My malaise extended into February, and I decided to apply what I'd learned on my trips to this paradox of feeling powerless in a nation of so much privilege.
And I learned that most of what we do to combat powerlessness actually feeds it:
- When I felt powerless—i.e., it felt like someone “with power” was trying to force me to do something—my reaction was to try to grab the reins of power in some way and wield them myself.
- That attempted power grab fed the powerlessness cycle in two ways. First, I’d put all the energy outside myself, so my focus was increasingly on something outside my control.
- Second, it wasn’t really power I found myself trying to manipulate, it was force, which is oppositional. Feeding polarization is ultimately a losing strategy, because it creates winners and losers who combat each other.
- “Power” comes from connecting to who you are and what you value, and building allies around that, NOT winning arguments!
Yet, in parallel with this malaise, working with the shamans had unveiled another kind of resource. Although to my Western mind it seemed strange, I found something fundamentally healthy about practices that asked for permission from the earth before (for example) erecting a house, and also making physical offerings in thanks for gifts received. It made me more aware of energy and connectedness—to the planet, each other, and the divine.
And it occurred to me that we work this wa in life, too. It’s the modulation that we attend to, almost unaware of the life force carrying us. That life force wave is harmonized with the planet and all beings on it. But our “receivers” only pick up shifts in the life force, so it’s easy to lose track of its basic existence and our larger connection.
So how does that insight lead to root-cause remedies for feeling powerless, alienated, etc.?
Well, simply the awareness that there IS a life force carrier wave made me more attuned to it. I found myself feeling stronger, more centered, and more connected regardless of what was going on. (And curiously, as that happened, what was going on seemed to have more synchronicity with my intentions as well.)
And when I felt “off,” sometimes it became easier to stop, open myself to see what was going on, and reconnect to that sense of life force again simply by inviting its presence. (In IFS terms, as if it’s a guide with the power to reconnect us to Self energy. Simply going inside, inviting guidance, and being open to what comes helps.)
I also found myself reconnecting to a phrase that popped up in earlier work about my own core intention: “to preserve the expression of all beings.” That work—helping people connect to their gifts and their reason for being—is particularly important now.
So in view of all of that, how am I recovering my sense of centeredness and power, and how might some of those tools work for you?
- Remember to attune to your life force (the carrier wave), and not the noise!
- Know what you stand for—who you are at your core, your gifts, and who you want to serve. One way to amp these up: check out my Core Intention work, especially an intensive professional training starting April 13, and a one-off workshop in Chicago on April 1.
- Once you know your values, orient around people and causes supporting them. Avoid trolls, “trolling,” win/lose scenarios and defining yourself by what you oppose. Save your energy for constructive enterprises.
- Monitor your energy: this is a marathon, not a sprint. “How to Stay Outraged Without Losing Your Mind” captures great wisdom (although I'd prefer the word "energized" than "outraged" in that title).
- Remember this is a team effort. You don’t have to do everything. Find a group that supports your efforts, and concentrate on what you want and what you can do, including unsubscribing from groups that distract you with manufactured outrage. I follow Citizen’s Climate Lobby (especially because of its focus on bipartisan union around a carbon fee and dividend, vs. being “against” something), and Daily Action (one text a day, with easy links to make phone calls that actually count).
I hope that’s helpful, and welcome your additional suggestions in comments below. (All parts and parties welcome--please just be kind and respectful of all in whatever you have to share!)