This post is about two things, all connected by one person.
I’ve written about Mark Nepo before- he’s a philosopher and grounds me AND he’s one of the 5 people I’d have at my dream dinner if I could have anyone there. The idea is that if you could bring together a group for an intimate dinner, who would they be and why? I’ve been taught that this says something about who you are and these people usually have qualities that you either see in yourself or admire and wish you could steal a little bit of their mojo. My others guests are Lady Gaga, The Girl with The Dragon Tatoo (the actual character), Stefan Sagmeister, and Brene Brown. I was actually only supposed to have 4 guests, but I just couldn’t choose between Gaga and Lisbeth Salander- both totally ballsy and beautiful and kick-ass. Lately I’ve been wanting to be kick-ass in career, life and just in general. Sidenote: as I was researching this, I came across THIS LINK to a collection of GWTDT-inspired clothing. More on that later.
This is what my dinner would look like, I guess.
This was such a fun exercise, but I also wanted to talk a bit about Mark Nepo and his role in my dinner/life. I read a passage from The Book of Awakening daily and it always gets me how very close it hits to home. Today’s passage was about POWER– and how our interpretation of power can be extremely destructive to our lives. Mark is inspiring, deep and he reminds me to be mindful and grateful for where I am every moment.
Here it is below.
More Power to You, by Mark Nepo from “The Book of Awakening”
I was waiting for a plane when I overheard two businessmen. One was sharing the good news that he had been promoted, and the other, in congratulation, said, “More Power to You.”
I’ve heard this expression before, but for some reason, I heard it differently this time and thought, what a curious sentiment. As a good wish, the assumption is that power is the goal. Of course, it makes a huge difference if we are wishing others worldly power or inner power. By worldly power, I mean power over things, people, situations–controlling power. By inner power, I mean power that comes from being part of something larger– connective power.
I can’t be certain, but I’m fairly sure the wish here was for worldly power, for more control. This is commonplace and disturbing, as the wish for more always issues from a sense of lack. So the wish for more power really issues from a sense of powerlessness.
It is painfully ironic that in the land of the free, we so often walk about with an unspoken and enervating lack of personal freedom. Yet the wish for more controlling power will not set us free, anymore than another drink will quench the emptiness of an alcoholic in the grip of his disease.
It makes me think of a game we played when I was nine called King of the Hill, in which seven or eight of us found a mound of dirt, the higher the better, and the goal was to stand alone on the top of the hill. Once there, everyone else tried to throw you off, installing themselves as King of the Hill. It strikes me now as a training ground for worldly power.
Clearly, the worst position of all is being King of the Hill. You are completely alone and paranoid, never able to trust anyone, constantly forced to spin and guard every direction. The hills may change from a job to a woman to a prized piece of real estate, but those on top can be so enslaved by guarding their position that they rarely enjoy the view.
I always hated King of the Hill–always felt tense in my gut when king, sad when not, and ostracized if I didn’t want to play. That pattern has followed me through life. But now, as a tired adult, when I feel alone and powerless atop whatever small hill I’ve managed to climb, I secretly long for anyone to join me. Now, I’m ready to believe there’s more power here together.