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The midday sky darkened and a fierce rain fell with such ferocity that drops bounced high after striking cars, the asphalt and cement. Massive clouds rumbled and groaned. White hot lightning went on and off like a loose bulb in an old ceiling fixture. A small dog known to spend his days longing to be out walking was shown an open door but turned his head. It had been a hot, humid summer but now wind and rain were bringing relief in a display of massive natural power.

Power. We all have it and we all exercise it, albeit most of us remain unaware. A woman fusses over her hair; a man polishes his car; an executive sits stone faced while underlings offer up the fruits of their labor; a teacher marks up a student’s work in red ink; a bureaucrat sends threatening letters to delinquent taxpayers; a cop pulls over a motorist; a soulless tech platform vaporizes a user who expresses unapproved thoughts; a troubled youth in a passing car sprays his neighbors with bullets. We relentlessly exert power over one another. Sometimes subtly, other times brutally.

Overt expressions of power are obvious: war, slavery, violent crime, bullying. But the underpinnings of power can go undetected. These precursors remain hidden behind smiles, ideologies, public policies and language designed to conceal. In war we have casualties, not murdered people. When a train derails we have a spill, not the poisoning of an entire community. Sometimes the violent language is embraced as in the government’s war on drugs or war on poverty. The media is fond of writing about people being hit with fines or slapped with charges.

What makes the exertion of power possible is our acceptance that we are means to someone else’s ends. For example, many believe it is their purpose to earn a living and support a family. So, they submit to a role at a job and become a means to the company’s end. They also succumb to the expectations of supervisors, spouses, children, neighbors, the church congregation and so on. In turn, they harbor expectations of everyone else. We give, ever mindful of what we expect to gain. We keep track of what we invest and receive, hoping to strike a balance or gain a profit. And we hate to lose. There’s a hidden contract we sign wearing a blindfold.

Everyone knows this, at least on a subconscious level. We feel the net of obligation as it closes in on us year after year. We feel the cheapening of our value as we realize it is founded on what others can derive from us. When people have no further use for us, we are cast aside, fired, divorced, forgotten, neglected and left to fade into obscurity. See the elderly? Well, perhaps you can’t observe them so readily because they are languishing in adult homes, many under a heavy regime of medications. Some have no visitors, despite having devoted their breath, blood and sweat to their loved ones. They are no longer fit, sexy or entertaining. They can no longer take us out for ice cream or to a movie or on a vacation. They are of little use in a world where we are reduced to being a way for others to get what they need or want.

Reality can be harsh. But beauty exists amidst brutality. Even in the worst internment camps, blades of grass grew and the songs of birds could be heard. Billionaires and powerful elites seek a new world order. Every year they gather to discuss grand schemes for humanity. Their plans offer nothing more than a continuation of what already exists. The difference is they hope to be treated as ends in themselves while relegating the rest of humanity as their pawns. A true revolution begins inside each of us and will start as, one by one, we realize each of us is an end. A new world order requires a new fundamental basis from which we no longer treat one another as a thing from which we hope to get something.

Founders f the United States were onto the necessity of this philosophical shift. They sought a new paradigm in which citizens were not reduced to means to whatever ends their government sought. They declared everyone was a unique creation – each an end in themselves who must be left free to pursue life, liberty and happiness. Rights emanated from their Source, from their very being, not from a monarch or government. They sought to restrict government to the role of protecting the sacred rights of the sacred individual.

Until we begin to see ourselves as the goal of Creation, as the reason this magnificent planet spins in this otherwise uninhabitable universe, we will accept our value as determined by a demeaning social marketplace. Our value will fluctuate as we get thin or heavy, as we age, as we earn more or less, as our job titles change. We will seek validation by posting selfies of our every meal, vacation or milestone. This insecurity will be taken advantage of by those who own the platforms and cull information about us to sell us goods or to sell us out to the power hungry.

Let us now resolve to see ourselves as infinitely more than we have been taught. Let us find our value within. Look at the sunrise and know it rises for you. Listen to the thunder and understand it testifies to the power you possess. Taste your meal and savor how sweetly this Earth was made for your enjoyment. Let the laughter of children remind us of that joyful essence alive and well in our hearts. Let us each find our unshakeable value, derived from our Source, from our very being. Let us be unstoppable.

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