Change Your World (part 1)

634. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Almost 2 years ago I began writing this blog because I was walking in many worlds: corporate, educational, artistic,… I was coaching people and teaching and just beginning to see the theme that ran through all of those worlds. There was a common story at the base of the challenges and dysfunction: I called it power-over. There was also a common story at the heart of health, organizational, personal or otherwise: I called it power-with.

Because I began playing with the language of these common stories I’ve more recently come to understand them (beyond the abstract) as cultural stories. Power-with is a culture. Power-over is a culture.

A culture that fundamentally believes that humans have dominion over all life is telling a power-over story. It is a story of separation. It is a story of domination. It is a story of dysfunction. As I’ve recently been reading, power-over cultures are particularly blind to the damage they wreak; they see the world as a resource so the ends are worth the means. These cultures usually end badly (and quickly) when they exhaust their fuel supply. The story of dominance does not allow for interconnectivity so the idea that they are soiling their own nest is inconceivable. They are separate, above it all, consuming. This is our story and we are re-playing the cycle of fuel exhaustion perfectly.

This same story plays out in the individuals that comprise the greater power-over culture. The story is holographic; it plays on all levels. People who believe that they are separate and must control nature must also control their own nature (sin, temptation, thoughts, impulses ya-da-ya-da). It is the separation of self from self – and leads to all manner of insane notions like your mind might be separate from your body or your spirit; or that your ego and your soul are combatants; that your intuition and your intellect are contrary, or that you don’t belong or fit; or that there is a lack of deeper meaning or purpose in your life. Can you hear it? It’s a power-over story. Separations are everywhere in this story: where is your happiness if not right here? Where is your purpose if not within you? Resources like time and energy are limited because if you tell this story you see yourself as limited. I’ll wager most of us have, at one time or another exhausted our personal fuel supply. We see ourselves as consumable resources. In this story, heaven is some other place – it has to be when we have so readily defined ourselves as being in hell (a place where we are consumed).

Lately, I’ve been telling people who inquire that I facilitate culture change; I facilitate a story shift. It’s two way so saying same thing. I do it with organizations and with people; it, too, is the same thing; personal change and corporate change follows the same process. It is to tell a different story, a power-with story. It starts with using a different language which, in turn, engenders a different focus.

When I began writing this blog I thought I’d run out of things to say within 30 days: I saw myself as a consumable, too; a limited supply. I have discovered that when you begin creating power-with, when you begin telling a better story, an extraordinary thing happens: you become the medicine you seek. You become your own self-help book. You begin bringing things to life (careful, there are multiple meanings to that phrase).

[to be continued]

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