What is Wholesome Power ?

Excerpted from Tom Atlee:

“In times of scarcity, conflict and crisis, what kind of power do we need and where shall we get it?

We are surrounded by potential resources, companions, and capacities which—to the extent we recognize, welcome them, work with and appreciate them—become actual resources, partners and capacities, generating an expanded power to have positive impact in the world by helping it partner with itself.

I call this kind of power wholesome power—accessing the wisdom and capacities of the whole on behalf of the whole.

When we exercise wholesome power, it is not us as individuals or groups that make the difference. It is the living whole of which we have become a catalytic part, evoking and empowering the resources of the whole, which is having impact.

The theory and practice of wholesome power is an emerging field that embraces many models, approaches, and phenomena, few of which consciously see themselves as manifesting wholesome power. This essay is not a blueprint for wholesome power but rather an invitation to explore what wholesome power is and could be and how it could be practiced and enhanced in myriad ways by myriad people dealing with myriad situations and possibilities at all levels all over the world.

If wholesome power accesses the wisdom and capacities of the whole on behalf of the whole, what is “the whole”? It can be a whole person or relationship, a whole situation, a whole community or country, the whole world, the whole of transcendent unitary reality—whatever whole or wholes we are dealing with.

Wholesome power involves welcoming, invoking, catalyzing, balancing, and midwifing whatever new aliveness is trying to emerge. In service to the life of the whole, wholesome power skillfully treats disturbance, disruption, and crisis as doorways for learning and possibility. From the perspective of wholesome power, quality information, interconnection and conversation become the whole getting more in touch with more of itself and evolving into its next forms of wholeness.

Although individuals and groups can exercise wholesome power, wholesome power fundamentally lives within all living systems and can be called forth to do its work and then left to self-organize. Practitioners of wholesome power design and establish social and natural systems to enhance that self-organizing capacity in which participants serve the whole and the whole serves the participants.”

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