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Unlucky gift.

This week I will let the theme of the upcoming Sunday gathering enter my thinking. The paradox between control and letting go will be at the centre. Yesterday I touched upon the notion of power. I looked at it as being a relationship defined by the movement. Who moves whom, what kind of move is it and why does it happen? What seems like the simple definition of who moves whom appears to be a complex relationship network with many factors that are at play in the power dynamics.

The word power is also described in the context of energy source, think of horse power, electricity, nuclear power etc. I think it is interesting to unfold this connection. Recently I came across an idea expressed by Bonnitta Roy, a new hero of mine. She is a brave and inspiring thinker looking for new ways to generate collective insight and move transformations in current organisations and structures of power. She says that any conflict, at work or other area of life, can be seen as a free source of energy that can be transformed into something good. The trick is to be able to do the magic, recalibrate your receivers and make use of the situation when someone is yelling at us. This unexpected shift of perspective gave me shivers, that sweet feeling I recognise when getting to an insight.

Seeing conflict situations as a source of free energy gave me an idea which could perhaps help me with my conflict-avoidance behaviour. Usually, when I am in the situation when someone moves me in a way I don’t want to move, I experience a shut-down of my systems as I can’t withstand verbal aggression. I am also quite sensitive when it comes to feeling the room, I quickly catch the signals and from time to time my flight response only intensifies the conflict. Engaging with power in a playful way, looking for ways to use this energy source is very very appealing. Also, it feels like this is one of those ideas that sound wonderful but so difficult to implement when it comes to conflicts happening in real-time.

The situation with my neighbour for example, could have been such a rich source of energy. Yet, I was standing there absorbing the frustration, feeling guilty and being far from any type of constructive transformation. I took in the surplus of his energy, internalised it and let it move me, and become a knot of fear. So what would be the way to shift the perspective and make use of the situation. In shadow-work the conflict is seen as a valuable resource of change. It is explained with the fact that once you are in a conflict situation you can get closer to the source of your discomfort. When you become aware of it, you can own it and become less vulnerable and ignorant in your unconscious reactions.

Thinking about yesterday’s encounter with that power plant and reflecting upon the experience is already a step towards transforming the energy I absorbed into something that is useful for me. I think the mistake is to expect this transformation to be pleasant. I associate something useful with good feeling. In the conflict, though, I feel it is naïve to expect that the energy transformation can take place right in the moment. Perhaps, conflicts are also so powerful and valuable because they affect us so much without us being able to fight its effect. When the power is strong and of a different kind than ours, it moves us in new spaces we didn’t know existed. Every move always comes with discomfort, can be big or small but we seem to be hesitant towards change, especially, when we don’t know what the move will be. But with every move we expand into new territories and conflict is one of the tools for expansion. Not always pleasant and not always with immediate benefits but with the right mindset and a little reflection I believe the free energy of conflict can be seen as a precious gift.

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