Wouldn't it be great to learn how to keep your power even when you are in fear?
How often in life do we feel we have lost our power? What exactly does having power mean? First, authentic power is subtle. It is something that comes from a place of calm and trust. Force is overt. When we lose control over something and/or someone we feel we have lost our power. What we have lost is our sense of calm and trust. Our power to what? Control?
Control is not power, it is a form of force. When we lose our power to/over something, that something becomes the center of our universe. We lose our emotional objectivity and we become reactive rather than responsive. Reactivity is difficult to handle because we are ‘acting’ out of our emotional need to control. We cannot stop thinking about it, ruminating over and over about it because we desire to gain control over it.
To gain control we typically try and use some form of force. The more we force something, however, the more control we lose. The more control we lose the more we try and force our will. The old adage says that if you chase something it will run away. But, it is so difficult to trust that if you back off that things will work themselves to balance. Thus, it becomes a never ending battle. We begin to get the “why me’s” and we feel alone in our experience of powerlessness. But it is all Mind. The Mind is distorting, spewing stories of doom and anxiety, and we sit in the present moment with an uncomfortable fear. It is all distortion.
When I have lost my power, I remind myself that nothing has power. I remind myself that anxiety is fearful thinking projected forward in my imagination. In theory, anxiety is simple. It is thought distortion. When we get into situations that scare us, our imaginations take over filling our minds with endless horrifying stories/outcomes. Once we spiral down this path it is difficult to reign in the thoughts that create the chaotic emotions. I have learned the only things that have power are my ‘thoughts’ about the thing that I think has power. That simple reminder helps me to orient to the now. I need to move from reacting to responding. To do this, I have to wait out the emotional wave of panic/fear until is subsides. Once it subsides I am better able to respond to the issue and find my power.
The first question I ask myself is “is this situation or circumstance I am in solvable?” That answer is always yes. The solution may not always be what I expect or immediately available, but rest assured there is always a solution. Then I breathe. If the solution does not seem immediate I have to apply a certain amount of “letting go.” In letting go, I give the situation/circumstance its Place in my life, but I resist giving it a Power in my life. Sometimes the way to power is to let go. The great Lao Tzu wrote “by letting go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond winning.” Sometimes when we stop forcing our way and we embrace letting go, the solution arrives.
What do we do to survive after we decide to let go but the solution has not yet arrived? This in-the-meantime “crazy-making” space breeds anxiety. Solution: Often the best way to calm down and give yourself a sense of control in the waiting period, is to focus on the things in your life that you can control. This helps to focus the mind. Did you know that when your mind shoots out a negative thought your brain shoots out a chemical called a neuropeptide? Neuropeptides suppress all the cells in your body into a state of fear. When you have negative thinking you produce these chemicals that give you negative emotions.
It is hard to reign that in. When you focus on a simple task, or a repetitive task that you can control you create the kind of composure you naturally have when you are absorbed in problem solving. Once you gain composure, and you are not a sea of neuropeptides, you now have gained control over the overactive imagination. If the story of anxiety your imagination is spinning is not actually happening in the now, it is just a story. Focusing your mind on repetitive tasks that you can control helps to regain your mental balance. A focused mind has no room for anxiety. This is a technique that requires a lot of practice but is well worth the effort.
Little Life Message: if a problem is not happening in the NOW, it is just a story. Put the story in its Place without Power.