Revolutionary Leadership: From Power-Over To Power-With

August 6, 2020

By Anne-Marie Marron, CPS Partnership Community

As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, violence, greed, and hierarchical systems of power-over are being exposed in more direct ways.

George Floyd’s murder is another powerful wake up call illuminating the coercion, superiority, and racism that live in our fear-based systems.

Humanity is waking up to the harsh reality that we live in a world run by systems of domestication and power-over.

We live in a time when the shadows reflected through hierarchical systems of power-over and domination are being exposed. This trickling effect of power-over tactics has caused a dangerous form of domestication, oppression, repression of personal power, marginalization, disembodiment, and fear-based striving through consuming and accumulating.

How do we, individually and collectively:

  • challenge and dismantle the systems that seek to reinforce domestication?
  • take responsibility for how the oppression has innocently been turned into specific forms of personal repression, high states of anxiety, depression, anger, and aggression towards others or ourselves?
  • cultivate the inner stillness necessary to express our power and creativity with integrity, love, and unfettered passion?

Apprenticing To The Unknown
We are living in a cauldron of uncertainty together. This is a dark night of the soul for humanity, and it holds the potential to go in a myriad of directions.

Surrendering into a dark night invites us to pivot away from our own self-preservation, and towards what is happening to us, as a whole. And yes, it can feel painful and overwhelming to gaze into reality this closely.

The unknown is where we dynamically birth aspects of ourselves, and deconstruct parts that we’ve outgrown, over and over again.

To rebirth and innovate, we are called to surrender to, and release, what no longer serves us.

To surrender is to take responsibility for how we consciously choose, even in the midst of paradoxes and fears. It’s a pivot away from helpless submission and into empowered surrender.

This pause is providing us with an opportunity to reevaluate and engage in honest conversations with ourselves.

There is no better time to stop all the busyness — even if we have a lot to do — and be honest about what needs our attention the most.

This is a time to make space to draw upon the skills of our intuition, patience, attunement, and wisdom of the heart to guide our next actions.

This is our time to investigate pockets where we’ve been enduring or repressing our desires, or compromising our authentic expressions to maintain conditioned ‘shoulds.’

Or exposing ways we are hiding behind our privileges or keeping quiet when the world needs our voice and passionate hearts.

This is a time to evaluate, with an earnest heart, how our collective habits of consuming, accumulating, and living in systems of hierarchical orders are the cause of great suffering — not just for humans, but for all of life.

Together, we have the opportunity to shed old skins in order to make room for new ways of being, creating, and loving.

There are droves of brave, wise and revolutionary beings who are deconstructing power-over systems by going within and reaching towards the lonely, exiled parts of themselves that long to be integrated back into the wholeness of being.


What Is Power-Over?
Power-over is a global phenomenon of destructive and un-integrated forms of power.

Whether we’re looking at governmental institutions, corporations, or social organizations, any systems built on structures of power-over are based on dominance.

These hierarchical structures seek to create conformity through polarization, shame, and fear. Power-over tactics often develop into acts of violence, greed, entitlement, discrimination, and war against each other and ourselves.

Sometimes, we have to dig deep to see how we’re slipping into power-over against ourselves and with others.

We know it’s power-over when agendas are enforced through non-consensual means. When boundaries are violated, trust and safety are shattered. On an interpersonal level, power-over can be expressed as aggressive and controlling or subtle sarcastic digs and passive-aggressive behaviors.

Humanity is going through a collective hero/heroine’s journey. We’re teetering on the edge of a mass liberation from the oppressing stronghold of power-over systems on our minds, hearts, and souls

Each one of us has the power to contribute to a mass tipping point — a paradigm shift that can occur if humanity can raise its consciousness and choose a new way of operating.

This heroic path is what will yield the embodied power and love needed to liberate humanity from a disembodied existence based on fear, scarcity, and narcissism.

It’s not our fault that we’ve been conditioned by our environment. But to heal our greater systems, we need to acknowledge how power-over is equally alive within us, each in our unique way.

What Is Power-With?
Power-with is a consensual and integrated expression of power. Power-with is founded upon a commitment to conscious leadership through self-awareness and personal responsibility.

When engaging in power-with, we’re attuned to the way our decisions impact the whole. We listen to a larger field of wisdom to guide our choices.

Signature influences of power-with reside in the art of love, presence, listening, befriending our shadow, embracing the unknown, accessing the wisdom of our intuition, patience, cultivating magic, and seeing beyond illusions.

We’re each responsible for creating the quality of connection that we seek by owning our experience, sharing our needs, desires, and boundaries in an open-hearted way.

The art of power-with is about releasing patterns of defensiveness, and instead, taking responsibility for our vulnerability.

We can look at three key components that set the tone and quality of our connection with ourselves and others:

  1. Self: Our relationship to ourselves
    How do we meet ourselves when we feel vulnerable, fearful, defensive, or powerless?
    The more self-aware we are about how we operate — both our superpowers and our kryptonite — the more conscious choice we have to create harmony instead of dissonance.

Taking personal responsibility for our feelings, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable they may feel, is what deepens self-acceptance and gives us the freedom to choose the kind of relationships we want to cultivate from the inside-out.

  1. Interpersonal: Our relationship to others
    How do we show up with one another when we have differences, when our needs are not being met, or when we feel scared of rejection, failure, or abandonment?

The quality of presence we bring to each interaction, including our ability to share authentically, listen with an open-heart of curiosity, clarify to seek understanding and check assumptions, is how we deepen trust, safety, and create harmony — even when we have differences and disappointments one another.

