Many of us tend to have a rather complicated relationship with power. We're at the same time both afraid of it and hungry for it. Our fear of personal power often revolves around two poles - we want to appear humble and not prideful, on the one end, and we don't want to be seen as too pushy or selfish, on the other end.
And yet, deep inside, we hunger for personal power. We long to feel like we have what it takes to accomplish what we truly value, that we can be competent and successful, that we have a say about who we are, how we want to live, and what matters most to us, that we have a voice and our voice counts. Personal power.
Dreams About Flying
Significantly, one of the top ten dreams people have most often is the dream of flying. Dream analysts suggest that this dream is all about being able to transcend the limitations keeping us from being our true selves, powerful, successful, and fruitful. It's about our ability to overcome the forces in our lives that are keeping us down, tethered to limitations.
The fact that this dream is so familiar and popular shows how much we as humans hunger for agency, for personal power to express ourselves fully and effectively, to take responsibility, and to exert power to act accordingly.
Your Original Medicine
Native peoples of American continents use the words power and medicine synonymously. What they say is that if we fully express who we are, we are said to be "full of power" and "expressing our medicine."**
In other words, when we acknowledge our personal power, when we allow ourselves to embrace agency (and stop thinking we're victims) and then act accordingly, we are utilizing medicine - the most effective medicine for healing and wholeness, not just for ourselves but for the whole world.
Indigenous wisdom teaches that
We all possess "original medicine": personal power, duplicated nowhere else on the planet. No two individuals carry the same combination of talents and challenges; therefore, when we compare ourselves to others, native peoples see this as a sign that we do not believe that we have original medicine.**
This is so common for so many of us. We give up our personal power to others, letting them dictate what we should think, feel, and act like. We compare ourselves to others in order to measure our success. We base our self esteem on what others think of us or what we think of them.
No wonder our confidence level fluctuates up and down like a yo yo. We've tethered it to the wrong source. We've essentially given away our power to others.
But each of us has original medicine: a personal power unlike anyone else's because it's based upon a unique combination of strengths, talents, passion, temperament, life experiences, challenges; it's our unique expression of who we are and what we're about in the world. No one else can contribute exactly like we can. For this reason, our personal power possesses a unique cocktail of medicinal healing for ourselves, others, and the world.
How to Take Your Own Medicine
So what do we do about it?
- we identify our uniqueness,
- we embrace our personal power,
- we accept our personal power,
- we embody our personal power with courage and confidence,
- we insist on expressing confidently our personal power,
- we stop blaming life, circumstances, others, ourselves,
- we take personal responsibility for our stuff (our choices, actions, behaviors, attitudes) and don't for everyone else's,
- we take action to change what needs changing, to grow what needs growing, to transform what needs transforming -
- because without our personal power the world will not be able to experience our brand of medicine we alone can provide for its healing and transformation,
- and we too end up suffering needlessly from our self-imposed deficiency and unnatural limitations--we consign ourselves to being a victim.
Repeat Your Commitment
So repeat after me: I have personal power. I have a choice. I am not stuck. I am not a victim. I will express my unique self. I can make decisions and act them out in the world. I will take my own Original Medicine. And I will with confidence, courage, and generosity continue offering it to the world.
So here's to flying high (with your red cape billowing in the wind)!
**Angeles Arrien, The Fourfold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary, p. 20-21.
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