Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reclaiming Your Power: Tips and Techniques on the Spiritual Path

I felt like there was more to say around reclaiming your power since my last blog post, and I wanted to talk more about what it is going to take to stand up for yourself. This is a powerful healing for the third chakra--home to your personal power. This is your inner fire and where you can strike out into any endeavor in the world. However, the point is to cultivate this fire, not to burn the house down. The fire needs to be cultivated within first to burn away the thought patterns inhibiting your growth and separating you from your authentic personal power. The idea is to not pick fights and arguments. There may be selective places where you have to strongly stand up for yourself, but you will exhaust yourself if you are always fighting and fall into the other side of the power spectrum as an abuser.

Authentic Personal Power
This is your right to stand in your truth and to act decisively for what is right for you. I've noticed a lot of women trying to reclaim their personal power, but unfortunately, many of them have been picking up right where men left off. Women's rights has galvanized women in the U.S. and led them to take on new roles in society. This, in many respects, is an important part of the spiritual path. Women are balancing their energy systems with being able to provide for themselves and make accomplishments in the world. Subsequently, the challenge for men is to come to terms with their hearts and feelings.

However, as I've talked about in my Authentic Male Energy blog post, a lot of what has been labeled as "male" is just really messed up ego. As women emulate men, many of them are taking on increasingly skewed warrior/competitive energy. It's not a pretty sight. Women think they have to become "bitches" to succeed in business and in other venues to get the respect of men. And I'm not saying that this hasn't had some benefit, but there's a definite cost. It perpetuates a very sick cycle of ego and exploitation. It's not healthy to you, and it really won't help you make connections in life. Much of this "male" energy that women are adopting is about taking energy from others and dominating. This is an old, out-of-date paradigm, and it's one that I'm actively working on clearing as a man.

Standing In Your Truth/Not On Top of Someone Else's
Authentic power is knowing yourself and what you want. You don't feel the need to compete with others. There's nothing to be gained there. You can protect what you believe in when needed, but you do so without need for retribution or vengeance if you're slighted. You understand that you cannot be touched, and in matters of physical harm, you won't stay in places where you're hurt any longer than you absolutely have to.

These are powerful things to come to terms with. To start down this path, the first technique is to simply write to yourself about what you want. What matters to you? You may never have stopped in your entire life to think about this, and it's important that you do so now. Coming to terms about what you want is the most basic seed in your personal power. If you don't know, then you are always at the whims of others and blowing about in the wind of differing opinions.

But I Can't Decide
If you can't decide, then who can? You may have felt powerless for so long that you make almost no decisions for yourself. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of choosing incorrectly? For a good portion of our lives, most of our decisions are very little and not super momentous. We make decisions about what we eat, wear, and do. Take a look at these little decisions. See how you can make them more consciously. Do you like eating broccoli or are you just eating it because your mother always told you to eat it? You don't have to change your whole world yet to reclaim your personal power. You simply have to find the courage to nibble at some of the edges to build your strength and sense of self-confidence.

Relationships Recalibrated: Taking on Bigger Challenges
As you take ownership of bigger decisions, the shifts and challenges grow. If you've been letting your husband or wife make all the decisions about where the kids go to school or where to go for vacations, then suddenly having a voice in the situation will be jarring to your partner. You may want to ease into it. Tell him/her that: "I know that I've let you make these decisions before, but it's important to me to be more involved with these decisions now." Depending on your partner, it'll still require an adjustment. You're changing the power dynamics of the relationship. But if you're with someone who really loves you, then you'll get through. If you're not, then you've just illuminated a major problem in your life. If your partner won't share power, you need to find out why. It will likely point to more work that you both have to do to make the adjustment.

For instance, if you want to have more decision-making responsibility in finances, but you're terrible with money, then you have to own that. You'll need to get better at finances, so maybe a class will help you out. I do have to keep reminding you that the spiritual path is an extremely practical one. Everything is  interconnected. So perhaps a finances class is a doorway to better power-sharing in your relationship.


Letting Go of People Who Keep You Powerless
In all of this, you will have to let go of people who keep you powerless. That doesn't serve you or them, and you can't expect to change anyone else but yourself. You'll need to develop new friendships and communities to help you with this growth. A spiritual teacher, mentor, or inspiring friend can be a really crucial individual to help you turn the corner, but you still have to make that turn.

As always, journaling about your process is helpful as well as meditating to let go of the noise of the day. Affirmations can be really helpful as well. An affirmation is simply a positive statement to yourself. They can be: "I am strong," "I am a great decision-maker," "I know what I want," or "I can make the changes I want in my life." Affirmations help to instill a really strong can-do attitude, although it may feel really hokey at first. You may not believe what you're saying. In this instance, you're breaking down old mental programming. It'll take time. Just keep practicing.

Above all else, reclaiming your personal power will take patience and persistence. You've got to get a spark started to get a bigger flame going. Then you have to carefully feed that little flame and protect it from those who don't believe in you or who want to keep you down. In time with the right care, you'll have a roaring fire going and be burning a path to a new, amazing awareness and life.

Next blog: Abuse of Power: Reckoning With Your Actions 

Today's picture is a gift from my student, Missy. Thanks, dear one!
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