  1. System: Our relationship to life — to larger systems, plants, animals, minerals, life forms, and the planet herself
    We’re in an ongoing relationship with life itself. How do we relate to the larger organism we’re all a part of — the planet and all the inhabitants here? Do we protect those who are oppressed, or turn our heads in denial of misuses of power? Do we feel a sense of belonging, purpose, and joyful responsibility? Do we feel inspired to share our gifts with the world?

We each have a voice in the larger conversation — be it political, social, or spiritual. How do we express it — from fear or love?

Power-With: Shifting To Integrated Power
To integrate is to unify separate things. An integrated leader is the biggest change agent on the planet.

Integrated power is the full expression of our essence, including our heart, intuition, and presence of being. It takes practice to be in our full presence, aware and attuned to power dynamics.

In contrast, unintegrated power takes over when we’ve forgotten we have a body and get caught in our thoughts, assumptions, or anxiety patterns, thrusting us away from the quiet presence within. When we’re checked out or activated, we’re in a state of fear.

When we feel under threat, it becomes harder to trust ourselves, and our reactivity and protective mechanisms take the lead.

Power resides within our vulnerability. It lives in the moments when we courageously take a step back and see things as they are, even when it’s not how we want them to be. To stop resisting is to learn to surrender and listen for what is possible, instead of railing against what is and attempting to force change before it’s time.

We lose power when we relinquish our inner authority to something or someone outside ourselves. When we attempt to fit into the cultural and social standards of who we “should be,” we dismantle the potency of our personal medicine. These choices result in forfeiting our sovereignty and an embodied remembering of our wholeness.

We reclaim our power when we welcome exiled parts of ourselves back home. When we reintegrate the fragments of our vulnerability and innocence that live in the shadows of our awareness, often bound by shame, fear, or control.

Revolutionary Leadership
Fortunately, amidst antiquated systems of power-over, there are droves of brave, wise and revolutionary beings who are deconstructing power-over systems by going within and reaching towards the lonely, exiled parts of themselves that long to be integrated back into the wholeness of being.

Integrated leaders are revolutionary guides who walk into the unknown because the known and predictable paths are no longer enough. They curate the artistry of being open-minded, curious and compassionate.

They take personal responsibility for their personal influence on the environment — starting from the inside out. Self-awareness and personal responsibility come together to form a revolutionary and embodied expression of integrated power.

Everyone is a leader. The way we care for our bodies, welcome our emotions, embrace our dreams, and track our reactive patterns of protection and control all contribute to how we lead and love.

Sourcing our authentic power from within is one of the most influential leadership legacies of our modern times.

A Collective Movement From Power-Over To Power-With
How are these current day protests and movements related to racism, and the oppression of large populations of people, pointing us towards the opportunity to shift from power-over to power-with?

During this time of revolutionary push-back towards systems of power-over, it’s clear that no one has any definitive answers, and we’re collectively living in the looming shadow that humanity has been fueling and creating for decades through excessive industrialization, consumerism, capitalistic greed and oppression.

What will we learn during this time about the art of surrendering into the unknown, while simultaneously engaging in active expressions of being, listening, and tapping into the intelligence of our expanded self rather than our limited rational minds?

We don’t always have all the answers when we want them. However, we can live into the questions one courageous choice at a time. Do we want to solve these complex issues through fear and self-preservation, or through the embodiment of our whole-being wisdom?

Are we at the brink as a species? How will we shift into a collective movement from separation into wholeness — or is it too late? Is it possible for a tipping point in consciousness to occur and shift us away from extinction?

Mother Earth and all of her species have been struggling from the overgrowth of the human population. For decades, we’ve continued to spread into indigenous people’s homes, and wild creatures’ habitats, in order to support our fossil fuel consumption.

Thousands of species a day are being forced into extinction through ocean temperatures rising, causing accelerating diseases and mercury-poisoning in the sea life. Contaminated soils from pesticides have made their way into the majority of our food sources — which affects ALL beings on the planet. Waters are being polluted by chemical companies and human waste, while toxins in the atmosphere are causing a destructive greenhouse effect, which has resulted in extreme imbalances in the biosphere.

The human psyche needs a radical reset from the hierarchical structures of power-OVER to the generative and life-affirming expressions of power-WITH.

It’s time to gather trusted allies who will help us to expose the unconscious ways that we contribute to disharmony in our relationship to ourselves, one another, and the whole of life.

Anne Marie Marron integrates feminine principles into her work as an organizational leadership coach; her organizational consulting business is Revealing Wisdom, The Path of Primal Leadership and personal leadership development business is


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Ken Robson Reply

    “and we’re collectively living in the looming shadow that humanity has been fueling and creating for decades through excessive industrialization, consumerism, capitalistic greed and oppression.

    What will we learn during this time about the art of surrendering into the unknown, while simultaneously engaging in active expressions of being, listening, and tapping into the intelligence of our expanded self rather than our limited rational minds?”

    I think that as a concept this works well but in reality will take decades or millenniums to finally realize. You are talking about a power shift to kindness which fear and greed will never allow. I dont even know you but I feel so much love right now. I wish that on a personal level this works so that it may one day spread like a virus and infect us for good not bad or kill us. A virus that saves the planet. Is this my calling to follow you? I frightens me to think we can all live in a world full of kind leadership.

  2. Jade Reply

    What an incredible article! It stirs new questions for me, while filling me with hope and passion for these complex times full of opportunity.

    Anne-Marie, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wise guidance with such radical honesty and devotion.

    I feel inspired to trust in my ability to be a revolutionary leader, starting with my inner world and the dynamics of my every day life, and expanding into the larger story we are all a part of.

    I’ll be dreaming of, and participating into creating a world of love, interconnectedness, and power-with.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *