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"The Art of Living" Column featured at SpiritSite.com is copyright (c) 2000 by Suzanne Selby Grenager.  All rights reserved.

"The mere prospect of letting ourselves be a fraction of how powerful we actually are can be terrifying."


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 Two"

"Realizing you had something powerful to offer the world Ė how did that happen?" 

This, you may recall from "Coming Into Our Power, Part One," is a question I was asked by my SpiritSite friend, Dan, and found interesting, because I didnít know the answer. I took up the topic in this space last time. But some 1000 words later, I saw Iíd barely scratched the surface. I even got the feeling that Ė uh oh! Ė another book may be brewing.

Be that as it may, Iím curious to see what our Muse has cooking today, about this meaty matter of coming into our own. What, I wonder, can we learn together about how to express ourselves with ever more power and grace?

But letís back up from how I came to know I had power to burn, and say this. The mere prospect of letting ourselves be a fraction of how powerful we actually are can be terrifying. Even if we know how to wield our power well, which most of us donít Ďcause itís a tricky business, hardly anyone among us dares do it. Why? Because we have a real (and possibly, realizable) fear of losing whatever little corner we have on being loved.

If Iím any indication, the last thing we mortals want is to be abandoned and unloved. So why would we risk threatening other peopleís sense of self by showing up as big, bigger, biggest, almost certainly inviting their jealousy and ire? I for one consider it a remarkable act of courage every time someone "comes out" as a Powerful Person.

Thatís right. Jealous as it sometimes still makes me, I applaud those among us willing to stand up and be counted as what my friend Shalom calls "freaks". Gurus, teachers, authors, artists, and radical, "out-there" Ė real Ė people of every ilk; my heart goes out in gratitude to all who dare show us their faces (and their lives!) full-force, no matter how weird or personally flawed they may turn out to be. God bless them every one.

For coming into our own particular Ė and perhaps peculiar Ė brand of power is often terrifying, at least for me. At the same time, after holding ourselves in check for years, if not (who knows?) for lifetimes, itís also exhilarating beyond words Ė to be authentically and powerfully our selves. Phew!

Itís this very sense of exhilaration Ė to finally answer Danís question Ė that regularly augurs for me both the existence of my growing "spiritual" power, and that I am about to called upon to use it. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning already exhilarated, full of anticipation Ė and power. Other times, I might find myself suddenly in the midst of a situation, like a call from a desperate friend in need, where Iím asked to show my mettle.

Whatever the external circumstances, though, itís the exhilaration that tells me, from the inside out, that my "power muscle" is in for a workout. Like it or not, itís time to show the world again what I am made of, and how it is that I have grown!

"Somethingís coming, something big," as the West Side Story song goes. Sometimes I know exactly what the "big" thing Iím about to do is. My eyes may not even be open before the sense of excitation in my gut is followed by a torrent of compelling words through my brain. I have to jump out of bed at once to start writing them down (and perhaps, make a trip to the bathroom as well). Talk about visceral inspiration!

Other times, Iím not so sure what form my impending self-expression will take. But the excitement in my gut alerts me that, one way or another, Iím going to be offering as much or more of myself to the world than Iíve ever done before. In those cases, where the territory feels new, my exhilaration may be matched by that terror I talked about.

Lest you think I exaggerate about the terror, listen up. I all but threw up in the public restroom before teaching my first yoga class, at the Education Department, where I worked in the 70ís. And I got certifiably (bedridden) ill, with two different diseases, during two different leadership opportunities at the Kripalu Center in the Ď80ís. These were all things I wanted to do, was capable of doing, and to my credit, did for the most part do, sick as I was! Go figure, because for, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, Iím not what is normally meant by a "shy person."

I still get frightened when asked to express my power more visibly in the world, but the intensity of the fear has lessened. The best news, though, is that when I finally get down to doing whatever "powerful" thing it is Iím being called to do, my fear gets blown out of the water byÖanother power surge.

Yep. Expressing our most potent parts is a big trip, at least for me. The exhilaration of anticipation is nothing compared to the thrill of going through with it. When I choose to be all I can be, I get sky-highÖI was going to say on God, but thatís not it, since Iím not sure what or who God is. Itís more like me I get high on. Not, I hope it goes without saying, the sniveling, ego-driven personal little me, thank God (she can be such a bore).

No, I get high on the full-blooded, soul-driven Self of All me. I get a tantalizing taste that I am Ė and you are Ė nothing short of divine, which my dictionary defines as being "of superhuman or surpassing excellence." Thatís us all right. And itís when I am in my element, cooking on all four burners, that I am absolutely certain that Iím not alone here. We all have "something powerful to offer the world." Namely, the perfectly unique and precious powerhouse that each of us potentially is. Look in the mirror. Check it out.

Iím out of space if not out of words Ė again. So, dear reader, our power discourse is "to be continued" yet again. Because, if feeling it, from the inside out, is the first way I know Iíve got "something powerful to offer the world," then observing and fine-tuning the effect my powerful "offering" is having on others, from the outside in, is surely the second. Weíre all in the dance together; weíre all holding up the mirror for each other. So, next time, letís look at how to tell if we are getting through Ė and making that all-important difference in the world. Meanwhile, more power to you!

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