I’ve got you in my power” is a running family joke. It started when my sister’s two oldest children were about three and four. I would envelop them in a big hug and say, “I’ve got you in my power.” They would squirm, wiggle, and whine, “I don’t want to be in your power.” The only way to get out of my power was to give me a kiss. One day after a visit, my niece hugged her father (my brother-in-law) and said, “I’ve got you in my power.” To which my brother-in-law said, “I see you’ve been spending time with Aunt Gail.” And thus another Gailism is born.
Since then (my niece and nephew are in their twenties and *gulp* early thirties), my sister has always announced, when visiting my mother, “I’ve got my mother in my power.” And on it goes.
I had a good conversation with my mother this weekend. She has taught me many things and most recently not to be afraid of words like cancer, psychosis, confusion, dementia, and cancer [I’m still afraid of the d-word]. She’s a strong woman and sometimes the ravages of time and chronic disease robs her of her usual acuity and abilities. This all has its ups and downs and riding these waves is a big challenge, particularly since I live 400 miles away.
When I spoke to her I said, “I hear you have [my brother] Frank in your power.” She answered yes and we talked of many things. Later on, I asked, “Are you having a good visit with Frank?” She replied, “Yes, it’s always good to have someone new in my power.” That made me feel delighted, light, and happy. It was a good conversation to have.
Power has been written about a lot to the point where it gets tiresome. It does seem to be a lesson that we learn over and over again. How to use power appropriately, how to recognize when power is being abused, and how to recognize different kinds of power. For awhile in the Pagan community, it was became a bad word. One to shy away from. At the same time, in shamanic terms, the practitioner journeys to non-ordinary reality to gain power. The key is how you use the power. If you use it for good and not for ill, or if you use it for the good of your community or others, then the accumulation and use of power is a good one. If you use power for your own advancement to the detriment of other beings, well then the use of power is a poor one. I believe power is another word to not fear.
When looking at power and how we gain it and use it, we must use discernment. I think we need to see what lens we are using to look at power. Are you looking through the lens of love? Revenge? Entitlement? The way you look at power is important. If we fear it and shy away from it, then power becomes something bad.
Look at it like a hug. Hugging is a communication between two beings. Are you expressing love, can each of you move out of the hug as you need or wish to. Or is the hug a vise holding you close in ways you do not wish. If you hug with open arms and allow everyone the choice of leaving or staying, then “I’ve got you in my power,” is a phrase of love, affection, family, and community.