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"I know my power best when I can see it reflected in the eyes of others."
Suzanne Selby Grenager (SGrenager@aol.com) writes "The Art of Living," a monthly column for SpiritSite.com.
Suzanne is a writer, teacher, and life coach who helps people achieve their dreams. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Yoga Journal, and she has contributed to Healing Journeys: The Power of Rubenfeld Synergy.
Suzanne Selby Grenager,
"Coming Into Our Power, Part Three"
Since last we spoke (and I do feel as if weíre speaking, though I do way too much of the talking so far), Iíve been across the country to mostly sunny California Ė and back, to Pennsylvania. As always, I return from that blessed Western land asking myself why anyone would ever choose to live anywhere else.
Thatís because from the moment I step off the plane, I feel almost like a different woman. I come wide awake. As if reborn, I newly smell the roses, coffee, sourdough bread, burritos, and everything else making up the rich, savory mix that is California. Jet lag aside, I feel great there; I feel fully, powerfully myself. Itís a state that can still sometimes seem elusive when Iím "at home," in the stolid state of Pennsylvania. Why?
Being transplanted and "on vacation" is part of it, obviously. But I think my apparent transformation has more to do with principles Iíve begun to explore here before, about coming into our power. Itís a conversation I promised to continue. So here it is. In California, more than other places I visit, I feel quite naturally catapulted into the powerful "full-blooded, soul-driven Self of all" that I spoke of last time in "Part Two".
Often out West, like sometimes back East, I feel my spiritual strength rising from the inside out, in that exhilarating way I also explained last time. But I feel, too, that Iím being mightily effected by what happens outside of and around me. Iím unusually invigorated by the air I smell, the sights I see, and especially, by the people I meet. Like Alice in Wonderland, Iím suddenly, almost magically, impelled to live life large. So whatís going on?
The answer brings me back, first, to Dan, the SpiritSite.com Manís good question about "how I know I have something powerful to offer the world." I know my power best when I can see it reflected in the eyes of others. I get to know who I am most clearly when my powerful self fuels and engages with your powerful self, and vice versa. People pull me out of and show me myself.
Maybe monks living by themselves in caves far from California can be totally empowered, even "enlightened". Iím not sure. But I think we are born alone to be together. And I know for sure that in order for me to fully exercise my personal (meaning spiritual) power Ė to really be me Ė I need you. I need you to see me, to "get" me, to take in, and respond to, my most spirited Self.
To the extent you are able to receive and relate to me, you encourage me to be all that I am, for myself, for you, and for others. And I love to do that for you too.
"Weíre all in the dance togetherÖ all holding up the mirror for each other" is where I left off last time. We donít live in a vacuum. So no wonder we thrive among people who are alive and awake. We love minds and souls that are big and open enough to take us in, and give us back all of who we are, to show us our growing greatness. And, yes, there does seem to be a plethora of such folks out West. So, I probably love visiting California because there are lots of big mirrors there to help me see and be me, at my best.
Okay, I donít want to insult anybody here. There are great souls, great people everywhere. The fact is Iím still choosing to live here, near the East Coast. My point is this. If we are to keep growing in consciousness, compassion Ė and yes, power Ė we have to keep fine-tuning the way we do our lives. And itís tough doing that alone.
Whatever Coast weíre on, I must look to you, and you to me, for clues about how weíre doing (and being), and especially about how we might do (and be) better, with and for each other. The more big, clear mirrors we have to look into, of course, the faster it goes. (And that may be exactly why Iím still hiding out on a farm in PA Ė and not on the fast track in CA!)
For, as I am sure you know from direct personal experience, the Art of Living is a remarkably challenging practice. It can be extremely painful to bump up against other, ego to ego. But we do and must, if weíre to learn what does and doesnít work to create intimate, empowering relationship Ė and so, to be happy.
Iím talking about the seminal relationship with our Self, as well as the countless others we come upon and create, between the miracles of birth and death. We are each otherís divine instruments, on which to practice and grow in our humanity. How do we do that for each other?
We watch, we listen, we touch and feel, we exchange information, and we make adjustments. If you love being with me and I love being with you, then we are doing something right. If we both look and feel comfortable, and are totally free to be our individual selves together, weíre fine and thatís good.
But alas, it is not always thus. Whether as wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, Life Coach, or writer, if I donít see that sparkle in your eye, or hear that lilt in your voice, saying youíre glad to be you, with me, then Iíve got work to do. If the effect Iím having on you is less than scintillating, then my mirror is not clear. There is almost certainly something more for me to learn and grow into about being my powerful self.
So it is through you, dear reader, and through everyone I relate to, that I learn more and more about what I "have to offer the world". In the next column, I may want to explore just what it is Iíve been learning lately about effective relationship. Right now, Iím not sure, but Iíd like to find out by writing about it.
Till then, I would love to hear from you, about your take on the Art of Living. I mean by that both your response to the column, as well as news about your own personal practice. What does and doesnít work for you as you exercise your power in the world? My heartís desire is for this column to become an actual (well, virtual) conversation, where our words might dance together in a powerful, transforming mix. So you email me, okay? Thanks!