Not too long ago, I found myself feeling disempowered. I was frustrated about my disempowerment, so I was using the fact that I was feeling disempowered to disempower myself even further. The situation was this: I had recently done a group exercise with a bunch of colleagues. At the end of the exercise, it seemed that everyone else had taken away something huge from the exercise, while I felt pretty lukewarm about the whole thing.
It is safe to say that this is familiar territory for me. In fact, I usually end up feeling this way. When other people get excited and emotional about something, I feel relatively flat.
I distinctly remember being in Versailles, walking through the palace that had almost bankrupted France over four hundred years ago. It was miserable getting to the palace (it actually hailed. HAILED. In MAY. In FRANCE), but once we were there, we could stay inside and check out the history.
The thing was, I felt kind of bored. Sure, it was beautiful, in that garish kind of way that only stuff created and owned by royalty and millionaires can be. But it was all the same. And I didn't have any connection with it. It was just… stuff. Stuff that was gold.
This was a struggle for me, just like my experience with my colleagues was. Was I broken in some way? What was missing in me that prevented me from having the same experience that my wife did when she walked through the Hall of Mirrors?
Shortly after that experience with my colleagues, I was grumbling and playing the victim. "Meh" I said loudly, "this is bullshit". One of the leaders invited me to empower the experience - but that just sounded like more of the same. How could I empower something when I had had no experience to empower?
With time, and some coaching, I came to realize that there was an opportunity to empower the fact that I had had no experience. If I really empowered that, what might be available for me to discover about myself? What was missing in that moment? What was the nugget that I could take away from that moment?
This is the challenge in living a fully empowered life. We generally believe that to live a fully empowered life, things have to happen to use a certain way. "How can you be empowered by being mugged?" "How can I be empowered by getting assigned a terrible instructor in a class I have to take?"
I don't know -- how can you?
This generally infuriates people (including myself). But it's the truth. It's not on other people to tell you how to empower something, it is on you. It is always a choice. If you've been mugged, what gold is available for you in that dirt? What can you learn or take away from that experience? What would be empowering?
Be careful - this can be slippery. You might think that going out and getting a gun will be empowering, because then no one can ever mug you again. But that is actually just you playing victim to the fact that you were mugged in the first place. When looking for your gold, ask yourself, "Does this really empower me to step into my highest and greatest self?"
Take on the practice of finding your nugget. Find what the piece of gold is available from each situation - and you'll be much closer to living a fully empowered life.
What is the most recent complaint you've had? What is the gold available to you in that? If you really empower the experience, what have you gained from it?
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