As she walked toward me she radiated a sense of power that commanded my attention. She was the biggest one there, amongst the already mammoth creatures. And yet, though the most powerful, she also felt the most connective. It was as if, through her power, she preferred to command stillness when she could command force. She felt to me like mother nature, who has the power for hurricanes and earthquakes, but more commonly chooses soft winds and sweet rains.
I asked my guide what her name was, and as she translated it from Thai, it was as if I knew the translation before she said it. It means “Soft and Sweet”, she said. Of course it does. Leave it to the largest and most powerful of these already intense creatures to also be the softest and the sweetest.
It was in that moment that I knew why I had been drawn there. I knew this elephant was my teacher.
With every softening life takes me through (even the painful times that lead to further softening), it amazes me just how much more powerful I become. It’s as if every release of something I believed I needed to control, relaxes me back into the sweetness of life, automatically bringing me that much closer to harnessing the kind of power that can move mountains.
Yes – it’s exactly the opposite of what we think it usually takes to move mountains.
What if the power that resides within us was never meant to be intermingled with the force with which we often use it? What if the real “force” behind our power was our ability to dwell in the softness and simplicity of this human experience?
The Power Within is Stronger than the Power Underneath You
A few weeks earlier I learned to ride a motorbike. During my first lesson I overzealously assumed it would be easy. It only took me 60 seconds until I was frozen in fear, having already come within an inch of crashing the bike…badly.
When we observe something with our minds we can’t always experience the subtleties that are felt when we engage with it. For the motorbike, I never imagined the subtleties of what it took to give it power, knowing just how much to move my hand to propel it, and just how gently so as to not kill myself. The gentle nuances between freedom and disaster were frightening to me, to the point that I developed severe doubts that I could harness the fine balance between the two. The adventurous being I knew myself to be almost gave in.
But through guidance and a lot of softening and surrendering, I quickly learned that it was never about controlling the bike. The control I thought I would have, came through slowing down to the calm sweetness of the experience, and trusting I was safe even though the machine underneath me had the real control. Ultimately, the learning curve wasn’t about learning to drive the bike, but to ride it.
What Happens When We Stop Thinking About It, and Start Feeling It
What’s so interesting about power is that we use the word interchangeably for all sorts of things that imply command. The power that the motorbike possesses to propel you forward with such force is far different from the power that we humans have to open hearts and minds, to create lasting change, or to set an intention and arrive there.
And the difference between these types of power needs to be felt rather than explained. Because, ultimately, your ability to harness your own power, lies more in the feeling of it than anything else.
Tune into your body and begin to notice the parts of you that feel more powerful. Where do you feel lit up? Where do you feel more capable? Passionate? Determined? You’re power is in there.
Where that power stems from within you, notice that it’s as if you possess a force that could move mountains. That just within that feeling, you know anything is possible.
So Then Why Haven’t You Been Doing Just That?
If we can really move mountains, what is it that stops us from using all of that energy within us to actually move mountains in one fell swoop?
Just like the humongous power of the elephant, and the powerful engine of the motorbike, not all of that energy is meant to be used at once. There is power in having it all at once. There is power in being it all at once. But rarely is there power in doing or exerting or showing it all at once.
If we’re not careful, subtle, loving, present, or sweet with our power, that force leaves our body and gets shot like energetic fireworks out to whoever is in the vicinity. The same as if I put all the gas on the motorbike at once, or if we were to scare the elephant into believing it was unsafe and cause a stampede. And though, like fireworks, our power as humans can cause beautiful displays, it can also cause dangerous explosions and take out an eye of an unsuspecting bystander.
The only way we can safely harness our power as humans, is to settle into the ease, softness, and sweetness of it all.
And so today, I ask you – where can you soften just a little? Where is the sweetness of life calling you to soften even more? Go there – bask in that experience, then tell me just how powerful you truly are.