Feb. 5, 2017, 3:54 p.m.
The path to empowerment is a long and winding road that is full of obstacles. Our culture puts limitations and expectations on us about how we should look and who we should be. It makes finding our true selves a difficult task, but we must persevere. How we feel about ourselves can sometimes be dictated by the opinions of others; the impact of the media and our disconnection from our true selves in the quest to please others. In our lives, we are trained and conditioned to care what others think and sometimes paralyzes us from standing in our power. I have learned over the course of my life that your voice is powerful and not speaking up does a disservice to yourself and ultimately others. The path to our hearts is an incredible worthwhile journey that can end in peace and ultimately self-acceptance.
I think Marianne Williamson said it best when she said:
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you...And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
How do you step into your power?
“The most common way people give up their power is thinking they don’t have any” ~Alice Walker
First, you are powerful. Say it with me. I am powerful. Close your eyes and feel it, your heart is beating, your breath is strong, you are powerful. Do things that scare you? Do things that make you uncomfortable and learn from that discomfort? Allow that that fear to become your courage. Look out into the world and take inspiration in people standing up and speaking out against in exclusion and injustice. Join them or find something you can do that enhances your power.
Connect with your truth
Tell yourself a new story about you. Why are so hard on yourself? Start a practice of empathy and compassion towards yourself. Define yourself as a worthy being, let go of self-hate and violence towards ourselves. It is time to give yourself a break: “You are worthy. You are enough.”
Start a gratitude practice. There are so many things to pause and take a moment to enjoy and be grateful. Contentment reminds us, again that we have enough, we do enough, and we are enough. There is this belief that we need to buy something, or create a new you to be content with our life. Remember there is extraordinary joy in an ordinary moment we just need to find it. Believe it or not, we can just be without any expectations. More is not more remember less is more.
To quote the Beatles, Let it Be. Surrender is not “giving up”, but rather, it is letting go. Surrender is the action of contentment and gratitude, and knowing when to surrender creates peace, well-being, and space for new experiences. Dwelling in the past does not allow you to focus on the present. Being here right now allows to be conscious, aware and connected to who we and who we are is powerful.
Please remember the path to empowerment is a personal experience that is guided by our ability to connect with ourselves, to let go of what no longer serves us well, and to create opportunities for empathy, compassion, and humanity. Empowerment starts within, and each and every one of us is capable and ready for a powerful existence. After all, the ability to be powerful has been with you all along!
Dianne Bondy is a celebrated yoga teacher, social justice activist and leading voice of the Yoga For All movement. Her inclusive view of yoga asana and philosophy inspires and empowers thousands of followers around the world - regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability.
On May 11th, she will present the keynote "Radical Change: The Path to Self-Acceptance" at NEDIC's biennial Body Image and Self-Esteem Conference. To view the full program and register visit: nedic.ca/conference-2017. Register before early bird rates end on February 24th!