WHAT IS TRUE POWER? I sat on a hillside in Vermont at the age of about 28. I was launched from my parents’ lives. I had a Masters Degree in High School Guidance Counseling. I had a very good job at a well thought of high school. Although my parents were amazing people who had shared their hard won answers with me, their answers were not my answers. As I looked out over the amazing green of the Vermont hills, I was restless and unsatisfied. If this was what success in life was, it was not enough. My parents’ answers were not enough. This job and its opportunities were not enough. I sat with a troubled heart and asked myself, “What is right way to live life?”
The answer came back like a boomerang, “Find the answer to the question, “What is true power?” That was it. I knew that was it. With lightening speed, I had my rudder. This question has propelled me throughout my life. I never hesitated to use it as my true North. It has been my life raft when I am overboard in a rough sea. It has been the comfort when I feel like I am on the precipice when any sane person would go back to safety. It brings me home, as I return after a long, dark night on the trail.
To find the answer to “What is true power?”, I took many steps. I claimed an identity as spiritual journeyer. I learned to trust compelling messages from within – no matter what I called its source. I have had many names for it over the years – my intuition, my soul, the essence or, the invisible choreography. They are all good. They are all inadequate. I developed my capacity to follow my gut messages. I learned the difference between rantings of my ego and my home in the consciousness of the present. I built my courage, my identity with forces beyond the rational mind and a willingness to live in the unknown.
Now, at 67, I feel I have made the journey and live in the answer – true power lies within. My every choice is dedicated to living this way. I guide myself with questions. How do I trust my heart, my deepest stillness, my moments of presence in this moment? How do I find the way with my inner strengths, rather then jump to problem solving, or, rational thought? “What is the way to the path of true power now?”.
I am sometimes wracked with fear. Like today, I am transitioning from a two week vacation back to my home. Along with the beauty of nature, an inspiring retreat and good friends, much vacation time has been spent on questions. Where do I live and what do I write next? I think I have new direction, but, with the transition back to my “real” life on the horizon, I have taken to my bed, paralyzed with fear. I ate ice cream, I napped, I read a romance novel. Finally, I put down all my escape strategies and lay still. I closed my eyes and breathed into my fear – releasing its grip, its warnings. I rested into my body. Then, I reached deep inside and asked for direction. There are no absolute answers – visual or words. But, soon, my body got me up and wandered me around the house, landing here at my computer writing this memoir.
“What is true power?” the young woman asked. Forty years later I have the answer, “True power lies within.” Everything real flows from that.