Power.  People are afraid of power because they assume that power means “power over.”  We’ve been raised in a Dominator culture, in which we have been the victims of other people’s power for all too long.  It’s time to take back our birthright of our own personal power, and unite it with the power of others, to create “power with” circles of self-governance.

Governance.  Governance comes from the Latin word gubernare meaning "to steer".  It does not mean “to have power over.” Good governance creates a strong future for an organization by continuously steering it towards a vision and making sure that day-to-day tactics are lined up with the organization's goals. Self-governance is only possible with empowered people.

Conflict.  Conflict doesn’t have to mean armed warfare; it simply points to a difference of opinion. Conflict is the catalyst for discovering resolutions that everyone is comfortable with. Our challenge is to create an environment in which disagreement can be expressed without fear, and objections and criticisms can be heard not as attacks but as concerns which, when resolved, will make the proposal stronger.


and why is it so hard to change?

All over the planet, people are awakening to the reality that their lives are being controlled – by politicians, police, educational and medical institutions, the military, media, and corporations.  And we are recognizing that the decisions made about our lives by these entities are often not in our best interest.

We know that we are at the absolutely critical moment for environmental, economic and political change, and we need to rapidly learn the skills necessary to communicate with each other and to work together toward undoing this mess and creating the culture that we want.

But we don’t have training in living in a cooperative culture, much less building one.

We only have training in Dominator culture, and we know that we can’t end Dominator culture by dominating it; that just gets us to the same place that we are now.  We need to go beyond patriarchy, matriarchy, oligarchy, and any other hierarchies of power, and instead of approaching the challenge from the top down, we must come from the bottom up – like grass roots, quietly building power and then emerging all over the place.  (Remember that bamboo is a grass, and it’s virtually unstoppable!)

Consensus can help us all to get beyond the “-archies”, and lead us into a place of shared power. It is one of the most important tools in our journey, as we reclaim our true birthright as empowered individuals, driven not by fear of power from above, but by love of power from within and around.

Learning to use consensus is not easy, but it leads to a more satisfying life than one of being told what to do by an authority figure, or being forced to accept an unpopular decision made by “majority-rule” democracy.  There’s a whole lot of us learning this new dance, and learning to dance together is a whole lot more fun than learning to dance alone.

Let’s dance, y’all!!

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