Estimated reading time: 4 1/2 minutes
– A lot is said about power, giving it away, not having enough, or having too much. However, giving my power away is a concept that, initially, I didn’t understand or think even applied to me!
One of my first spiritual teachers bravely confronted me with “you’re giving away all your power” during a kinesiology session around how I wasn’t coping with being a mother. Now given the circumstance, I should have known that I would be challenged when embracing motherhood. My dear father tried to warn me that I would be going from complete hedonism to complete responsibility.
You see I was nearly 41 when we were blessed with our beautiful baby boy. Before this, I’d led a charmed life where I’d been able to please myself and avoid responsibility. I’d never even owned a pet! My husband and I loved the status quo and weren’t thinking children at all. However, I began to take a long hard look at my life, for about five years as a girl doesn’t want to rush things, and finally decided to take the plunge into motherhood.
And that’s when it all started to unravel! Motherhood is one of the few roles that you’ll ever take on that has no job description, no mentor, no training and no-one to delegate to. I’d worked since I’d left school at 18 and had no idea that my power and sense of self-was so wrapped up in “work Carole”. I left saying “I won’t be back”. 10 months later I was back at my desk!
I hadn’t realised that I thought power was being in control. I was known for being fiercely independent, decisive & knowing what I wanted. I was fully aware of my knowledge base and place in the world that I knew what I was doing and how to do it. Then suddenly I found that all my yardsticks to measure my “power” i.e. independence, freedom, control were no longer around. It took me a while to know that true power was about listening to your inner voice rather than letting others control what you feel, think or do.
I intellectualised motherhood. I read every book, followed the parenting regimes they suggested, kept wishing my mother was alive to tell me what to do. I looked externally for answers, to my husband, the others in my mother’s group, to the lactose consultant that I hired, the sleep specialist I engaged. I listened to convention about how to take care of my child. I listened to all the naysayers bleating in horror “you don’t let him sleep in your bed do you”? I gave my power to everyone else looking for the answers and the best answers all along were within. Motherly instinct is not a saying for nothing.
Power – stepping into it can sometimes be a conscious decision but stepping out of it was an unconscious one. I had always thought of myself as strong, powerful, and independent but somewhere along the motherhood journey, I decided that others knew more than I did. I love that I now see Motherhood as a journey to compassion for myself and others. I learnt to follow my instincts when parenting my son. Although others or convention may say I’m wrong, I’ve learnt the hard way that for me, my family and my dear son it works for us. It ignites our love and joy when I follow my motherly instincts and take back my power.
I believe that many of us let others have a say in how we live our life. Stepping into your power can take practice. One simple habit that changed my thoughts from overwhelming to calm was discovering meditation. Meditation provided a release from stress, anxiety and a way to slow down. I could then tune more easily into my “gut instinct”, a parent in a more instinctual way. Whenever I was stressed, worried or indecisive, instead of reaching out for someone else’s opinion, I’d stop, take a few deep breaths, get still, meditate and tune into my “gut” instinct.
Below I’ve outlined a simple meditation which is a great place to start. Have fun, enjoy and radiate your brand of power, whatever it is.
Simple Meditation Activity:
Estimated time: 5-10 mins
Requirements: A quiet comfortable place, a chair and a candle.
- Get a comfortable seat where you won’t be interrupted, turn your phone off & place your feet firmly on the floor. Ensure you are upright, sitting with your back straight
- Start with three slow deep breaths – in through the nose and out through the mouth. As you breathe in, imagine breathing in calm and as you breathe out, imagine breathing out stress, anxiety or indecision.
- Light the candle in front of you, focus your attention on the flame. Let your gaze soften as you watch the flame.
- Allow your breathing to become deeper and slower as you gaze at the flame. Give all your attention to the candle flame for several minutes.
- Don’t worry if you have thoughts that come into your mind. This is normal. Just let them float in and out. Observe them & let them go.
- When you feel a sense of quiet calm, continue to sit quietly and gaze at the candle flame, noticing if it flickers or how the light diffuses around it.
- When you are ready to finish take another three deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, enjoying the sensations of how you now feel. Notice how much easier it is to know what your “gut instinct” is telling you.