Power is often defined by an illusion of control. Those in a power position may truly be in a place of authority, while others struggle to assert and claim an elevated rung of the ladder by stepping on people beneath them. Illusions may not be real, but they distort reality and cause most of us to believe what they are seeing, hearing, or feeling is indeed how it appears to be.
At 4:30 am this morning, my littlest woke up crying. By the time I got to the crib, he’d settled down and was fast asleep. Unfortunately, I lay awake for the next two hours, only to drift back to sleep minutes before I needed to get up for the day.
Like the wings of a butterfly, my thoughts fluttered and landed and quivered to cross the space of my mind over and over, not able to settle fully. Frustrated, I visualized waves crashing along the shoreline, forcing the thoughts of work and travel and planning out of mind in order to rest.
When I dream of work, I know things are not as they should be. It’s not the content or the day-to-day business of employment that is problematic; it’s the larger environment in which I play a role that is troubled. The program I oversee is productive and on track toward meeting its end goals and objectives. But the place in which we operate is tense and shaky with unclear senior direction.
Am I to play more of a leadership role? If so, how? When?
What are the best next steps for me to take?
Observing an individual who tries clumsily to wield the illusion of control over those beneath them disappoints me. The use and abuse of power in the workplace can either hold an organization and its employees to a healthier standard, one that is ethical and just, or bring it down to a place of distrust and unrest.
Fortunately, there are also those in positions of influence who know how to use power for the greater good, and I support them.
In my mind’s eye in the pre-dawn light, I focused on how tides are influenced by the Sun and the Moon, and I kept the anxiety at bay. My thoughts about work began to drift out to sea.
I stopped worrying about what is real and what is illusion, and slept dreamlessly as the morning sun entered the room and the day began.
“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”