Faces of Personal Power

What do you think of first when you think of "Power?" It's probably pretty messed up. We think of kings, politicians, abuse thereof. Maybe we think of athletes, celebrities or personal heroes. But in terms of yourself, what's inside you, how do you work with and visualize that? The basic definition of power is " the ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something." 

This is very similar to how we use the word "potential" in physics, to describe stored energy, energy that can (and very likely will) be used.

Note that in this definition, power isn't in the using, it's the ability to use if one so desires; that one has the energy to act and that all systems are go.

All definitions aside, there are different types of power, and because we are human and have brains that like to categorize things, it's a lot easier when we give things name, like yin and yang, male and female, internal and external. It's important to note that we are all made of up a spectrum of qualities, and things like gender and sexuality are also hard to define. When we talk about "masculine" and "feminine" power, as I will below, it's just words associated with archetypes, or well-understood ways of being. You can view archetypes as characters in a story, and anyone can play them. Everyone can exhibit masculine or feminine ways of doing things, in different combinations at any time.

Masculine, or yang energy, is traditionally described as forceful, extending outward, acting externally. Feminine, or yin energy, on the other hand, is receptive, passive, going inward and plumbing the depths within. Neither one is more valuable than the other. One is doing, one is being. We need both.

Where things get really confusing is that we often unconsciously obscure these faces of power within ourselves with the messed up dynamics we learned growing up. If you have daddy issues, chances are the male voice within you has not been nurtured or heard properly. If you spent your childhood being overrun by an overbearing mother, you may not be able to trust yourself to wield your own feminine power properly.

Even if you think things were "normal," sometimes we have strange, unexamined baggage that's been passed down through generations. We also have the normal challenges of finding balance within ourselves as complex human beings dealing with other complex human beings. 

Ideally, you will have a balance of being and doing, of the feminine and the masculine. You will be able to go within and discover new truths and understandings, and create the space for yourselves and others to grow. You will also be able to get shit done, build things, and put things in order. You will not do one at the expense of the other, or think that you only get to pick one. At any one time, you might feel one more than the other or find one aspect more needed in a particular situation. 

The trick is to be able to see, honor, and respect these things in yourself and other people. ​We live in a culture where we have begun to see and understand the trauma of our history, but don't know how to make ourselves whole. Instead, we fight against things we see in others that might very well be our own shadows. Shining light on our own dark places and letting our own internal voices speak with autonomy and clarity  is the best way to ensure that we treat ourselves kindly and effectively. Perhaps in the process of doing so we can reflect this peace and intelligence outward.