An incident from my time in Atlanta finally came to mind. I was in the new-age community at that time. I took a class that on empowerment. The teacher told us about the language and actions that focused personal power. The contrary disempowering language and action was also explored. The end result was a description of how to be an adult is empowered unto themselves. The rest of the world followed the joy and presence of the individual. This was all cool stuff until a single entity was introduced.
This entity was the child, the dependent charge of the adult. No longer could the adult be the king or queen of the world. Their new focus was blunted or rechannelled by the care of the child. The child, much weaker than the adult, controlled the actions of the adult. The adult spends time and energy in the care of the child. The pursuits of the adult are reconciled to a place after those of the child. The judgment of other adults is determined by the quality of care for the child. The empowerment of the adult is tempered by the needs of the child.
I found this to be a bizarre situation. Why take the courses about "personal empowerment" when a mere child trumped all of the talk of power and focus? I was left with this puzzle so many years ago.
This year I believe I've realized the answer. The adult does not bow to the child. Instead, the adult shows an ultimate compassion to the child. The adult is empowered and strong. They are capable of all things. The adult's correct interaction with the child embodies spiritual compassion and wisdom.
The adult does not always have wisdom. There is a possiblity for weakness in the adult's strength. There is a old saying that speaks to this. With great power comes great responsibility. The power of the adult means little when it is not wielded properly. Empowerment turns to ashes when darkness fills the soul of the adult. No amount of personal power can justify the outcomes of neglect, injury, and spiritual rape. The adult may hold their mantle of power. This is all they have. Their capability of outreach to others is reduced. With this reduction comes a dissolving of true power.
The true expression of the adult's strength comes from their willingness to put aside their strength for the sake of others. The motivation is compassion. The result is a responsibility to others. The strength of the adult informs and assists their submission to others. The child is the both the catalyst and the object of the submission.
What have I realized? We are all children. We have times when we are dependent on others. There are occasions when we are weak, seeing others as the adults of the world. Our growth is incomplete, reducing us to a place of reliance on others for comfort and aid. We are also adults with our reservoirs of power and ability. The role we embrace changes from time to time, person to person, and setting to setting.
I see that there is a place of balance. Total empowerment as an adult beckons a time for forgetfulness about others. Total embrace of the child steals the ability to interact with adults. Neither world can be wholly inhabited in the extreme. My life has melded this knowledge with experience. I pray the result is wisdom.
In moments of wisdom I lose the ability to be frustrated at my fellow adults who act as children. They are mirrors to my own states. I lose the ability to angry at the empowered adults. They are quite brave, dancing on that edge of power and responsibility. I cannot begrudge them the flaws even as I celebrate their wonderful achievements.
Atlanta returns to my thoughts. Lessons take years to realize. This is my life now.