourselves and each other. Our deficiency of compassion for things that nurture and sustain us makes us more and more fragile in the world climate.

The political undercurrent of America has been as dynamic as an ever-changing river with some powerful riptides, a few sharp edges, and occasionally billowing mists. Different viewpoints intermingle like the water of two streams, merging and forming one country. Like it or not, we are all connected. No matter how hard we try, we cannot separate ourselves from those that live downstream. Just as a watershed captures snow and rain and releases it into larger bodies of water, our individual thoughts, words, and actions affect and drain into those around us.

We as individuals, communities, and countries are working out the issue of power. Some abuse their power, bulldozing over morality and compassion, ruthlessly winning at any cost. Running roughshod, they avoid responsibility, denying, defending and blaming, others instead. They have an insatiable craving for attention and an outright allergy to rules. They appear arrogant, pompous and hostile on the outside to compensate for how unworthy they feel on the inside. Paralyzed by fear, they do anything not to be deemed weak.

Others give their power away, acting like helpless victims, allowing others to manipulate, control and dominate them. They believe they have no say in what happens. They seethe with resentment, thinking they do not have choices, options, or possibilities.

True strength and power comes from a deep reservoir within filled with inner wisdom, confidence, and courage. It is active and dynamic, taking responsibility for everything it says and does. It wants to win, but it wants everyone else to do well also. It is sturdy enough to disagree respectively and apologizes when wrong. It knows its own voice while still listening to others. It has a wellspring of love, kindness, empathy, and understanding.

We as individuals and as world family members have a choice to create, promote or allow. We create by our emotions, thoughts, words, and actions, and each of us makes these choices many times a day. If we create fear, we become fearful. If we create hate, we become hateful. We promote either divisiveness or connection, domination or collaboration. We allow decisions to be made that benefit a few of us or all of us. We can use our strength to empower us or destroy us. Responsibility starts with each one of us, as individuals until it becomes contagious. When we respect ourselves, and our planet, beautiful, positive and uplifting things will be returned to us. 

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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