Wherever you go, there you are. This light-hearted and seemingly whimsical statement is inherent with profound wisdom.
We carry ourselves everywhere we physically go: be it personal, professional or otherwise. This is regardless of what function we might be attending: when we attend a meeting, when we speak publically, or when we are in line at the grocery store.
As humans are emotional beings, we are likely emotionally triggered throughout the day. Our feeling and sensing nature work together to inform us of our surroundings and what we need to pay attention to.
Emotions Have a Vital Role to Play
Emotions and feelings provide information to help us make informed decisions as to how to best go about daily living. They are important messengers, informing us of where we are emotionally, giving clues as to what is really important to us, from the inside out.
You may choose to obsess over how you feel about something or, on the other extreme, you may choose to repress or suppress your emotions.
However you decide to handle your emotions, there are no judgements. We have all had traumatic experiences we’ve pressed. No one is going to tell you that you must investigate and bring your emotions to light. I do believe that when one is ready to deal with emotions in a healthy way, opportunities will arise.
As emotions are informants, they are messengers that carry information. Many times, we forget this and we may get carried away, allowing our emotions to hijack our personal power.
We may, for example, fall into a deep depression if we do not receive the attention of a romantic interest. Or, if your spouse, god forbid, says something that you might interpret as negative, it is the end of the world.
Maybe someone mindlessly and rudely startled you or did something unexpected that angered you, like almost running into you in traffic. In the course of living a day (even if you’ve got a simple life) one might experience an emotional roller coaster depending on the experiences that unfold on your path.
The point is, humans are emotional beings, and many times we allow ourselves to lose sight of our personal power.
Defining Personal Power For Yourself
How do you define personal power? If you research the term ‘personal power,’ you will invariably find variations to define the term as the influence you have over others.
I found many variations that deem personal power as a source of influence and authority a person has over his or her followers. In others words, power is determined by his or her followers.
What do you think of this definition? Does the definition work and apply for you?
Rather than influence, or sway, or power over others, I hold personal power in a different light. At face value, what the words ”personal” and ”power” mean to me is the ability to recognize, harness and utilize the power I have in and within myself.
From Where Do You Source Your Power?
For important fortifying things like faith, hope and love, from where do you get your renewal power source?
Many, as I, would turn to the God of their understanding. Or, if the the word itself triggers you (“God”) identify the binding source of life (universe, Spirit, Allness) that animates you.
I would argue to say that the intelligence that courses through everything in the universe inherently lives within the genius of us all. After all, we are part and parcel of life itself, are we not?
Rather than the source of my personal power being given by popularity, influence, authority, followers, position or role, I source my strength and power from the wisdom within.
True to the words, I define personal power as something deeply personal: it is the power I have within myself to live my life the way I see fit, and the way I choose to.
Radically against the grain and the typical definition above, I define my personal power as the permission I give myself (and NOT my “followers”) to influence my decisions to live the best life I can live, aligned to my own highest ideals and values, true to my own calling.
Personal power is my own ability to influence, sway, relate to and utilize the power that courses through me, as me, within me to run my life in a way that empowers my living.
Why it is Important to Define Personal Power.
Identifying the peace from where I get my personal power helps me remember that the experience of life comes from my attitude.
If I want to be happy, I’ve got to define what happiness means and what I need to do to attain it. Once I identify what makes me happy, I can then install happiness guardrails so that I can safely and efficiently reclaim my personal power.
What are Guardrails to Happiness(TM)?
Incidentally, gaurdrails, for those of us who are not familiar with the term, are rails that keep you on the path, and on track, to your destination. One would see guard rails along expressways to keep vehicles or people from straying into off-limit or dangerous areas.
The five (5) Guardrails to Happiness (TM) all start with the letter “H,” or, at the least it sounds like it starts with "h." (Don’t you love it when it just so happens that way … when serendipity comes together so inconveniently?)
The 5 Guardrails to Happiness (TM) are:
Wholeness / Holistic.
#1. 1st Guardrail to Happiness: Hope
It is important to remember the Truth of your being: that you are more than just your experience.
There are times when I feel utterly hopeless and in despair. No matter how hard I try, I fall subject to my human experience. Don’t we all? My problems all seem insurmountable and messy to deal with, and what sounds really appealing is for someone to come in and wipe the slate clean. Have you ever felt like this?
When all seems too bleak and hopeless, remember this: all is conspiring for your greatest and highest good.
Even in my darkest moments, the thought and belief of the hardship I am experiencing in the moment is but a stepping stone to the next experience, provides much needed hope.
After losing my mother at the age of 16, for example, I thought all hope was lost. A wise friend reminded me that even in the darkest and bleakest moments of life, when we think we’ve lost everything, we haven’t. Despite all appearance, we will rise. It was difficult at the time for me to truly understand what that meant. But, I kept those words of wisdom in my heart. Now, after almost 3 decades of my mother’s passing, I can look back and realize that it was only because I lost her at such a tender age, that I learned to stand up on my own two feet to gain strength and became me, as I exist today.
