I have observed within me a push and pull dynamic with regards to the concept of Power Couples. In wanting to explore which aspects about it attract and which repel me, or more precisely which parts of me and for what reason, I have been led on a beautifully explorative journey. A journey shared and enriched in parts with friends, who were kind enough to share their impression of power couples, which helped me in gaining more perspective and clarity. What stood out to me and surprised me was that those who answered my question on their impressions had a similarly emotionally or mentally charged reaction to the concept though for slightly different reasons, which made me want to delve into and unravel it all the more.
I am writing this as a shared inquiry for you and me and allow reflections on expressions of power and inquiry into our experiences answer what makes power in or of a couple an expression of healthy/balanced dynamics or individuals and when it is an unhealthy/unbalanced expression for us individually. Abstaining from sharing my take on what makes a power couple feel dysfunctional/unhealthy and what qualifies and sets a powerful couple apart for me, though I have gained quite some clarity on it, allows more space for your explorations and truths sans coloring or limitations due to my perceptions and biases.
Power is never static, for power is not a thing that we can hold or store, it is a movement, a relationship, a balance, fluid and changing. The power one person can wield over another is dependent on a myriad of external factors and subtle agreements.
Expressions of Power
Let us begin by touching on the different expressions of power we may be observing or unconsciously conflating. They might help us discern differences, make new layers visible, and inspire reflections on how we wish to express and nurture power in all our relationships. For the sake of brevity I will only share short definitions, which are far from exhaustive but hopefully give you an idea of the mentioned expressions of power.
Most of what we have learned to think of as power is power over. This type of power is derived from and built on hierarchy, domination, coercion, force or control. It necessitates someone to have power while others have none or little, it can be as benign as a chair having power over our posture and as dangerous as someone having coercive power over another’s wellbeing or life.
Power over arises from a (un)conscious belief in scarcity and separation consciousness.
Power within arises from an individual or collective sense of self-worth, value, dignity, capacity and includes the ability to recognize differences while respecting others. This is enhanced on the spiritual path as we cultivate self love and embrace as well as experience more of our capacity to change ourselves and our realities.
This power is rooted in the belief (or knowing) that every individual has the power to make a difference. Arising from the unique potential of every being to shape their life and world, it is a power to make a difference, create something new, or to achieve goals and visions. This is where our gifts to the world express as an aligned and blessing form of power.
Power with is shared power which arises from cooperation and relationships, the ability to act together. It helps build bridges across different interests, experiences, and knowledge and is about bringing resources, capacities and knowledge together to co-create synergistically resolutions and innovations. This power is amplified on our spiritual path when it takes us into mystical experiences and knowing of the oneness of all that is.
“The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question, by questioning we arrive at the truth.”
~ Peter Abelard
With these expressions of power in mind I found following lines of inquiry or questions to yield fruitful insights and discernment. Please feel free to add whatever questions and contemplations feel relevant to you and your experiences. And feel free to share them with me if you feel inclined to.
What kind of power is it?
Which of the above manifestations of power am I sensing/observing/experiencing in the couple/ my relationship? Does this power manifest to move and shake, from social clout, from physical beauty, through career or financial success, from alignment with cultural expectations and social scripts? Is it manifested beyond mundane aspects as love, compassion, wisdom, etc. or expressing as shared growth and creativity?
Where does the power arise from?
Is the power will driven (lower mind), driven by unconscious shadow aspects, driven by desires born of scarcity and separation consciousness? Does it arise from Self, to serve creative expression, to serve love, life and others from a knowing of oneness?
Is this power being felt, experienced or expressed, and if so on which level?
Is the power expressing on the emotionally, intuitively, mentally, spiritually dimension?
Is it felt by the pair and/or others? Is the couple experiencing said power primarily through its manifestations and workings (impossible obstacles are overcome, cooperation is given by hostile parties, etc.) and by the level of trust in and/or knowing of their union? Are they expressing power from a place of will, self-attributing being a power couple, and do they have a strong or obsessive attachment to being perceived as a power couple?
Relationship as an Entity of its Own
In further contemplations an aspect of my inner vision of relating and relationships proved quite central in my reflections of power in couple hood.
In my experience and knowing a relationship or the “we’ is an entity in its own right with its own needs, preferences and purpose, and in deeper reflection I realized that it sometimes becomes an ‘egregore’ of sorts. The power and expression of it by the relational egregore is dependent on the energy and intentions it is fed by the couple. It can be a force of healing and growth, be ambivalent, or a force of imbalance and harm. For the most part such feeding happens unconsciously and with material from individual un- and subconscious of the partners and the collective un/conscious field.
But, as with most things thankfully, there is a possibility to make these unconscious effects more conscious allowing us to intentionally feed our relationship entity through conscious attunement to each other, shared inquiry and vision quests into the current state of the relationship, co-creation of higher vision for the relationship, developing tools and practices for growth and to embody more of the higher vision, and much more.
Regardless of the intentional or unconscious nature of the cultivation relational egregores express and radiate power, visible or tangible power which the couple and others perceive as differentiated from the partners.
My personal attraction to powerful relationships and wish to be in such arises from my fascination with the mystery, dynamics, and potentiality of the relational egregore and creative challenge in shaping it into a power for change, growth, harmonious resonance with life, and blessing to all who are touched by it. I have a clear and deep seated sense of what it feels like to be in such a connection, from flashes of insights or experiences shared in previous or ongoing relationships and from a deep knowing and magnetic pull of my heart and soul.