Power with Heart News - May/June 2013
Right Use of Power Institute

Right Use of Power

power with heart news

September/October 2013

Greetings <<First Name>>!
Right use of power is alive and well, even though our September flood covered the RUPI office with a foot of water.  This newsletter has been delayed while we recover.  

Note: Try clicking "View it in your browser" link at the top of the email (above the header image). You will be able to translate the newsletter into various languages, share through Facebook, etc.

In this issue you will find:
  • An Article by Cedar Barstow on right uses of human power responding to the impact of flood-water power.  Reading time--2 minutes
  • An article by Daniel Goleman reflecting on the empathy gap that seems to accompany up-power roles.  His words provide an additional angle on the power paradox talked about in our books and programs.  Reading time--5 minutes.
  • Opportunity (link) to buy Cedar and Ren's new book:  Living in the Power Zone.  We think this is a "must read" for deepening your understanding of power and your commitment to using yours wisely and skillfully. Time to order--3 minutes.
  • A video from  This article describes another technique you can use when you’re in an up-power position to prevent harm to others.  Reading time--5 minutes
  • Another article by the "Ethics Guy," Bruce Weinstein, on bad people vs. bad actions.  This difference is related to the one between shame and guilt described in our books.  Reading Time--3 minutes
  • Reminder about getting CEUS for the RUP mini-course, Ethics as Soul Work.
  • Reminder about upcoming workshops.  January 25-28th are the dates for the next Facilitator's Training; it will take place in Boulder.

Earn CEUs at Home

Featured Mini-Course:
Soul Work and World Service

CE Hours =1
1 CEU (with book)
This is an obvious mini-course to highlight since it addresses the right uses of power that have been evident in the major flooding in Colorado recently.  The ethical response to community is one of service.  Service contributes to personal and soul growth and also releases the happiness and hope endorphins that elevate our spirits.  Learn more in this mini-course! 

There are many other CEU Mini-Courses that you can browse online.

Workshops & Trainings

Wauwatosa, WI 

Ethics as Right Use of Power

November 10, 2013

Presented by Kathy Ginn


Boulder, Colorado

Right Use of Power Workshop:
January 25-26, 2014

Facilitator's Training:
January 27-28, 2014

Presented by Cedar Barstow, M.Ed., C.H.T.

Contact: Cedar Barstow

Bad People vs. Bad Acts


"I've done some horrible things in my life," my friend told me over espresso the other day. He gave some examples, and I'll admit I was surprised.  "I guess that makes me a bad person."


It's crucial to distinguish bad persons from bad acts.  You have lived a rich, full life up to now, as have I, and I'm sure both of us wouldn't want our entire histories displayed for all to see.  But having engaged in a few, or even a lot, of ethically questionable, or downright unethical acts, doesn't mean we're awful human beings.

At least, not necessarily.

To call someone a bad person is to say that the sheer number of the nasty things that this person has done adds up to a less-than-flattering picture of who he or she is.  Or we're saying that that one or two wrongful acts were of such magnitude that this isn't someone we'd want to, well, have a coffee with.

The issue is as timely as today's news.  When Anthony Weiner declared in May that he was running for mayor of New York City, many folks said, "Well, I don't like what he did two years ago, but he makes a compelling case for having made some changes in his life, so I'm going to give him a second chance."

It turns out, though, that his troublesome behavior continued far beyond what he initially claimed, and for all we know, it hasn't stopped yet.

I'm not going so far as to call Mr. Weiner a bad person.  But I will say that we can reasonably question his character, because over and over, he makes choices that hurt others and himself.  As members of Mr. Weiner's (and my) religious tradition say, "Genug ist genug."  (Enough is enough.)

It is only because this former member of Congress has done the things he's done many times that we're entitled to question his character.

The takeaway is that when we're called upon to evaluate someone at work or beyond, it behooves us to focus on what he or she has done and resist the impulse to criticize who that person is.

In so doing, the person we're evaluating may very well cut us some slack when we're the ones under the microscope.

Read more articles from the Ethics Guy here

Rich People Just Care Less
By Daniel Goleman in The New York Times

Turning a blind eye. Giving someone the cold shoulder. Looking down on people. Seeing right through them.

These metaphors for condescending or dismissive behavior are more than just descriptive. They suggest, to a surprisingly accurate extent, the social distance between those with greater power and those with less — a distance that goes beyond the realm of interpersonal interactions and may exacerbate the soaring inequality in the United States.

