Downed power lines after windstorm 2015 in Spokane/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFāVS

Restoring power

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By John Hancock

Got power?

In Spokanese, that means, “has your electricity come back on?”

Electrical service has not yet been restored to a few thousand of the 206,000 customers whose wires were damaged by high winds last week, in spite of heroic efforts by the now more than 100 chilly crews working round the clock.

Where does your power come from? Avista? Divine Spark? Nutritional supplements? A corner office on the top floor? Birth order? Power tie? Head the your household? Holy Spirit? House on the hill?  Personal assistant?

We’ve been reminded now, in Spokane, in November, how important electricity is for our comfort, security, entertainment, sanitation, communication, and food.

But people with power beyond electricity may be most durable when the lights go out.  The “preppers”, which include me in some respects, have anticipated electrical outage. They’ve prepared equipment, strategy, supplies, and networks to minimize family disruption of systems we take for granted.  And it’s very heartening to hear the extent of compassion and neighborliness among people who may not have known each other before the storm.  Power sharing between these haves and have-nots seems far more extensive and effective than what our government public services agencies can provide.  Networks of people, practicing old-fashioned virtues, have kept our city alive.

When the lights go out, where do such networks get their power?

I believe that each of us is born with tremendous power. It’s inherent in our human selves. Efforts of chemistry, biology, physiology, etc., provide their own explanations. Religion and metaphysics add their own definitions.  I like Joseph Campbell’s version of power-discovery in “Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

It’s not always easy to feel or to sustain.  We can lose our grip as a result of both internal and external circumstances of insignificance or disappointment.

Or the sure suffering-inducers of joblessness, divorce, addictions, or parenthood.

Both kinds of powerlessness, inner and outer, afflict me all the time.  When I dwell there, I feel less healthy, less useful, and less hopeful.

But I can restore the power myself. My tools are relationship, empathy, mindfulness, counting my blessings, generosity, giving thanks, and taking a walk.  This power source is wholly in me, not subject to government regulation, bad weather, supply chain durability, or failure to upgrade my software.  I’m thankful today, and every day, for such independence, as the Declaration of Independence describes to me as, “endowed by our creator . . .”

John Hancock

About John Hancock

John Hancock had a first career as a symphony orchestra musician and was a faculty member at University of Michigan. He has advanced degrees in music performance from Boston University and U.M.

Arts management was his way of problem-solving and expanding the public participation. He was orchestra manager of the Toledo Symphony, executive director of the Spokane Symphony and the Pasadena Pops and chief operating officer of the Milwaukee Symphony.

Currently he’s an Eagle Scout, a Rotarian, a liberal libertarian of an Iowa small-town self-sufficiency and was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. A childhood Methodist, he now instead pursues ideas of commonality among religions and philosophies.

Volunteerism in civic, political and social services work draws him to town from his forest home outside Spokane. Since 2006, his Deep Creek Consulting has aided non-profit organizations in grantwriting and strengthbuilding.

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