Power Through Surrender
March 31, 2019
The other day, I was telling my therapist that I had learned I was more resilient than I thought I was. She said, “Not just resilient but powerful.” And that stopped me dead. All the images of what I viewed as powerful went through my head: Mel Gibson as Braveheart, The Rock smashing his way to victory in whatever movie he was in, armies rolling over their enemies, rich people shaping the rules to suit them because they can. You get the point. And no, I did not fit any of my ideas of “powerful”. I felt weak from not being able to exercise for the past five years. I felt powerless because my life had been derailed by medical trauma and illness. So, saying I felt powerful just felt silly.
But then, when I bulked, she started listing some of the things I had accomplished and I had an “aha” moment. I realized that my idea of being powerful had come from the masculine world, ideas shaped by the way we’ve been taught history (a retelling of battles and wars with emphasis on the victor) media and our entertainment industry. But being powerful isn’t always about physical strength, fighting, conquering, or pushing through the pain, is it?
No. Because what I had tapped into for healing was a different type of power: the power of feminine energy. (Every person, whether male or female has both feminine and masculine energy, and we all need both.)
Some traits of feminine energy are: softening, nurturing, allowing, empathy, and “being” instead of “doing”. Can you see how these feminine aspects are important tools for healing a nervous system disorder?
I’d learned healing isn’t about asserting your will over your body, fighting it or trying to force it into submission. It’s about surrendering without giving up, turning empathy inward, staying open, being present, receiving and letting go.
After the outside world of western medicine failed me, what finally helped me begin to heal was spending time in meditation, opening my heart and receiving guidance from my intuition. This is inner wisdom we all have access to, but we have to sit still long enough to receive it.
I learned how to stop my thoughts when they tried to drag me back to the ICU, to the pain, to the losses, anchoring them to the present moment, not by force, but with lovingkindness toward myself.
During a time when my days were full of never-ending physical pain, crushing fatigue, loss, anxiety and grief, I learned how to choose love over fear. I salvaged peace from the wreckage. Peace that came from sitting down on the battlefield and tilting my face to the sun with a smile.
Maybe powerful is the wrong word, because the association with physically overpowering or conquering something is strong. Maybe a better word is empowered. I feel empowered.
What about you? Can you say you feel empowered by what you’ve been through?