A New Kind of Power




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Parabola’s “Power” issue is getting ready to be printed, and we’re excited about it.  Here is glimpse, from my soon-to-be published “focus.”

Terrible fires in Arizona.  Sweatshop fires that kill thousands.  Fires of hatred and intolerance around the world.  Time and again since the turn of the millennium we have seen how elevating efficiency and growth over service and sustainability, declaring a few aspects of force to be the whole of power.  Our old idea of power no longer works.  It unbalances and destroys.   Treating the world like a bottom-line business–seeking to gain the most while giving the least—can no longer be celebrated as empowering.   But what is the future?

Seeing is the beginning of healing.  In the upcoming Summer 2012 issue of Parabola, new poetry by Mary Oliver—moments of being conveyed through glimpses of being in nature—and as essays about being with animals and in our own bodies reveal that seeing can bring a new kind of power.  “I’m not the river/that powerful presence,” writes Oliver.  Yet seeing what we are not reveals what we may yet become. 

“There was a time when every grove and stream was sacred, meaning and wisdom found in the cycles of the moon and the germination of the plants,” writes Sufi master Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.   The heart-stopping photo essay of ice bergs by Camille Seaman remind us that although we have forgotten this way of receiving the world, we still can remember.   In the same issue, shaman Michael Harner describes a cave power quest undertaken in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in recent times.  Daring to descend into the depths of the earth and himself, he returns with new healing power and new appreciation for the beauty of creation.

New powers may be revealed in beings and situations we judge to be powerless.  Describing what it is like to tame a wild stallion, Linda Kohanov observes the two-way relationship between the seer and what is seen, referring to the Buddha’s way with horses: “What if the stallion that Siddhartha so skillfully trained had also been training him, psychologically as well as physically carrying his master away from the heavily defended, insulated palace of a hierarchical father?”

Please consider picking up (or better yet, subscribing) to the new issue

May the new issue carry you.

4 thoughts on “A New Kind of Power

  1. Sharon,

    Looking forward to what promises to be an uplifting issue. And including a new Mary Oliver poem? Yea!


  2. Excellent. Fire. Fire. I remember the night Bush the younger started bombing Baghdad. Shock and Awe. The naming of this destruction was odious and discussing to me. I wrote,

    I walked alone with a black dog
    I walked alone with a white dog
    I walked alone but never loved the loneliness
    I did love the solitude but asking, all the time,
    “What should I do with myself?”
    I walked alone for years without knowing that I was
    Just tired
    Of people, and the hell with kissing
    Never mind sex and babies
    What about my hair?
    What about my clothes?
    I got a Master’s degree–
    Will someone please get me a PhD?
    Will someone please feed the children barley bread?
    And cool, clean water?
    Will someone please stop the war
    That rains fire in the Fertile Crescent?

    At the exact same time cigarettes were banned in all restaurants and bars in NYC. The little fires of match and tobacco (sacred to the Indians of the Peyote church and others) banned but the destruction of ancient Baghdad was sanctioned, based on lies.
    Yes, underpinnings of ethical action have departed the culture.

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