Updated: Mar 7
photo by Alana Sanborn, @WiseVoiceLifecoach
There's a call to dismantle and abolish systemic oppression and abuse of power in every system we participate in. The foundation of colonialism is held up by pillars of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, homophobia...
At the same time, many of us are working towards reclaiming our personal power, shifting from the state of disempowered to empowered. These very systems were engineered to keep us feeling disempowered. We have to dismantle the culturally conditioned patterns within ourselves. Sometimes, the way the oppressor distorts words and their meaning disrupt the process of reclaiming. Power.... is one of these words. We are often taught to fear our own power. I have witnessed so many people back away from their personal power, gifts and abilities because of how they perceive the cultural distortions of power (abuse of power). We have to reclaim language and meaning as well as the balanced, embodied meaning. Personal power. Personal authority. Agency. Sovereignty. Reclaiming these words free from distortions and free from cultural conditioning is an embodied act. A few weeks ago, I felt so high after a session with an amazing human. I was buzzing with the joy and.... the power we co-created. My power as a healer. I was enjoying the buzz and knew I would ground it. I also came to a fork in the path. The old path was calling me to be afraid and worried about being powerful: too much, too big. "That is dangerous and scary... you are dangerous, you could hurt someone", the old path wanted me to hear and believe. I said, "NO. I'm done with that path and those lies." This new path called me to feel and own my power. And, it asked me, "What is the anatomy of your power?" Ohhhhhhh..... let's ground this by naming what exactly it is made of: ~ the courage and ability to step into the unknown and unfold a process ~ the ability to be fully present with myself and in my body ~ the ability to be fully present with another ~ the ability to be fully present with and in Nature ~ deep listening.... and following ~ owning my knowing, wisdom and intuition ~ finding my voice and speaking ~ being authentic, vulnerable and loving ~ creating and holding space for all this in another to blossom and open and open and open. Then, it hit me: that's nothing for me to be afraid of. Who IS afraid of that? The oppressor is afraid of my/our medicine and power. I am no longer afraid of my gifts, abilities and power.
Also, in recent weeks, I took a few trips down memory lane. The times and places I spent in communities that had not healed this hurt. They weren't ready to dismantle cultural patterns both personal and collective. The untended wounds caused hurt in these places and spaces.
In one community, everyone's gifts were held hostage. Individual's gifts were unable to be given and unable to be received. Locked up, held hostage. Opportunities for healing and transformation were missed.
Resmaa Menakem speaks of clean pain and dirty pain. Disempowered places create cycles of dirty pain, repeating patterns, feeling stuck, avoiding, passing on harm. Empowered places provide space, support for clean pain. The pain expressed, witnessed and processed that translates into growth and healing, shifts in patterns, reclamation of new and re-membered ways of being.
In the process of reclaiming my power, I am careful and aware of what places and spaces I participate in. If it lacks alignment, I step back. If there is alignment and resonance, I step in. I build my capacity to hold onto my personal resonance and clarity of my stance in all spaces.
This important work of building cultural stamina, emotional capacity to hold discomfort and expansion tolerance (capacity for being seen, being as big as we are and receiving!) is embodied work. Coming home to our Self, our authenticity and all our gifts, abilities and power.