Although I haven’t wanted to say it aloud, it’s undeniable. I’ve been feeling funky in 2013. I’ve been nourishing myself with great projects, juicy reading material, healthy plant-based food, a lot of echinacea, ginger, and throat coat tea through bouts of laryngitis, an upper respiratory infection, and the flu, and yet I’ve been a little, how do I say it, pissy. In my own skin. And the more I try not to energize such thinking, the more my body and my environment keep reminding me that I’d like to time travel back to the end of 2012 and ring in the New Year anew.
As I was reading some of my favorite soul food yesterday, O, The Oprah Magazine, in an interview between Oprah and Justice Sonia Sotomayor I stumbled upon a statement that upon rephrasing into a question I think once and for all has shaken me out of my New Year malaise. What is intruding on me owning my personal power? To give some context, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was discussing growing up with an alcoholic father, in poverty, struggling with juvenile diabetes, and living with parents who barely spoke English. Real reasons to be pissy! She positioned these experiences as the stuff that would “intrude on what most people think of as happiness,” which prompted me to ask the question of the year about what is intruding for me.
Of course it’s me, no surprises there, but it’s in what way I’m intruding that I hadn’t considered.
A friend and colleague who I respect a lot offered her thoughts to me last week about my constant succession of sicknesses. “Alexia, look at where you are judging – yourself – others – all of the above, and consider how that might be showing up for you in your health?”
I haven’t wanted to. It’s no fun to suggest to yourself that you are choosing sickness. And certainly, I’m not choosing it in the conventional sense. On paper I’ve done everything I can to ward off germs, from keeping my hands off my face to dodging sneezes to sleeping 8-9 hours each night. Yet the results have been almost comical – fevers, rashes, nausea, hacking…
What I have been choosing that has led me to live this undesirable experience of health is an idea of personal power rooted in control. And the harder I’ve tried to control a few choice areas – how much I could earn in one month, my food intake, obscene amounts of time for personal reflection and spiritual practice, the more I’ve allowed myself to feel out of control in the areas that matter most – my thoughts, my sense of self, and my happiness.
As I’ve been steeped in researching what empowers people to be of maximum influence, and exploring strategies and techniques for designing curriculum to build this competency in high potential women, I’ve lost sight of some of the foundational habits of influential people – self-awareness, flexibility, and capacity for fun!
As you think about areas in your life and work where you too may be feeling funky, whether it’s in your management of others, your ability to elicit buy-in to your plans, or perhaps it’s in your self-care or friendships, see what happens when you ask yourself, What’s intruding on my sense of personal power? By applying one of the lessons I learned this week, that sometimes the answer lies in easing up rather than on rooting down, gift yourself with the opportunity to sit in the wonder of the question without attaching to how you feel like you should manipulate, I mean, answer it.