Power is already present. It’s up to us to stop blocking its flow.
So often in life, it’s our ideas—our notions of who we are, who others should be, life’s inadequacies—that prevent power from flowing. When I reflect on empowerment, whether for myself or for others, it’s often about softening the grip I have on my own conceptions of how things should be and letting Love shine through.
Notions of Identity
We all have ideas about who we are. We might define ourselves as introverts or party girls; intellectuals or athletes; people who are sweet or short-tempered, strong-willed or frail. No one of these categories is inherently self-limiting. When applied effectively, the short-tempered woman may mold that tendency to evolve into an effective and efficient leader in a fast-paced industry; the frail woman may study her perceived weakness and blossom into a powerful healer who nurtures herself and others; the party girl may hone her networking skills to create exceptional opportunities for her community.
However, when we allow our self identities to lock us into rigid ways of being in the world, we forfeit opportunities for empowerment for ourselves and others. The party girl overlooks opportunities for meaningful connections; the introvert doesn’t speak up when her voice is needed; the accomplished athlete misses opportunities to help clumsy girls in learning to love physical play regardless of outcome; the sweet lady gets swindled through trusting someone who is unworthy of her trust.
Equally, we have ideas and expectations for loved ones, friends, and even strangers, and we get frustrated when they don’t meet our ideas of who they should be, what they should want, or how they should structure their lives. Too often, we struggle to make others fit into the boxes we’ve created for them, either with pointless internal monologues or with external arguments that we know will not have positive resolutions, draining our own power unnecessarily.
Notions of Circumstance
We also typically have ideas about what life should look like, perhaps a happy marriage with kids, a big house, a comfortable, well-paying job, a strong social network, and good health. The flip side of those ideas are the things we fear—losing our health, struggling to make ends meet, and dying alone, for example. And, following those two impulses, clinging to what we want, running from what we fear, can drain personal power. Too often, we run in both directions without assessing our own personal balance point, feeling stretched too thin without seeing the root cause.
Finding the Path of Empowerment
That we have ideas is not a problem. We are alive, we have minds, and so we have ideas. The key, from my perspective, is in not taking our ideas so seriously. When I let go of my own ideas of who I am, or how the world should be, I create space to allow myself to center on Love (or, Eternity, Source, Goddess, whatever conception speaks most closely to your heart). The question that I have found most valuable when attempting to uncover the path of greatest empowerment is “where is the path of greatest Love?” I find that the answer it is most directly encountered by, as much as I can, emptying myself of my own ideas of who I should be, how others should be, or how circumstances should be, and simply breathing… gently inviting intuition to reveal the path that leads to optimal beauty, expansion, and peace — empowerment for myself, and for others. For me, it is valuable to visualize different paths when I have a choice to make, and to tap into my visceral reaction to the outcomes of different choices. Often, but not always, it’s the path that creates the most fear for me that shines brightest: when I allow myself to truly experience the fear while letting go of the ideas (the stories) that underlie the fear, I feel fear melt away into Love, and I gratefully perceive my next step.