My mom has given a gift of this subscription of this magazine to her four daughters for many years. It is a great way for us to connect as we each talk about different articles. In the September 2009 issue, Oprah features the issue of Power by offering "31 Ways of Looking at Power". It is a tremendous collection of beautiful voices. Here are two. Visit here to read more.
The great work of our time is to bring the feminine into this culture. And it's not an easy path. How does each one of us contribute? Believe it or not, it's done in the most personal ways. Take time to listen to your dreams, to write them down. Take time to recognize that there are things going on within you that need to be felt, or said, or lived, or grieved. Pay attention to these things both in yourself and in the people in your life. Pay attention to the authentic self.
Now, about that word authentic. It is related to the word author—and you can think of it as being the author your own self. When you’re living your own reality, you become the sovereign of your own life. You know who you are, you speak what you believe. There’s a natural pride that goes with that: This is who I am—take me or leave me. Think of Michelle Obama—she is not afraid of her strength. And since her strength takes nothing away from anyone else—because it is given with love—she is free to be her authentic self.
To me, real power is about presence. It’s the energy of knowing that you are who you are, and therefore speaking and acting from your authentic self. It doesn’t matter what your work is—if you’re a teacher or a nurse or whatever; it is your presence that’s the power. It’s not power over anybody else. It’s just the expression of who you are.
Love is the real power. It’s the energy that cherishes. The more you work with that energy, the more you will see how people respond naturally to it, and the more you will want to use it. It brings out your creativity, and helps everyone around you flower. Your children, the people you work with—everyone blooms.
Marion Woodman, from “31 Ways of Looking at Power” in September’s Oprah
If right now our emotional reaction to a certain person or hearing certain news is to fly into a rage or to get despondent or something equally extreme, it’s because we have been cultivating that particular habit for a very long tome. But as my teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, we can approach our lives as an experiment. In the next moment, in the next hour, we could choose to stop, to slow down, to be still for a few seconds. We could experiment with interrupting the usual chain reaction, and not spin off in the usual way. We don’t need to blame someone else, and we don’t need to blame ourselves.
Pausing is very helpful in this process. It creates a momentary contrast between being completely self-absorbed and being awake and present. You just stop for a few seconds, breath deeply, and move on. Chogyam Trungpa used to refer to this as the gap. In the middle of just living, which is usually a pretty caught-up experience characterized by a lot of discussion, you just pause.
And once you start doing it, pausing nurtures you; you begin to prefer it to being caught up.
Pema Chodron, “The Power of the Pause” from Oprah September 2009.