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Karen Stewart retired in October 2021 after more than 40 years of practicing psychol-ogy. She cares deeply about this planet and all of the people on it, especially the margin-alized, social excluded and disenfranchised. She believes we are all one and we sink or swim together. She still has something to say. She can be contacted at:


The Power of Love

By Karen Stewart, MA

Karen Stewart, MA

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”
Jimi Hendrix

These words have been on my mind for days now. They have become a sort of mantra: “May the power of love overcome, may the power of love overcome, may the power of love overcome.” I had been searching for a brief way of articulating my hope in this very troubled and yet beautiful world and for now, this phrase is it.

This is the revolution I want. This is the shift in consciousness that I hope will come to pass. I believe as Martin Luther King, Jr., said “I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems.” Only love will allow us to bring about a global peace that is not just the absence of war, but a global peace based on caring for each other and the world. Only love will enable us to take the actions we need to do what we can to save this beautiful planet and make a world where there is peace, justice, and fairness.

More from Martin Luther King, Jr.:

This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for men [and I would say simply ALL people]. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept so readily dismissed…as a weak and cowardly force, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man [humanity]. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response which is little more than emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”

Time to End Silence, 1967.

The power of love is the basis of the nonviolent way of life that MLK, Jr., lived and preached. Love was what enabled him to live through threats to his family’s lives. Love enabled marchers to encounter violent policemen, firehoses, and dogs. Love enabled the people in sit-ins to withstand the taunts and violence of white people. Those incredibly brave and loving acts ultimately brought this country to pass civil rights legislation to begin to protect the lives and rights of Black People in this country. Living and acting in the power of love isn’t easy, but the rewards are great.

Overcoming the Love of Power

I have wondered about the phrase “overcoming the love of power.” Power isn’t inherently wrong. Love without power is a “sentimental and weak response which is little more than emotional bosh.” Power based in love is creative, healing, and generative. Unfortunately, much of the power we see being wielded today is based in fear and greed and is corrosive, harmful, and destructive. Nowhere is that clearer than in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it is operating everywhere and it exists within us.

Another phrase that comes to mind is “Let peace begin with me.” Fear and greed exist within me and easily influence my actions. Calling for the power of love to overcome, starts within me. I must be more aware and mindful of the violence that exists within me, and in interactions with others. I must be aware of my own fear and greed and other negative emotions and how they influence me. I need to listen to that small voice that always prompts me to do the right thing, but which I can so easily ignore.

ne last quote from MLK, Jr., about listening to that still small voice that prompts us to do right: “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” Fear, greed and hatred wound our souls while love heals and empowers us.

The world has rallied to support the people of Ukraine and it has brought to mind a quote from Dwight Eisenhower that I have always loved: “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people will want peace so much that one of these days, governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

May that come to pass.