A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention, like nodding or laughing. Higher-status people are also more likely to express disregard, through facial expressions, and are more likely to take over the conversation and interrupt or look past the other speaker.

To read the rest of the article click here


Right Uses of Power Shine Forth Through an Emergency

An Article by Cedar Barstow

"My barn burned down.  Now I can see the moon."

Sadly, the major flood in Boulder and a Connecticut-sized section of northern Colorado inundated the RUPI office and the entire finished downstairs of our house.  The power of water is a dramatic thing.  The automated phone call commanding us to “get to higher ground” sent us upstairs while we watched ourselves become an island with a small river surging through the front yard and another through the back.  Happily, there was no structural damage.  We were however overwhelmed by acts of kindness and right uses of power.  Much of Boulder was untouched, while in other neighborhoods houses were ripped in half.  During the last day of rain, ten neighbors were out with shovels and pick-axes trying to divert water away from our house before the second torrent arrived.  They just showed up.  Over three days, in fact, we counted 48 friends and neighbors who came to help rip out carpet and sheetrock, power-wash four inches of mud from the driveway, drag out dozens of soaking boxes of stored goods from a four-foot-high crawlspace, and spray vinegar to prevent the development of gravely problematic mold and mildew.  A woman unknown to us even came to our house with casserole, bread, and a bottle of wine.  She said, “I didn’t get any damage.  I drove by and saw you all working and thought, ‘What can I do?  I can cook.’  So I’ve brought you some dinner.  I’m sure that is the last thing you are thinking about right now.”  Her kindness to a stranger inspired a river of tears from me.  Finally, the FEMA inspector was compassionate and efficient, and within four days I received a financial grant deposited right into my checking account.  Even our too-often-dysfunctional government can often use its considerable power and resources wisely, quickly, and well.

I’m currently reading a very informative and insightful book by Mark Matousek:  Ethical Wisdom:  What Makes Us Good.  Doing research on this topic, Mark found was that “we feel an uplifting emotion when we find others behaving in virtuous ways.” He calls this emotion “elevation” and lists it as “among the more mysterious gifts of our mirror neuron system.”  He continues:  “The mere act of witnessing character, virtue, beauty, and truth tickles our vagus nerve, which stimulates oxytocin production and evokes in us, among other empathic behaviors, the desire to be better people living better lives.” (Matousek: page 66)  Perhaps you recognize this response, not just to emergencies, but when watching a movie, hearing a story, or reading a book about someone doing the right thing even when things seem hopeless or the odds are stacked.  Think of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life or the book Les Miserables.

I saw my theoretical definition of right use of power come to vibrant life in our community. I experienced individuals, even strangers, using their personal and professional power to help others heal from pain and trauma.  A group of acupuncturists, massage therapists, and body-workers set up a little clinic near our home and offered free sessions for anyone who had been affected by the flood.  (Ren and I took advantage of their generosity on the first day.)  I experienced power used to repair harm (in this case, to property) when friends and neighbors came by for a couple of hours at a time to help dig and rake our yard back toward order.  I experienced power used sensitively to deepen relationships as people worked together and showered us with empathy and good listening.  I experienced power used for the common good as individuals, organizations, churches, community groups, municipal agencies, national and other branches of government, road crews, helicopter rescue teams, police, firemen and women, the National Guard, and more came together to respond.  One anonymous person said to a friend, "Please give these $100 bills out to people you know who might need them."

This experience of the power of water, professional skills, people working together, governmental resources and expertise, and human resilience and heroism will continue to nourish Ren, me, and many of our fellow Coloradans as a deep, good well of memories that we can draw on when we experience future misuses of power.  I pass this story on to you so that you may benefit from it also.


Read more articles by Cedar here

One Easy Thing All White People Could Do That Would Make The World A Better Place

An Article from by Rafael Casal

A Safeway clerk screwed up big time, but these two women handled it perfectly. Further proof that one person can have a huge impact.

Watch the video here

Quote of the Month

"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage -- pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically -- to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside."     
-- Stephen Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"

Living in the Power Zone

A New Book by Cedar Barstow and Reynold Feldman

Is this the right book for you?
  Very likely - this is a book about right uses of power for everyone. It is a practical how-to book that will help you understand and successfully navigate the rapids of real-world relationship and organizational power; in short, to live in the Power Zone.

You can get 2 books for $25 - Get one for you AND a friend!  Single books are $15 plus S&H.  ORDER YOURS HERE
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