"You must be the change you want to see in the world."—Mahatma Ghandi 1869-1948
Recently I spoke with someone whose son has been diagnosed with ADHD. This young boy was prescribed medication, which he took regularly. One day he shared, with his father, his dark feelings about many things. The medication had helped calm his hyperactivity, yet the boy was experiencing extreme thoughts and emotions with which he was uncomfortable. When his parents took him back to the doctor, requesting that he be taken off his medication, the doctor referred the boy to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist spent some time assessing the young boy and then told his parents that he was concerned for the boy's mental and emotional welfare and recommended an additional medication. At this stage both parents reclaimed their empowerment and said, "No."
Reclaiming empowerment is not always easy, especially when confronted by authoritative figures. Yet now, more than ever, is the time when it is most appropriate and necessary for us to do so.
What exactly does reclaiming empowerment mean? According to the Oxford Dictionary, "empower" means "give power to." Given our hectic lifestyles and preference for using thinking to resolve life issues we, as a society, have lost touch with our inner knowing. When reclaiming empowerment we are merely tapping into an amazing powerhouse of inner knowledge and guidance. We have always been powerful—we have merely forgotten just how powerful we are. When listening to the wisdom of the inner knowing we step aside from the mental gymnastics of the mind and reconnect with our inner guidance system!
Our society is organized and structured in such a way that we continually give our power to people who are specialists in their particular field. We trust and accept the diagnoses of medical experts, the technical advice of computer technicians, the legal advice of attorneys and so on. While it is perfectly acceptable to trust the expert knowledge of those who have trained in their respective fields it has often resulted in an inability to access our inherent innermost knowing. This is especially true when this inner knowing, or intuition, relates to matters of individual choice and freedom. All too often when confronted by the voice of perceived authority it is easier to comply than to question.
Why is now the time to reclaim empowerment? We are living in a time of constant change. Many formerly accepted "truths" have been found to be untrue. For example, for years we were told that it was perfectly safe for menopausal women to take Hormone Replacement Therapy. We now know better! Given the constant change and uncertainty in our world ultimately we have no option but to be responsible for our own wellness and wellbeing. This reclaiming is definitely a process; it involves becoming aware of, listening to and responding to the inner knowing, or voice of wisdom.
Ghandi stated, "The outward freedom that we shall attain will only be in exact proportion to the inward freedom to which we may have grown at a given moment. And if this is a correct view of freedom, our chief energy must be concentrated on achieving reform from within".
It is possible in every day situations to become more mindful of the intuitive inner voice. It means stepping out of the mind (or ego) and following our "gut instinct" or intuitive hunch. In most people something either feels right or not right for them. This feeling is often found within the body, especially in the solar plexus, heart or stomach area. The more we listen to this inner voice and follow its guidance the easier life becomes! When doing this we are in a process of reclaiming empowerment.
Indications of disempowerment are evident when an individual has mainly feelings of futility, frustration, anger, resentment, judgment, irritation, depression, guilt, etc. Life feels tough, it's a battlefield out there!
Symptoms of empowerment include feeling calm, peaceful, having acceptance, being joyful, compassionate, being in the flow, etc. Basically there is a feeling of being balanced, or centered.
In reality, it's normal to experience a mix of emotions on a daily basis. Where there is a predominance of the emotions associated with disempowerment (as above) then it would be beneficial to explore possibilities and strategies for reclaiming empowerment.
Basically, our emotions are an indication of where we stand in terms of empowerment. It is not our thinking that holds the key to this awareness, it is our emotions!
In my book, The New World of Self Healing (Llewellyn, 2006), I describe many processes and strategies that will facilitate the process of reclaiming empowerment. Understanding energy is the underlying theme of this book. When we have understanding and acceptance that energy is the basis of life, that it is a powerfully creative force, which we utilize to create our reality, we are then able to manage and work with energy in ways never before imagined. Reclaiming empowerment occurs when we learn to consciously work with the subtle energies.
The benefits of reclaiming empowerment are obvious:
The parents of the young boy I mentioned earlier are now in the process of exploring options for their son's wellbeing they would never have considered previously. They feel challenged and inspired to make decisions that are in alignment with not only their inner knowing, but are also consciously working for their son's highest good. Their actions clearly demonstrate the magic of reclaiming empowerment!