Love and power go hand it hand. And yet, we often forget this. We forget it because what we think of as power we might relate to dominance, competition, achievement-oriented action. And doesn’t all that seem different than the qualities that we associate with love -- fondness, tenderness, warmth? Maybe.
But my advice to you is: make room for power to live in your life.
Love and power walk together.
After all, real power is found in genuineness, presence, a deeper state of being.
When it comes to being our authentic selves in our daily lives, many of us are showing others only the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps we are afraid to be seen. Maybe we worry we will be mocked or taken advantage of if we show more of our heart in our interactions. Maybe we have been hurt in the past when we were wide-open and it’s left us wanting to recoil.
Of course, it is incredibly important to know that we can protect our boundaries. Being confident that we can say “no” to others firmly (when necessary) gives us the backbone we need to set limits with someone who might try to control or manipulate us.
But are we willing to be vulnerable when it counts? Are we willing to truly see another and be seen?
Most people are dying to hear two things: that they are perfect as they are and that they are loved. And yet, often in long-term relationships we find ourselves gridlocked in struggle, blaming the other for what is missing in our lives, lashing out, imagining ways that the other person could or should be. And while some of what we think about may be helping us to gain clarity in terms of what we want in our lives, most of it is rumination, generalization, assumption and judgement that drives the person away, and leaves the relationship at a standstill.
Remember at the beginning of romantic relationship, when you feel that you are being seen ... sometimes the honeymoon phase goes on for weeks, months, years, but there tends to come a time where we find ourselves focused more on the complications and imperfections than we do on the unique gifts of the other.
So how do we get back to that place of reverence?
There is a deep, calm power in asking questions. Ask your love questions as though you are meeting them for the first time. What is your lovers hopes? What are their aspirations? What might they love to share more of with you? Let your partner know “I am hungry to know you”.
When we let go of our goals and agendas for a little while, we may find a place of inner vitality and therein lives a wellspring of possibility. To deepen in our intentions, to choose to speak from our heart is to awaken inside ourselves a new way of relationship.
In addition to speaking your truth and questioning everything, know that you are also allowed to celebrate what’s going well in a relationship and build up your love. Spend some time visioning together and playing in your imaginations by exploring your night dreams, your dreams of the future, and making sure to include any and all illogical thoughts. If everything you discuss seems logical, you may not be using your full power of imagination. Make space for it.
Find the path where love and power meet and you will discover a newfound trust in your Self and in your relationship.
And remember, it all starts with asking deeper questions, then living into the answers.
Have you ever noticed that your worries feel further away after a good night's sleep? After my first blog on solving problems with creativity, a friend suggested I talk about solving problems with night dreams, so here goes...
I have a childhood memory of putting worry dolls under my pillow whenever I fought with a friend or was worried about the health of a pet or whatnot. According to the Guatemalan tradition, these colourful little dolls represent a gift that was given to a Mayan princess named Ixmucane from the sun god which would allow her to solve any human problem. When you place the dolls under your pillow, you are asking them to take your problems to the princess for resolution.
There are many ways to work with problems. One way is to try to dismantle the problem in your mind, consider all avenues of action and decide the most logical steps forward. The challenge I find with this approach is that sometimes allowing my mind to replay the events can lead me to feel like my head is heavy, as though each thought bundle were like a iron wheel, hooking into the spindles of other thick and dense wheels of thought. I believe that if my mind keeps spinning, I will finally get an answer, but sometimes this cyclical thinking just builds and leads to further mental tension.
So I've been trying something new lately ... taking the problems to sleep!
At the core of most problems, we find some fear.
In order to liberate yourself from fear, you must let go of trying to liberate yourself from anything.
Psychologist Carl Jung introduced to psychology the idea of the Unconscious, a dimension of our experience that lives “beneath” our conscious level of awareness. The unconscious is like a container that holds aspects of our emotional life and even memories or impressions from experiences that we have long, long forgotten ...
But sometimes we remember. If you remember your dreams, you know that each night we are given movie-like stories that use images as symbols to communicate to us about our lives through metaphor as we sleep.
It's quite incredible. Each night we are gifted the answer to our problems.
But, they come in disguise and we have to decode them.
We are not as in control as we think we are. At least not in the way we think we are. And, incase our personalities forget that, we are reminded of this each night in our sleep. If the myriad of feelings that we experience throughout our day are not turned up enough for us to hear, Dreams will shout loud and clear when something is not right. In the dream world we know all that we will ever need to know in order to live more a fulfilled and balanced life.
The only issue is that your problem you are falling into sleep with may not be the urgent matter you think it is. The problem you've identified may be the tip of the iceberg, and once you swim a little deeper into the depths of the reality of the world you live in ... well, you may want to purchase a few of those worry dolls!
When you access your deeper knowings through the consciousness of dreams, your way of seeing will change. And though your perspective may shift from your individual worries to the greater patterns of our culture and our world, you will be reminded of your own wisdom and the choice you have to play a part in the evolution of society by becoming more of you.
Life has given us the gift of knowing and the way to give back is to allow what you know to be known. Your truth will guide you in ... to a life lived in authenticity.
Painting by Autumn Skye
When it comes to decision-making, using critical-thinking is not “harsh" or "unspiritual". Our capacity to evaluate a situation as either nourishing or threatening to the Self helps us to say "No" to that which doesn’t serve us. But in our busy lives, we are bombarded with so much unuseful and negative information that our thoughts can easily slip from the mode of critical-thinking to cynicism. It may feel difficult at times discerning intuitive hunches, telling us to slow down or hold off on something, from unwarranted fears that only serve to keep us small.
When I think of something that I would like to do (for example, start a blog) my idea is often followed by thoughts like: “What if nobody likes what I have written? What if I haven't written it well? What if I am misunderstood?” Self-doubt can paralyze us. On one hand, if we consistently give into our skepticism, we may never reach our goals. On the other hand, if we deny our human tendency to think critically, we may find ourselves wrestling with our instinctual impulses.
I believe that the answer lies in the courage to be creative: to welcome the automatic thought street, while remaining open to alternative avenues. Perhaps there are other ideas that are alive. In this case: "What if people like my blog? What if I can do what I love and be fully supported?" When we focus on a problem with a critical lens exclusively, we can get stuck in one way of seeing and understanding the situation.
Creativity opens the mind and heart to new possibilities and urges us to live more fully in our truth. Is there a situation you are struggling with? Is there a possibility within it that you may have even sensed but too quickly dismissed? Perhaps try asking yourself “What is my greatest hope for this scenario?” and see what comes. It may even be a deeper fear that you are avoiding.
Critical analysis is one tool for navigating a challenge. Using imagination is another. Try it. Let your mind wander. Day dream. See the problem from a new point of view. Perhaps you’ll discover that this new perspective gives rise to greater truths about you and your current dilemma.
Artwork by Claudia Tremblay