Finding my Power

Finding my Power

I have been thinking about a popular quote by Marianne Williamson the past few days. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.” I am a huge fan of Marianne Williamson, so I have heard this quote many times.  And honestly, it has never been my favorite.  I have always found it counter-intuitive.  Who would not want to be powerful beyond measure?  Of course, when I ask this question, I am defining “powerful” using our standard societal norms.  Powerful means money.  Powerful means importance.  Powerful means influence. Even though I spent my childhood in a power void, I have had some of this societal power in my adult life.  I have run large projects.  I have supervised many people.  I have managed large corporate budgets, while being paid a substantial salary for my work.  I have had the power that we strive for in this culture.  I wasn’t a millionaire, but I was doing ok. Now that I am in recovery, I do realize this is not the power Marianne is referring to.  This kind of power is not scary.  This kind of power doesn’t require courage.  It suppresses the insecurities and pain that must be addressed to become powerful beyond measure.  Most importantly, this kind of power is temporary … even fleeting. But I still don’t believe that being powerful beyond measure is our greatest fear.  I think it is the path to that powerful existence that is so terrifying.  In order to find our power,...
The Dark Side

The Dark Side

Everyone has a dark side.  Of course, some are darker than others.  My dark side is pretty dark.  Countless rapes and beatings can turn a heart cold.  I have known about my anger for many years.  I am comfortable with my anger.  I know how to express it safely.  Nobody gets hurt.  I acknowledge the anger.  And eventually, I am able to integrate those feelings.  And I feel a little more whole. My latest memories are dark.  After 6 years of recovery work, these memories are exposing a level of rage that even surprises me.  It is definitely not my standard anger.  It is different.  I don’t feel mad.  I don’t feel anything at all.  There is no empathy and compassion.  There is no acknowledgment that others have feelings.  This rage doesn’t care if others live or die.  It is scary.  And it is probably what drives a person to murder. And that is what these new memories are about.  In my teenage years, as my hope for a better life turned to desperation, I looked for other ways to end my slavery.  If nobody was willing to help me, I would help myself.  The first memory of an attempt on my father’s life doesn’t really qualify as an attempt.  I had just finished watching the movie, 9 to 5.  I watched as Lily Tomlin fed rat poison to her boss and I thought that sounded like a good idea.  So I looked all over the house for a box that resembled the one in the movie.  I could not find a box anywhere with a skull and crossbones. ...
I Forgot What?

I Forgot What?

A couple of weeks ago, my external life took a back seat to my internal life.  Although my external life is pretty good these days, my internal life is pretty ugly.  It is a series of traumatic experiences with emotions to match.  When it is time to pay attention to the internal life, it means my childhood memories are coming back.  And I had better pay attention.  I had better be ready for some depression, some sadness, some anger that rivals a toddler’s tantrums, some anxiety and some intense exhaustion.  Needless to say, the external life starts to slow down a bit. Don’t get me wrong, the basic stuff still happens.  The kids eat.  They go to school.  I go to work.  But phone calls get missed.  The emails pile up.  And obviously, the writing just doesn’t happen.  There are entire nights of staring at the wall.  There are a lot of naps.  There are many self-care visits to therapeutic practitioners.  Over the years, I have learned what it takes to face the memories.  These coping mechanisms are critical to my recovery.  If I don’t do them, there will be one result.  I will get sick.  I will get so sick that there will be no external life.  Everything will stop.  And as a single mother, that is simply not an option. The latest memories are intense.  As my coping mechanisms get stronger, so do the emotions I must address.  These memories are clarifying a few things.  First and foremost, I am accidentally alive.  I already thought that.  But now I know it for certain.  My ability to cheat death was...