Hope floats: hope keeps us afloat to remind us that life is so much bigger than just an isolated incident, or even a period of time of our experience. Every experience we undergo leads us to the next thing, and the next and then, the next.
As hope allows us to thrive from one experience to the next, it is important to stay healthy.
#2. 2nd Guardrail to Happiness: Health
Keeping myself healthy: body, mind and spirit, keeps me on track to living my best life.
Body: A practice of mindful diet and exercise helps me stay healthy.
Educating myself and seeking variety allows me to engage in life almost without restriction. Taking the middle road with moderation rather than to starve or overindulge, I listen to what my body needs... And give it to her.
If mama needs cheese cake, mama has cheese cake. If I want noodles, noodles I have! My desire is usually satiated, and I stop when I've had enough. Goin out and moving about to bring circulation to my body - be it a run, a stroll or dancing just makes sense to me. The point is to lean in and listen to the body’s intelligence. When I am open to hearing, I find that my body is very telling.
Mind: To stay positive, I keep a positive mindset.
Adjusting my mindset when I am aware that I have slipped into a negative space helps me stay healthy. Our mind is the breeding ground for the experience of life.
The needs of my mind, like good housekeeping, vary depending on its condition. Sometimes, I may need a light dusting to clear my head. Other times, I might need an overhaul, like a thorough spring cleaning! Keeping my mind free of cobwebs and unwanted debris by letting go of what no longer serves me is daily (sometimes moment to moment) maintenance. Keeping myself mentally filtered keeps me ”right” in my head.
Spirit: Keeping myself spiritually filtered: releasing attachments, practicing gratitude, forgiveness, and processing grief, is what keeps me ”right” in Spirit.
All my emotions go through a strainer I call clearing my spirit. Letting go of thing and processing experiences in life, be it traumatic or not, requires space and time. We need ample quiet to process and let the energy that has latched in to our energetic bodies like unwanted hitch hikers to be loosened and released. This is where the spiritual practice of prayer, meditation, forgiveness and gratitude is the most useful.
#3. 3rd Guardrail to Happiness: Healing
When we sustain an injury on our bodies, we can usually see and understand that we need to give time for the body to heal. Hospitals are where most people go to to mend healing and allow for time for our miraculous bodies to readjust.
Healing is a way for our bodies to come back to homeostasis. Be it injury, or illness - whether physical, emotional, spiritual or otherwise, healing of any kind requires time and a harmonic environment. Coming to stillness through a mindful practice such as yoga, tai chi, moving meditation or even a day of observation is a wonderful way to begin the healing journey. In being still enough to listen, we create awareness of what we need: body, mind and spirit, and how much of it we need in order for us to come back to our homeostasis.
#4. 4th Guardrail to Happiness: Harmony
To harmonize is to come back to balance, returning to what is normal. In many cases, harmonizing can be making sense of something that did not make sense in the first place. To harmonize is to gain perspective and respect for a situation. Through the process of healing, we may transcend to a new level of understanding, allowing our perspective to be bigger.
What once might feel harmonic and what might resonate may no longer be the case. As our level of awareness grows, we begin to seek out a greater boundary for possibility. As we learn, understand and expand our world, we become more and more inclusive. Exclusivity will no longer resonate with our energy.
The principal of Love makes it possible for all human beings to harmonize and want peace. Making peace, and choosing peace over all else (including drama, confusion and revolution) allows us to include others in community, in our hearts and in our evolving consciousness. Rather than happiness as a single solitary entity to pursue, happiness becomes systemic and we soon understand that we are all in this together. Each and every one of us is part of a whole system that make up the consciousness of all.
#5. 5th Guardrail to Happiness: Holistic (Wholeness)
The New Oxford American dictionary defines holistic as the intimate interconnectedness of parts to its whole. Rather than looking at something through a peephole, we open all senses to a broader perspective knowing that nothing is isolated and everything is inter connected.
The word “holistic” comes from the word whole - of being not a part of, but the entirety.
An important and integral part of exercising personal power is to notice when I feel defeated, hopeless or powerless. If I do not feel empowered, the solution is to take a look at my part in the equation and figure out what I can do to improve the entire (the whole) situation, rather than just what is in it for me.
I LIVE IN A CONNECTED UNIVERSE, AND NOTHING HAPPENS IN ISOLATION.
My initiative is to claim personal power by doing something positive about my situation, which will positively impact overall results.
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Reclaiming personal power is all about coming back to the Truth of my being. Having the integrity and the courage to approach my existence in pursuit of happiness means to give myself over to hope, allow light to shine on every situation. Keeping myself healthy in body, mind and spirit will allow for balance and invite abundant creativity and success in my life.
Choosing to live in harmony will attract those who resonate with my positive ju-jus and, as I approach everything to improve the whole, I claim and reclaim those pieces of me that have been lost over the years, that I have given up or have refused to recognize. Through this process of remembering my worth, I claim wholeness, my personal power and strength.