Monthly Archives: February 2015

Authentic Power: Week 6 2015

Power is a loaded term. Perhaps more confusing and misunderstood than any of the other virtues I’ve contemplated thus far. We tend to regard power in terms of having power over something or someone. This sense of personal superiority is distinct from true power. It’s very life force is premised upon needing someone to be inferior so it can express its power over it. This, of course, is the ego’s method of overcompensating for its own sense of inferiority. Truly authentic power knows no comparison. It is not derived from being more than anyone else. It is derived from knowing ourselves at the depth of our being.

I’ve chosen to write about authentic power because it’s something that in all honesty has been somewhat of an internal struggle to fully realize. And I feel compelled to share this because it’s when I’m unabashedly honest that I feel most powerful, most real. It would be easy to write or teach yoga from a false platform of pretend power. I can say something wise or invoke charisma to seem powerful. But I’m not interested in seeming powerful anymore. I’m interested in being powerful. I’m interested in being real.

And in it’s most real sense, power is a virtue I’ve had to discover through necessity. Through feeling powerless. What I’m speaking of is not necessarily powerlessness in my capacity to be productive or to affect change. I’m talking about the conversation we are having with ourselves. The one we are rarely bold enough to reveal to the world. I’m talking about giving more power to what I know as truth, within the very moments of emotional obliteration. It’s easy to feel powerful in the moments where I feel my life flowing. But I’m interested in bolstering my power in those moments I’m triggered emotionally, where my false story re-emerges and I feel panic or anxiety or deep sadness. To claim my truth in those moments- that’s my yoga practice. That is truly powerful.

And here’s what I’ve realized: for so many years when I’ve felt that silent anxiety begin to rush through me and waves of darkness take over, I would believe it was real. I would derive my sense of self from my depleted emotional state. And I would become guarded- even if no one could tell. Concealing our sense of powerlessness is something we can get good at.

But what I’ve come to see is that guardedness never fulfills it’s intended function. Guardedness does not protect- it stifles our growth. The true force that prevents us from being overcome by powerlessness is truth itself. It is standing in the remembrance of who we are beyond our bodies, our possessions, our jobs, our roles, our beliefs and our emotions. It is standing in the remembrance of Self, of being, where power flows naturally not from us but through us. If we dig deep enough to know who we are at a root level, we will come to know the true meaning of authentic power.

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Autonomy: Week 5 2015

I think of autonomy as our individuated sense of self along with the personal responsibility we carry for our emotional states. This is a biggie. On a personal level, learning to reclaim my autonomy has been one of the most liberating practices I’ve encountered. And my sense is that it’s a biggie for many of us. Precisely because we give it up so unconsciously. Once we’ve realized we’ve lost it, we come to see that we’ve been operating in the pain paradigm.

The tricky part is we tend to lose it in the “good times”. Like what we call falling in love. An often unconscious process of trading in our sense of me for a sense of we. For awhile there is the me & you stage but then comes the fully enmeshed “us” stage. And we feel higher than the clouds. At this point, we are trapped because we will cling to not losing that high (premised upon the affection of another) or we will cling to wanting it back once it’s gone (premised upon the loss of affection of another). Been there? I have. And it’s painful as you know. Ultimately we must come to realize that we are not defined by someone else’s love for us and likewise we are not defined by someone else not loving us.

We are responsible for our own happiness. We are responsible for our own lives. Each of us is a brilliant light. It’s up to us to claim it as ours. It need not be validated by anyone else. It’s yours. But you can share it with whomever you wish. And you can honor the light in others. But please, please do not unconsciously make your light dependent upon another’s feelings for you. Yes, the light shares a common source of which we are all a part. But our individuality remains in tact.

Spirituality is not a process of getting rid of our individual self. Rather, it is the process of experiencing your individuality from the expanded basis of an underlying unity. If the embrace of unity squashes our individuality then that’s called co-dependency.

A friend recently told me she exchanged the word relationship for the word relatedness. I love this. May each of is exist in relatedness to eachother so that our autonomy remains in tact. This will not weaken our bonds. Conversely, it will bring to them greater freedom, less fear & attachment, more peace and the possibility for truly authentic love.