Saturday, April 29, 2017

Personal Power

I've been thinking a lot about personal power. I have a bumper sticker on my back windshield, quoted from The Wizard of Oz, that reads, You had the power all along my dear.

One advantage of getting older is that you learn how to use that power. You learn when to say no without offering excuses. You reject clothes, 'suitable for your age' in favor of ones that make you feel wild and free, and you learn to say, To hell with anyone who doesn't approve of the way you live your life. These are hard-fought lessons to learn since we girls weren't brought up to step outside the box.

But along with that power comes responsibility and hard decision making. On this day I had the power of letting a bird live or die, or letting another go hungry. It was an extremely hard decision because it was being played out right in front of me, and I couldn't turn my back.

The dove was enjoying an afternoon snack of seed on the table under the pergola, totally unaware of the danger lurking less than three feet away in the form of a young Sharp-shinned Hawk. The hawk seemed puzzled about how to snag his dinner which gave me an extra few moments to make my agonizing decision. I walked out to the pergola. The dove escaped and the confused hawk flew up to the cherry tree. He stayed for a very long time, occasionally looking straight at me with an accusing red eye. I still wonder if I made the right decision and if I should even have the right to do so. Is one life more important than another? I don't believe so yet we all make judgments on this very topic every day in one way or another.

These decisions we make on a daily basis hold immense power in themselves. When a friend asks if they should buy that skirt, do you tell them the truth or do you fib so as not to hurt her feelings? And is that the right thing to do in the long run? Do we cheat and eat bad food even if we know we won't get caught but also know it will hurt us in the end?

Buddhists don't believe in killing anything. It's as much the intention of killing as it is the act itself that is unacceptable. And this rings true more and more for me too, because I find the most abusive form of using my power is when it affects other sentient beings - the spider that mistakenly got into my house or the mosquito I swat that was just looking for a bite to ease her hunger.

A friend of mine won't tolerate English Sparrows because they push other baby birds from the nest and take it over. He doesn't like Cowbirds either because they lay their eggs in another's nest so their baby will be properly cared for; kind of like leaving a baby at the door of a firehouse or hospital. But by my friend interfering with his personal power, he is affecting instinct; what God, Mother Nature or other force you believe in designed for that bird. Who are we to question the purpose of its existence? Like the Lady says, "I was born that way."

As for me, I am slowly learning to first take a breath and think about the decision I am about to make which will affect everything around me. And I will always try to use my power for good - for every living thing. 


  1. Amen....Amen and again I say Amen...your post is very well said...

  2. I always remember what you said about grackles when I see them being so pushy at the feeders - they have the right to be there and even the slightly "ugly" cowbirds have the right. Yes, it seems you are on the Path of true mindfulness of actions, my friend :) I try, but find myself acting and reacting before thinking too often - it's a constant struggle.

  3. I am no better than you as you will see in this coming blog. So be kind to yourself - I think you're pretty terrific!