Firstly I would like to thank those of you who emailed me with your thoughts and experiences. Over the coming weeks I will bring in some of your comments to add to my own.
This week I would like to start by setting a foundation for this series on Personal Power by sharing with you a little of my own journey.
Recently I plugged back into the series of workshops that got me started and helped create a paradigm shift for me in how I viewed myself. The workshop I am talking about is called “The Turning Point”.
Having just supported on one of the courses in May I was feeling a great sense of connection to my roots and this was enhanced when Tim Ridge, a friend I made when I first stepped onto my path gave me an unexpected gift.
He had been clearing out old documents from over twenty years ago when he came across my original application form to attend The Turning Point. He thought I might be interested in having it back instead of it heading into the good old shredder.
It was a strange experience looking at that old image of myself staring back at me. I could see the unhappiness in her eyes. I then looked at the section about what are you hoping to get from this course and it read just one word:
I had written it in capital letters. Thinking back to my old self I realised that one reason I had only written one word was my lack of trust in others. I didn’t know if I could trust these people. My map of the world had few if any examples of people I could trust who would really be there for me.
On another level this word was really profound because it really did sum up what I needed. My life until that point had been full of drama, tension and abuse.
I remember the very first session of the workshop sitting there full of anxiety and doubt listening to the lead teacher Graham Browne. He began to go through the ground rules for the course including the usual things like confidentiality.
Then he got to a rule about participation. He said that we needed to fully participate even if that meant to say we disagreed with the content or to make a comment that someone else might find challenging.
Inside I felt a little spark begin to glow. I had always secretly wanted to be a rebel and all my life I had been such a “good girl”. Any rebellion I had done had been covert and passive aggressive. I began to feel angry and thought to myself.
“If they want the truth that is what I’ll give them!”
A few moments later a course participant arrived “late” by at least an hour! This really pushed one of my buttons, punctuality has always been important to me, still is. In the past I would have simmered and had angry thoughts but said nothing. This time I loudly said to the whole group.
“Looks like you are making a grand entrance”
Nothing bad happened! Now of course on the one hand you could say I was being downright aggressive and I was. However I was also stepping out of my comfort zone and into a new place.
For the other person my comment was also useful as the facilitators skilfully used the whole event to help both the “late comer” and I to understand our own processes more fully. For the other person it was useful because he did tend to regularly do things to get attention. On the surface he looked confident however he was just as disempowered as I had been.
Hiding from our Power takes all sorts of guises whether it is playing the “mouse” as I had done or making grand entrances these are all ways of denying our full potential.
For me being able to speak out at that moment was the first step in re-claiming my Personal Power. To make the full journey I still needed to learn how to speak up without needing it to be at the expense of others.
If I had merely developed an aggressive style of communication this would have just been another way to dis-empower and distance myself from others. Being aggressive is no more powerful than passive behaviour it is just louder.
For me this was the first step however in recognising that I do have choice in how I experience the world. In the weeks to come I will share more of my own journey and ideas on how you too can step into your Personal Power.
For more information about The Turning Point click the first link below and to find out more about my workshops click the link that follows.