Power with Heart News - February 2015
Right Use of Power Institute

Right Use of Power

power with heart news

February 2015

Dear <<First Name>>!

Colorado is blanketed with a gorgeous coat of snow today. At our RUPI office, Amanda has more than doubled her hours and is now officially the Institute's Administrative Director.  This frees Cedar up to spend more time working on the 10th anniversary edition of Right Use of Power:  The Heart of Ethics containing updates and new thinking.
As I put together newsletters, I find that the idea of power as the ability to have an effect or to have influence, and the idea of right use of power as using this ability wisely and well, can embrace many issues and themes.

We hope you will enjoy this issue of Power With Heart News.

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:
  • Using Power Well by Reynold FeldmanReading time  5 minutes
    This month, we have an excerpt from Ren's  forthcoming book and education for the whole person, called Terranautics 101: It is about right use of power as a skill needed to navigate the future.
  • Reminder about upcoming workshops
  • CE Credit Hours for RUP mini-courses.
  • Featured Guild MemberNatalie Collins, RUPI Guild Member in the UK, is interviewed on the BBC Nightly News talking about her protest of the movie, 50 Shades of GreyWatching time - 5 minutes
  • Beauty is Power by Heather Starsong. Reading time - 2 minutes
    "Beauty is power. Big time. Especially in our culture that places such an emphasis on it. Being physically beautiful can get a person a job, a lover, admiration, validation, and open doors that are closed to the less physically attractive," says Heather Starsong.  In this article, she explores how to use the power of beauty well.  Find more of her blogs at
  • A Ted Talk:  Laura Boushnak:  For these women, reading is a daring act. Listening time - 5 minutes. Laura photographs and interviews brave women who take grave risks to get educated.  They are part of a growing group of women who are gaining more of their birth-right power.
  • Straight Talk for White Men, by Nicholas Kristof. Reading time - 4 minutes. This article relates to new studies of the power of status.  Kristof says "evidence is overwhelming that unconscious bias remains widespread in ways that systematically benefit both whites and men. So white men get a double dividend, a payoff from both racial and gender biases."  Kristof advocates "acknowledging systematic bias as a step toward correcting it.

Earn CEUs at Home

Would you like to go into more depth with any of the Right Use of Power topics?  Taking a mini-course is a way to get more information and self-reflect.  Each mini-course includes reading material, self-study practices, and some questions to respond to.  If you can't get to a workshop, this is a good way to engage more personally.  Try one.

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

Workshops & Trainings

Providence, Rhode Island

Right Use of Power: Ethics with Heart
March 20, 2015

Presented by Cedar Barstow
Click here for more information

Hailey, Idaho

The Heart of Ethics in Community
April 26, 2015

Presented by Carrie Thomas Scott, M.A., LCPC
Click here for more information


Siler City, North Carolina

Right Use of Power
May 8, 2015

Presented by Julia Corley, LMBT
Click here for more information

Boulder, Colorado

Right Use of Power Workshop:
July 25-26, 2015 (Saturday/Sunday)

Facilitator's Training:
July 27-28, 2015

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

Click here for more information
Reminder to Guild Members that you can re-take the training(s) for 50% discount at any time!  Great way to update your skills and increase your confidence. Just register and make the $100 deposit at


Featured Guild Member

Our guild member, Natalie Collins, was interviewed on BBC Newsnight on the topic of domestic abuse and the recently-released movie, Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Watch the inteview here.

Beauty is Power

by Heather Starstong

Beauty is power. Big time. Especially in our culture that places such an emphasis on it. Being physically beautiful can get a person a job, a lover, admiration, validation, and open doors that are closed to the less physically attractive.

My beloved friend Cedar Barstow has developed an extraordinarily insightful system of ethics that she calls “the right use of power.” She has founded an organization, Right Use of Power Institute, and trained many teachers nationally and internationally in her work. She expresses the essence of right use of power thus: “Power guided by loving concern for the well being of all . . . Power directed by heart. Heart infused with power.”

It is not hard to think of  misuses of the power of personal beauty. We hear of it all the time—manipulation, seduction, entitlement, domination, putting down one perceived to be less beautiful.

What then is the right use of the power of personal beauty? How can we use it to benefit others?

First of all we must let go of ego identification with our beauty, (see my recent blog, Beauty is Dangerous,) then humbly receive it as a gift.

I was walking around Wonderland Lake a few days ago with Cedar, brainstorming on this question. A little girl in bright pink slacks whizzed by on her scooter, blond hair flying, little body light and lively, swift, graceful motion. My heart lifted. I turned to share a smile with Cedar.

In the same way my heart lifts when I see the shining eyes of my grandchildren. Or when I go to a tango dance and delight in the beautiful clothes the dancers are wearing and the grace and precision of their movement.

We have an expression “eye candy.” The sight of a handsome man or a beautiful woman is sweet.

Beauty delights, and one right use of its power is to let it shine.

But there is a deeper question. What is beauty really?

