Tag: spirituality (page 2 of 2)

Power VS Control

“Come into your power.”

We hear this type of phrase often to encourage us to be true to ourselves.  When we speak of personal responsibility and blossoming, we speak of “empowerment”.  When we discuss the importance of educating women around the world, or developing countries, we speak of knowledge, tools and confidence that lead to empowerment.

I didn’t use to understand why often, life coaches and motivational speakers would say

Source: healinglightonline.com

Source: healinglightonline.com

“find your power” or “stop giving your power away” or “empower yourself”… I didn’t think I was ever handed a spell book or a magic wand. How could I, of all people, have a power? I wasn’t an X-Men mutant or Wonder Woman. I wasn’t born an heiress of any hotel chain or car company (I know, my name could fool so many!). So I always thought power was something outside of myself. Power was something I didn’t own; it was something I could reach for but I needed others to give it to me.

The other misconception I had about power, is that it was synonymous with control.

Somehow, in my head, I’d registered that to be “in control” or to “have things under control” meant that you had power over something, as if an external force decided that you were worthy of control and authority over a dominion. You were then awarded power to do with what you pleased. And obviously, everyone had to be cool with that, right? Well, no.

So what does empowerment mean? How does one come into their power? Do we have personal power and if so, how does one tap into it?

It recently came to my awareness that power is something intrinsic to each person. Every single one of us is born free and powerful and unique. You don’t have to be popular, rich or democratically elected as “special” to be powerful. Power isn’t found in your title, your net worth, the size of your social circles or the magnitude of your following. Power isn’t receiving unwavering obedience from underlings. Power isn’t manipulation and deceit. Power isn’t aggressive and it isn’t something you need to acquire. You do not need anyone’s permission to be powerful.

The only person’s approval you need is your own. That’s the key.

I’ve come to realize this through a lot of personal work on codependent issues and spiritual work on agreements. I’ll get into codepency and agreements in future posts, but for now, what’s important to remember is to separate Power from its insecure cousin, Control.

Here’s a little table I made of the two, very different relatives.

Self-Acceptance Self-love, Feeling Worthy Self-rejection, Feeling Unworthy
Attitude Positive, Confident, Accepting
Passionate, Dynamic
Negative, Insecure, Controlling, Pushy, Overbearing
Decisions Love, Intuitive & Reasonable Fear, Analysis-Paralysis
Feelings Trust, Peace Doubt, Unease
Approach Assertive, Open, Honest and Kind Aggressive, Stubborn, Abrupt or Deceitful
Focus Process, Present Moment Outcome, Past or Future
Personal Strength Internal, Infinite, Energized Projected Externally, Burned Out
Relationships Healthy, balanced, Harmonious, Respectful, Clear Boundaries Dysfunctional, Co-dependent,Unequal, Disrespectful, Non-existent Boundaries or Lax
Perceived Power Leadership, Reputable, Recognition Authority, Notoriety, Fame
Impression of life Grateful Victim, Fighter

When you tap into your power, you’re accepting yourself. You’re confident in who you are, in your place in the world and in how life unfolds for you. You’re not delusional in thinking you’re perfect, because you’re not but you’re self-aware and you embrace your darkness as well as your light. Your decisions come from a place of love – for yourself and others.

control freaksWhen you’re exercising control, your decisions come from a place of fear, you feel insecure and you doubt your path. You are either not accepting yourself or the situation.  There’s this fear of lack, or of being unworthy and so when in “control-mode”, we tend to be more aggressive as we feel the need to fight others for relationships or things we do not feel we deserve. Our relationships often become dependent or codependent; we feel the need to control our surroundings because we feel we have little control on what’s happening to us. This feeling feeds our fears and our distorted way of seeing ourselves (i.e. as unworthy, unappreciated, unskilled, unlucky/unsupported…).

When you find your power, you’re in tuned with who you are, you are present in the moment and your life feels meaningful. In the moment, anything can happen. In the moment, every possibility is at your finger tips. The strength of your power is sourced internally; you have every answer, every ability and an universe full of love inside you. Therefore, your focus is not on any outcome but on the process. Of course, there are things we want out of life and that’s part of being human, but when we’re too focused on having things in just such a way, we outline to a point where we fail to see the beautiful art outside the lines…

“Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

Finding your power means that you becoming free-er; everything that isn’t you seems less important and you no longer feel sorry about not fitting into this box or the other mold. It’s no longer about rejecting these ideas out of spite, but letting them go in love, knowing where you want to be, exactly how you want to be at that moment, with the people you want to share this experience. Life-Facebook-Status-20334

Your boundaries are clearer to you and you take very little personally. Your relationships become harmonious because you draw the people who feel similarly and share your values and compatible ways of expressing them. Your projects benefit from support because you call upon your passion and leadership, instead of trying to command authority and respect. Everything flows a bit more organically.

