We all have stories about what power means in our lives. They morph as we grow, shift as we take on and lose identities. These stories are touched by privilege, by how much power our families and societies have given us or withheld.
Today, we find ourselves amidst giant power struggles. We’re fighting against each other, fighting to find our own power, fighting to protect it for others, for the land itself. Power feels like a limited resource, sucked increasingly dry by a homogenous few. It can feel scary, infuriating, and hopeless when we view the world through this lens. A battle. A fight for a sacred, scarce resource.
The way our society is set up creates a false pretext. It convinces us that some people innately have more power than others, and that those chosen few have a right to exert this power OVER others. It’s patriarchal, hierarchical, and unsustainable. This is the story we are actually fighting against… it’s an old and looming tale. It’s powerful because we give it power. Yet we all have our own connection to innate and bountiful power.
We ARE life: flowing, unfurling, creating. And life IS power.
The power of creation, the power of destruction, the power of presence. The power of life itself moves through each and every being on this planet. We are all a unique expression of life.
Life desires to move through us, finding something new, something untold to express. We are IT. And yet we are under a veil of illusion that says we don't, in fact, hold that key to ourselves. An insidious lie grips us… that we are not as strong or powerful or important as those “in power,” whomever we may deem that to be.
This lie shrouds us all with a sense of despondency. It’s a lie that those holding power need us to believe. This is why they pacify us. With fear. Fear tactics abound now throughout the media and the government, as well as in homes, in schools.
The Fear Story sells. Fear overrides our ability to center into our true and infinite source of power.
Fear dilutes our own power to change the world, or our personal lives. It perpetuates the belief that we are threatened and need to act in defense, that we should be in near-constant survival mode, that we need to shut down the borders of our country and our bodies.
Fear convinces us that we must arm ourselves. Convinces us that our deepest personal experiences and feelings are untrustworthy. In this barren land of fright, our instinctual self diminishes. Fight or flight takes hold.
This is the primitive part of our animal bodies. It’s important and has its place. But when we actually live from this part, we disconnect from what makes us truly human. Our compassion, our intellect, our critical deliberation, our emotions. These pieces are needed more than ever right now for us to begin to knit together world-wide understanding and camaraderie: The true source of power.
What if we began to change the story? What if we could begin to believe that only through opening ourselves can power really flow through us?
What if by opening and allowing engagement, communication, and understanding we were able to strengthen immeasurably, becoming more authoritative and powerful in our lives?
Our bodies know this power, though trained to dam its flow. Our bodies have been trained to put up defensive walls. Our bodies know this power; they crave open windows, air to stoke the fire. When we feel down into our bodies, deep into our bellies, we always know what to do. When we feel into the source of our power, we allow pure feeling. That is a sign we are waking up our internal selves. Feelings let us know we are alive inside. And we say YES to all of them
We say yes to our own power. We say yes to every single human on this planet’s right to their own personal power. We say yes to living amongst and holding power alongside and with others.
We say yes to our voice. We say yes to hearing other’s voices and experience. They do not threaten our own. They are purely experience and story. When we begin to listen to each other’s stories, true healing and community thrive.
We lift each other up, and begin to know that our diversity is our strength. Diversity is the distinct thread of life expressing itself uniquely in others. We are all an expression of life. And the more we can embrace and learn from each of these expressions of life itself, the more holistic and expansive our view of life will become.
On a personal level, when we say yes to the voice of our body, we can know what it means to heal. Feelings make way for our true power to emerge. We unburden ourselves. We feel lighter. We feel less pain and tension in our bodies. We feel more joy.
More often than not in my practice, I see people who have disconnected from their own sources of power. They’ve placed it in someone or something outside themselves. They overcompensate and try to “rationalize” their way through the world. Rationalization and the mind have their place, but moving solely from the “rational” is dangerous for us all. Anything can be rationalized and explained, but feelings- true feelings- rarely lie.
When my clients move into their body, especially the lower half of their body, they begin to feel their own authority, translating into new agency over their lives. They feel worthy, hopeful and important. This leads to a deep desire to make a positive impact, and the belief that they can.
It also allows for true compassion. From this place of deeply knowing and trusting ourselves (through contact with our power), we actually become more empathetic towards others. Because we are not moving solely from mind, fear, and defensiveness, we allow for an opening to occur towards the outside world. Only from this place of true connection with ourselves and our power, can we truly connect with others.
May we begin to believe a different story about power.
May we all feel and know the power we truly have access to within ourselves.
May we use this force for connection, listening and understanding.
May we use this power to build a world that is inclusive, loving and compassionate.
Amy Terepka is a Portland, OR based practitioner of the healing arts. As an herbalist, medicine maker and bodyworker, she loves helping others connect more deeply with themselves, the earth, and the plants. She has her own practice, Groundwater Healing, and teaches with the School of Forest Medicine.