by G: I am always amazed by the depth, beauty, and power of people…
I see these things often at our events, and they thrill me. Last month at our first urban Journey to the Soul retreat, a large, beautiful, black woman stood to speak. She was big in size, voice, and presence, but she was trembling and struggling to find her voice. A previous sharing about loss had activated a frightened part of her personality, a part deep in terror, pain, rage, and humiliation. She spoke haltingly. “I am fed up with it. I am sick of being afraid. I am so tired of fearing the police. How many more of my black friends will be arrested, beaten, or killed?” She was sobbing with despair and rage and powerlessness. “Everyone I know who is black fears being stopped by the police. The police always have a reason. Its driving while black. Or breathing while black.” Now her whole body was shaking, and her face was wet with tears. She held to the back of a chair to remain standing. “I am fed up!” she struggled to say again. “FED UP!” Then she seemed to physically grasp herself and said in a different voice. “A frightened part of my personality is fed up. It has had enough. Enough!”
The transformation was palpable. Before she was speaking from a frightened part of her personality. Now she was talking about it. She was present again. Her shaking stopped, but her face was still wet. This strong woman was an executive in a multinational corporation. And she was black, terrified of the police, and had had enough. I could see her centering herself, scanning interior places for painful physical sensations, and deciding not to act on them more. This was a moment of creating authentic power. It was intimate and heroic. As she moved beyond the fear of beatings and bullets, beyond the control of this part of her personality, she entered a courageous, compassionate, and caring part of her personality, and we all moved with her.
Another woman on the other side of the room stood up. She was small and blonde. “I am the wife of a cop,” she said. “My husband is not like that. I feel what you are saying, but he is not like that.” There we were, all of us, courageously experiencing the ragged tear in our country and in our world without the anesthetics of righteousness and rage. It took courage, because creating authentic power always does. It requires challenging painful frightened parts of your personality that are so strong they shake your body or so beguiling they envelop you in blaming. These two souls did neither. They cultivated loving parts of their personalities, the big black woman and the white wife of the white cop.
Our dear friend, Maya Angelou, often said, “We are more alike than we are different.” She was so right. We are all immortal souls learning how to love in the Earth school, in the domain of the five senses, in the realm of right and wrong, gain and loss, good and bad. This requires creating authentic power, and we all witnessed a moment of that creation, one of myriad moments in the life of each individual who is growing powerful – aligning personality with soul.
Can you challenge the frightened parts of your personality and cultivate the loving parts of your personality like these two women did and do? Can you create authentic power?