When you know who you are, you are HERE NOW to experience being you, and you’re unapologetically yourself, you are your truest, strongest self. Nothing is impossible (except becoming a mermaid, or a unicorn – I’ve tried!).

I hope you dig deep and start recognizing your power – it’ll change everything!

Finding Your Clan

The names Grey Owl, Morning Star and Crazy Horse have held a place of wonder in my mind and in my heart from a young age. I’ve pondered the nature of these names and of the practice behind it. I’ve also wondered about the meaning of clans and if they necessarily had ties to lineage. It would seem that as an adult walking into a culture that was never explained to me, my genuine curiosity is met with warmth and in time, I’m discovering the ways in which these practices hold meaning.

I was not fortunate enough to grow up in the tradition of my Cree ancestors, but I am trying to learn about their ways and find the wisdom in their customs, legends and beliefs. I was named in my late twenties and have only recently received my clan. How do a spirit name, a clan and a person interact?

The truth is, I’m finding out as I go. I have yet to fully understand what my name means, and I’ve even more to learn in regard to my clan.

What I do understand is that we are children of Sky and Earth. We are souls, who’re given a nature and a body. We have an essence that is both metaphysical and physical. We are gifted from our spiritual father and from our spiritual mother.

Spirit Names

In my limited experience in bearing a spirit name, I understand it as a gift from tFather Sky. It’s the guiding principle in my life and in finding myself, despite all the noise. A name is given by an Elder (or a family member), which is used in ceremony, during teachings or when in alignment with my purpose, my true nature. The name is given when the bearer is ready for the responsibility it entails, as the bearer grows into the full meaning of the name and carries this medicine with them. A name chooses the bearer. It is given as a ceremony and must be feasted and honoured.

Dodem (Clan)

Bear Jim Oskineegish

Artist: Jim Oskineegish

A clan, or dodem (i.e. totem is an adaptation of the original word), is a soul family. It helps the clan member understand his or her nature and his or her role in the collective. This isn’t a blood line, as far as I understand it. Traditionally, members of the same clan wouldn’t marry, even if they were not related. My clan, or dodem, is a gift from the Earth Mother. It’s the group that shares my life mission, my values, goals and skills. Clans are also revealed in ceremony and should be considered an honour and it’s a privilege to be “accepted” into a clan. The clan chooses us, much like the name.

A clan is not to be confused with astrology or with power or spirit animals. Power animals (or spirit animals) are guides or helpers that come into our life and journey with us either for a temporary period, to help us learn a lesson for example or stick with us for life. These are considered helpers or teachers, but are not your clan. Your clan is essentially what you’re made of, where you come from and that does not change.

Both clans and spirit names are very personal because they pertain to our truest selves.

Wolf Pack

Source: Massiflux.com

There are many existing clans, depending on the beliefs and customs of the Nation to which one belongs. I asked a Cree Elder because my heritage is mostly Cree. There are far more than I could name here, but I have heard of Fish, Bear, Bird, Moose, Turtle, Wolf, Butterfly and Snake clans to name a few. A common approach when discovering your clan is to become familiar with the animal’s traits, qualities, habits and environments. This, in turn, helps us understand their medicine. What do they carry and what do they have to teach us about ourselves?

What About City Slickers?

In our contemporary world, finding your clan may mean something different to you. It may mean finding a group of friends who love and accept you for who you are. They support you in your life mission, when you are being authentically YOU. Your clan understands you because they are your kin on emotional and spiritual levels. Your clan acts as your support system. These are the people who share your values and your goals. They aren’t competing with you, but rather, are moving independently towards a shared vision and cheering you on.

Remember that First Nations do not marry into their clan, so it’s perfectly normal to find your clan as friends outside of your romantic relationships. Your clan’s place is that of your soul family, so if you have a complimentary relationship with your partner, that’s nothing to be concerned about.

I am fairly certain that my partner and I are not from the same clan, and for us, it means that our natures compliment each other. We share values and goals as well but we are not alike and that keeps things fresh. We also catch each other’s blind spots. Other clans can act as wonderful teachers.

I have met remarkable Moose Clan and Fish Clan Elders and one of my closest friends is Bear Clan. Because they differ from my nature, I learn from their personalities and perspectives.

Different Belief Systems

Thunderbird Norval Morrisseau

Artist: Norval Morrisseau

Whether you adhere to the spiritual concept of a soul family, in very real terms, or whether your belief system differs from this one, the importance of finding the people you most identify with will help you learn greatly about yourself. It will also provide tremendous support in being who you are and provide courage and inspiration. Your clan also offers safe haven and an environment to refuel. We may be born into families, but we all have clans, which may or may not be our physical families. This is something First Nations understood. We are given a physical family but we also have our heart-centred families – or rather, we find them and they find us.

I feel that I have gained so much from learning my clan. Many of my questions about myself were resolved instantly. Others will resolve over time and familiarity with the characteristics and values of my clan. I will study the characteristics of the emblem and meditate on its medicine.

Will you honour yourself by honouring your origins, and your clan?

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