Monday January 13, 2014
I learned in high school that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. With that as my foundation combined with my experiences, it is no wonder that I have always believed that power is bad.
Jim was reading some article in the paper out loud as he does most mornings. While I don’t remember for the life of me what the article was about, I know I wrote down on the pad near the stove, “ a revelation about power.” It struck me right there and then that I have it all wrong about power. Power is actually good. It’s how you use power that can be either good or bad. For instance, you use power to lift someone up or hold someone down. Good power or bad power.
My experience with power has generally been bad. In my twenties, I was fired from a job for insubordination when I turned down my bosses sexual passes. I pursued a wrongful termination suit and learned it’s all about power and again, the context of power in this instance was bad. I watched colleagues back-stab, steal, and cheat to get ahead for money and power. And then I was sued by a crazy lady who turned out to be a serial suer. She prayed on the small vendor and she had to be right. There was no room for a rational conversation. She had power over me. And the list goes on and on. What I now see is that these experiences made me afraid. In fact, so much so that I started giving my power away. Afterall, I didn’t ever want to be someone who exerted power. Power was bad.
One day, I mentioned to a dear friend that I felt small. It was a passing comment. What showed up in my snail mail box was the most wonderful passage:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
I am now both holding onto my power and I am stepping into my power. When you live from your heart with love as your guiding principle miracles do happen. And I remind myself when I walk into a room that there’s nothing to fear when I show up as the authentic me – a quirky, adventurous, spirited, pioneering, creative, nurturer, loving connector and joy gatherer – no matter what I do for a living. And I hold my hand out and offer to lift you up. Whether I am helping you tell your family food stories through Heirloom Meals, or helping you make your house a beautiful place to live, or helping you finding a home, or being your friend, colleague, or neighbor. This is my power and it is good.