The September issue of O Magazine is probably my favorite issue for 2009 because it discusses power. I read the issue from cover to cover during the weekend. It was delicious! I even created several collages with magazine clippings in my copy of Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith (www.kerismith.com). Watch the Ananda Leeke TV webisodes to see what I am talking about.
Here’s my favorite Oprah quote on power:
“For me, there is no real power without spiritual power. A power that comes from the core of who you are and reflects all that you were meant to be. A power that’s connected to the source of things. When you see this kind of power shining through someone in all its truth and certainty, it’s irresistible, inspiring, elevating. I can feel it in myself sometimes, mostly when I’m sharing an insight that I know will have an impact on someone’s life and I can see that they “get it.” I get real joy from helping other people experience aha moments. That is where my power lies. Gary Zukav writes in The Seat of the Soul, “When we align our thoughts, emotions, and actions with the highest part of ourselves, we are filled with enthusiasm, purpose, and meaning… When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of its soul, that is authentic empowerment.” Fulfilling your purpose, with meaning, is what gives you that electrifying “juice” and makes people stand in wonder at how you do it. The secret is alignment: when you know for sure that you’re on course and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, fulfilling your soul’s intention, your heart’s desire, or whatever you choose to call it (they’re all the same thing). When your life is on course with its purpose, you are your most powerful. And you may stumble, but you will not fall.”
What is your definition of power?
What makes you feel powerful?
My definition of power mirrors Oprah’s words. I think power comes from within me. It is a marriage between the masculine and feminine parts of my spirit.
When I breathe in and out deeply, I feel powerful. Deeply loving myself and others also makes me feel powerful. I feel powerful when I pray, sing, write, create art, practice yoga, meditate, chant mantras, say affirmations, and give myself Reiki. Connecting with others makes me feel powerful. Another source of power comes from sharing my gifts and serving others. Learning something new makes me feel powerful too.
Enjoy your day and week!
Peace and Creativity,
PS: Below are more power quotes from women featured in the September issue.
- Buddhist Nun Pema Chodron is one of my Buddhist teachers. Her teachings and books have helped me navigate my life for the past 15+ years. She talked about the power of the pause: “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, breathe deeply, and move on. Chögyam 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 internal discussion, you just pause. And once you start doing it, pausing nurtures you; you begin to prefer it to being all caught up.” http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/omagazine/200909-omag-power-list/6
- Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is an amazing woman. She is the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate from MIT, the first woman and first African-American to chair the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the first African-American woman to serve as president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She discussed power as an equation that is rooted in persistence, preparation, compassion, courage, and connection (I have been using her words as a mantra!): “Follow your passion with persistence, magnified by intense preparation. Use compassion and courage to weave a strong web of connections. Use focused excellence to drive achievements and gain wisdom. It is through the combination of all these things that your power will reveal itself. The magnitude and reach of your power is up to you. You must be prepared; you must commit the time, energy, and effort required to achieve. Be persistent. The passion you exhibit for your ideas and ideals and the compassion you show for others will further enhance your power. Connectivity is key; it is what creates and strengthens your web of opportunity. The more connected you are, and the stronger your connections, the more effective you will be in obtaining and using power to achieve your goals. All of this requires courage: the courage of your convictions, the courage to get started, the courage to keep going.” http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/omagazine/200909-omag-power-list/9
- Kara Walker is one of my favorite artists. I feature her work in my debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One (www.lovestroubadours.com). She reflected on the power of image in her body of artwork: “The work began by thinking about my own body as it encountered the mythologies of the world: I was fed up with the expectations of what a black girl ought to be, but instead of rejecting them outright, I thought I would embrace every concept out there, sort of flouting the notions and taunting those who held them at the same time. I’ve met people who feel they are in complete cahoots with the work, and with my bizarre imagination; people who don’t know what I’m trying to do, who don’t see any irony in the work; and people who take it as a personal affront. There’s something beautiful about that discomfort, and about the potential for images to contain such raw emotion. These pictures—they’re the way history sees us; they’re derogatory images of blackness with deep psychic pain attached, and I use and mess around with all of it. But I’m not looking for conclusions, or meaning. I’m not interested in that. It’s about unleashing the unmentionable, the antisocial, the sociopathic—and then walking away. To let these images work their magic, their horror, their power—that’s tremendous.” http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/omagazine/200909-omag-power-list/12
- Author Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of The Omega Institute always touches my heart. I met and talked to her at the Sacred Circles: Women’s Spirituality Conference held at the Washington National Cathedral in February. She wrote that she finds true power when she trusts her soul’s voice: “I feel peaceful yet strong, gentle yet courageous” – http://www.oprah.com/slideshow/omagazine/200909-omag-finding-power. She also explored the power of mamimsa: Mamisma is not to be confused with machisma, which is the sister of machismo. The world does not need patriarchy to be replaced by matriarchy. It needs mamisma. It needs women to harness their hearts and drive the chariots of love into the center of town. It needs men to choose empathy over aggression. It needs each of us—and especially the most powerful among us—to put away the drive for ego power and take up the banner of protection, inclusion, and care. I have hope about this. Over the decades, I’ve seen mamisma gaining strength. I’ve seen it in my husband, a jock from West Texas who harnessed mamisma when he became a single father to his 5-year-old son; I’ve seen it in business leaders who are beginning to include the needs of their people in the bottom line; I’ve seen it in young women who want to redefine power itself, to change the rules and the priorities and bring the totality of their intelligence into their work and their relationships and families. And now I’m seeing it in my son, poised to use the power of love to pave a boulevard of opportunity and joy for his own baby. So here I sit, in a strange café, gripping my cell phone, awaiting a call. If anyone asks, I’ll say mamisma made me do it.” http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/200909-omag-power-stories/3