Is it a culturally approved shape of nose, eyes, lips, body? I think not. That is fashion. Fashion changes all the time, and in my experience only occasionally aligns with beauty. I noticed, when I was studying fashion magazines to better understand this question, that most of the models looked sullen. It seems pouting is fashionable nowadays. But I do not think it is beautiful.

No matter what the shape of nose or body, people shine with beauty when they are happy or filled with enthusiasm.

This kind of beauty attracts, draws people to us. Then if we have something to share, if we are teachers, therapists, artists, or business people with a good idea, we have the opportunity to enrich the lives of those drawn to us because of our gift of personal beauty.

The give and take in such a situation creates connection. Those drawn to us appreciate us, and that appreciation opens us to give more freely. Connection is something we all long for. Shining and sharing in this way, is another right use of the power of beauty.

There is a deeper level still.

Read the rest of the article here.

Using Power Well

by Dr. Reynold Feldman

This excerpt from Terranautics 101:  The Basics for Navigating an Uncertain Future  deals with one of the most important abilities—and issues—in the whole book: the right use of power and influence. To be honest, this skillset has as much to do with being ethical as it does with being effective.  In March 2013 my wife, Cedar Barstow, and I brought out a co-authored book entitled Living in the Power Zone: How Right Use of Power Can Transform Your Relationships (Many Realms Publishing). This work was a lay-readership-oriented version of Cedar’s earlier, longer book, The Right Use of Power—The Heart of Ethics (Many Realms Publishing, 2008), subtitled A Resource for the Helping Professional. Both books are based on her two-decades-old work assisting both helping professionals and lay people to use their personal and role power wisely and well—work now being carried forward by the nonprofit Right Use of Power Institute in Boulder, Colorado (See for more on the Institute and its activities.). In the next few pages I shall try to summarize Cedar’s and my thinking on how to use power sensitively and wisely.

The basic assumption of this body of work is that power is value neutral. The word itself means simply the ability to have an effect or have influence. I think of horse power, that motive energy that can transport people from place to place or even into space and that can also be lethal. The second assumption is that if people are willing—a big if, I admit—virtually anyone can learn to use their power with greater wisdom, sensitivity, and skill. Cedar has in fact developed workshops of various lengths to help participants do just that; has taught those workshops, sometimes with my assistance, around the world; and has also trained more than 250 facilitators to teach Right Use of Power as well.

According to Cedar there are four types of power: personal, professional or role, status, and collective. There’s not much an individual can do about status power, although collectively over time statuses can change. An example of the latter is the Women’s Movement, which has raised the general status and social power of women in many countries. Whereas several generations ago, women were restricted to the German Three Ks (Kinder, Kueche, and Kirche; children, kitchen, and church), the United States may be on the threshold of having a female president, something Germany has had in Chancellor Merkel for a decade. Collective power, as in the Women’s Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and labor unionism, is based, meanwhile, on the united power of the many. As the Japanese proverb puts it, one stick is easily broken, but a dozen sticks bound together are not.

Read the rest of the article here.

Straight Talk for White Men

by Nicholas Kristof
in The New York Times

SUPERMARKET shoppers are more likely to buy French wine when French music is playing, and to buy German wine when they hear German music. That’s true even though only 14 percent of shoppers say they noticed the music, a study finds.

Researchers discovered that candidates for medical school interviewed on sunny days received much higher ratings than those interviewed on rainy days. Being interviewed on a rainy day was a setback equivalent to having an MCAT score 10 percent lower, according to a new book called “Everyday Bias,” by Howard J. Ross.

Those studies are a reminder that we humans are perhaps less rational than we would like to think, and more prone to the buffeting of unconscious influences. That’s something for those of us who are white men to reflect on when we’re accused of “privilege.”Continue reading the main storyRELATED IN OPINION

[Protesters face off with police outside the Ferguson Police Department on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.]

Thoughts on Race in AmericaNOV. 25, 2014

White men sometimes feel besieged and baffled by these suggestions of systematic advantage. When I wrote a series last year, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It,” the reaction from white men was often indignant: It’s an equal playing field now! Get off our case!

Yet the evidence is overwhelming that unconscious bias remains widespread in ways that systematically benefit both whites and men. So white men get a double dividend, a payoff from both racial and gender biases.

Consider a huge interactive exploration of 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors.comthat recently suggested that male professors are disproportionately likely to be described as a “star” or “genius.” Female professors are disproportionately described as “nasty,” “ugly,” “bossy” or “disorganized.”

One reaction from men was: Well, maybe women professors are more disorganized!

Read the rest of the article here.

Laura Boushnak: For these women, reading is a daring act

In some parts of the world, half of the women lack basic reading and writing skills. The reasons vary, but in many cases, literacy isn't valued by fathers, husbands, even mothers. Photographer and TED Fellow Laura Boushnak traveled to countries including Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia to highlight brave women — schoolgirls, political activists, 60-year-old moms — who are fighting the statistics.
Watch the video here.
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