Lisa Singh is a ‘Master Mediator’ and works in the fields of conflict resolution, intercultural communication and facilitation for creative problem solving. Lisa has also worked in the field of restorative justice. She has written of herself:
“I work with the Dayton Mediation Center because I believe in the power of others to solve their own problems. I also believe that being a mediator present in the moment of conflict provides a unique opportunity for people to see a different perspective that opens the door towards a decision – a decision that can transform everything!”
This allows me, Lu, to move easily into an exploration of those moments when we take our power back, making a decision, or a choice, that can transform our lives.
So, Lisa shared with us that taking our power back is not easy. We might wish that it was, or think that it should be, but it is not. It involves a lot of thought and a lot of time.
It is in recognizing our own power, our strengths and our abilities that we begin. But it is also in recognizing our weaknesses and forgiving ourselves for what we’ve been, and for what we’ve done, that we would like to have been different than it was. These are not permanent. We can change them. They are not failures. They are experiences that we can then make new choices from.
Taking our power back is a process. We recognize where we feel disempowered, recognize, or begin to recognize, how that feels for us, and then we realize that we gave our power away in that situation or in that relationship and therefore, we can take it back.
Addiction of any kind is an obvious example of this. But it can also be a work situation or a habit… Lisa mentioned procrastination as a sign for her of an area of her life where she feels unable or disempowered. Sometimes, we find ourselves avoiding a person because we don’t want to be that way, in other words, we don’t want to be the way that person defines us. I think of my older sister in this regard; she still sees me as needing her guidance and her advice and I don’t see myself that way and don’t choose to.
Stopping to look at and identify our thoughts and feelings helps us to be more authentic. Knowing of ourselves who we are and what we are willing to do and what we are unwilling to do, helps us to bring our authentic selves to situations and relationships. Part of taking our power back is being completely honest with ourselves about ourselves.
So how do we tune in with ourselves to become more aware?
I begin sentences with the words “I feel… “ And Susan mentioned that using the phrase “I experience the feeling of… reminds us that we can change that experience.
Lisa gave us the insight of asking why. So, I feel uncomfortable… or I feel anxious… Why do I feel that way? And the answer to the question can often take us into some of our core beliefs or responses that have been learned from our families when we were very young. In my family, yelling was completely unacceptable. In my husband’s family yelling and even getting physical with siblings and so on, was acceptable. One day, my husband and I went to visit his mother. He and his mother began to yell and swear at each other and I was so uncomfortable and actually appalled by their behavior and then they both just burst out laughing and smiled broadly at each other and I realized that they were completely okay with the yelling and swearing. It was easy and fun for them to communicate with each other in that way.
We can also ask ourselves the question, “Where and when do I feel safe?”
Peggy shared with us her wisdom. She said, “The more we sit and give ourselves the time to identify our feelings, the more aware we can become.” She also encouraged us to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to allow ourselves to be imperfect, to not even aspire to be perfect, rather to aspire to embrace ourselves exactly the way we are – feeling in the core of ourselves that we are okay, even perfectly okay, deep within, in the heart of us. Peggy encouraged us to embrace our wholeness, the sum total of what we are.
Brenda also shared with us that it is empowering to observe objectively, both ourselves and other people. She encouraged us to be observant and to be aware.
This talking circle included Susan, Lisa, Peggy, Brenda and myself. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing so many voices.
It seems that taking our power back means becoming more aware of our own feelings and being and acting from that awareness.