Where's the power at?

I can't decide if that's exactly the title that I want to use or not - I could have said: Who's got the power?  Or maybe something more ethereal like "Empowering the Self in the 21st Century".

What I need to write about is personal power - authority - the way our words, our speech, literally create the lives that we live.

It hit me the other day in the shower as I was mulling over a problem I was having (and of course I have no idea now what that problem was).  I "stepped back" mentally and watched some of the thoughts swimming around in my head and that was when I asked myself a seemingly obvious question: how powerless do I sound right now?  Who am I giving my power to?  Why?  What would me getting some of that power back look/feel/sound like?  Based on this shift, this new frame of reference, I took a look again at the "problem" and realized that the solution was right there waiting for me.

Another example.  My parents love the Angus Barn in Raleigh.  If you're not from central North Carolina you'll think that heading over for dinner at the Angus Barn must be some sort of hick, Southern thing, when - in fact - you'd be wrong.  It's actually a quite nice place - and on the expensive side of things.

Anyways - my parents have decided to celebrate large moments in my and my sister's life at the Angus Barn for the past few years.  About 6 or 7 months ago we were all sitting down to eat when I noticed that my mom seemed really distracted.  I pocked and prodded a bit and eventually she shared that she was worrying about an interaction with a colleague - an ongoing relationship really - that she could just not let go of.  As I listened to my mom tell her story about how she felt like she had been taken advantage of by her peer, how her trust had been broken, how she didn't know what to do, how she wasn't sure whether to talk to her about it (and my sister cheered her on and integrated her own stories of feeling "abused" by her colleagues) - I did the same thing I did with my own internal banter - I took a step back and tried to hear/feel where my mom's power was at.

My mom was speaking from a place of absolutely no power, whatsoever.  Can you see it? (If you can't, please let me know so I can clarify.)

After letting her process for a little while longer, I thought for a moment and asked her one question: "Mom - can you hear how powerless you are right now?"

The table fell silent - but not in a bad way.  It was a knowing silence, a pregnant silence.

I don't remember exactly what happened next, and to be honest I'm not sure what happened with my mom and her colleague.  I would love to quote some radical discovery that my mom made that night at the table, but I imagine that after a few moments the table conversation turned to a lighter topic.

My sharing of the story is meant to provide another example of exploring where our and those around us' relationship is to our integrity, authenticity, and ultimately... our authority. (What horrible grammar in that sentence!)

When we step back and let our thoughts (or our words, or the words of others) just be - we are usually able to check the power levels.  And when we catch a glimpse of them - it usually only takes a few moments - it becomes easy to see how we sabotage ourselves sometimes by our thoughts and our language.

So. Increase your mindfulness. Speak your truth.  Let your life speak... powerfully.

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