Power, Parents, Praise, and Paris.


The last month has presented much to work with, the outer world inviting us to reflect on the inner.  I find myself deeply invested in the question of how we as humans come to know the power of who we are and how it effects the world.  As a rites of passage facilitator, I believe that through the process of initiation individuals are able to know and embrace their inner power in a way that reveals the gift of who they are and what they have to offer the world. Yet I also feel acutely aware of the other players we continually encounter along the way, those who enhance, encourage, challenge, or manipulate our sense of power and Self.  Perhaps these outer influences are greater upon those yet to undergo a healthy initiatory experience? Either way they act to render us more vulnerable to the outside world.  


Our parents play the primary authority role in our lives. This authority operates from when we are born and sometimes unconsciously into our late adulthood.  Parenting is the most challenging task humans can offer themselves. The primary task of any healthy parent is to invest love and life into another being. They are responsible for all aspects of the child’s development and then have to let go as they come into the realization of their child’s becoming their own unique being and is rightly investing their energy and life force in the places they choose, regardless of their parent’s approval. No longer being preoccupied with pleasing our parents is a major part of growing up.  When the roles long practiced with our parents shift, we start to come into a new dynamic of stepping into ourselves, which can be profoundly powerful for parent and child.  This process in and of itself is a significant rite of passage.   


Praise is a beautiful practice of paying tribute to the good we notice, a practice that is so often underused and yet overwhelmingly powerful. If we are able to deliberately turn our attention to praise rather than it’s less useful and certainly less comfortable cousin: negative judgment.  In practicing praise; that is making an effort to focus our attention on appreciating a person for their attempts to do something that is meaningful to them, rather than the quality of the result they might achieve, we learn the power of our attention. We learn how we have choice and that through that choice we define the quality of people’s lives.

The horror of the Paris murders and the subsequent Mali massacre, events that will undoubtedly have powerful repercussions for generations to come, call us as humans to sit with what it means to feel unsafe in the world. The question: how do individuals choose to demonstrate their powerful presence in this world at this time? Do we chose to stand with violence? Or do we stand with courage in the presence of what scares us until we see the truth of that? Or with fighting or surrendering to some form of peace in or outside ourselves, etc..?  And after all these swirling questions, I am left asking how do we invite understanding and compassion in these moment, rather than perpetuate the fear and anger that causes these situations in the first place?  What powerful presence do we chose to embody?

My next four blogs will delve deeply into each of these topics, I will be exploring the role of power and also the practices that help us step more fully  into who we are as together we create the world we wish to live in!