Empowerment and Inclusiveness

Wendy Palmer

In exploring Adam Kahane’s notion of Power and Love, I have been using the lens of how these forces express themselves in energetic patterns in our body. I use the term empowerment as a way to define the energy of power and inclusiveness as a way to define the energy of love. My inquiry led me to ask what is the foundation of life force that leads to the experience to empowerment and inclusiveness.

We are at the most fundamental level a collection of energy – molecules and particles, “…connected with each other and held in place by invisible waves that pulse many trillions of times a second.” George Leonard, The Silent Pulse

We have the capacity to participate in the way these waves, particles and molecules organize and relate with the surrounding environment. If we don’t take responsibility for organizing and shaping our energy we will be come lost in repetitive survival patterns shaped by our culture, education and our family.  We may understand, intellectually that we need a balance of power and love, independence and connection, confidence and humility and yet when we are stressed we are unable to behave in a way that reflects this knowledge. Survival habits in our body are so deep and powerful that our good ideas pale and shrivel in moments of stress and overwhelm. So, what are we to do?

We can begin by examining our survival patterns.  We can observe the way these waves, particles and molecules organize in our bodies as constriction, dispersal or both. Whatever the pattern it gives a message to the surrounding environment.  Animals and small children know before we know when we are mad, sad, glad and afraid.  This means that our bodies are giving that message before our minds realize that is what we are doing. Working with the body’s energy we avoid the complex dialogue of the mind and can recognize the beginning of constriction and shift to a centered pattern directly.

Organizing and shaping our energy takes clarity, concentration and discipline. We need to be familiar with the shift from collapse and contraction to dignity and expansion. It is helpful to have a clear and precise process to regain our center. Many times we need more than – take a breath, we need to understand how to breathe, stand and sit.  It is clear that when we breathe, stand and sit properly we use a part of our brain that accesses creativity, innovation and big picture thinking. When we breathe, stand and sit with constriction our brain capacity narrows and we begin to think in terms of security and safety.

Through repetition of the centering process we can recover a more balanced way of responding to stressful situations so that inclusiveness – big picture thinking and creativity, and empowerment – confidence and clarity, become a valid option for our bodies in response to the intensity of stress and conflict.

Inclusiveness is more than an idea – it is an experience, a felt sense of being welcomed or welcoming someone into one’s personal territory. The message – we are in this together, is communicated through the non-verbal cues that are activated by energy patterns that affect posture and mood. The pattern of inclusiveness is most effective when energy is organized and shaped in an expansive circle.  The circle expands so that people and things are invited into ones territory or personal space activating a sense of interconnection.

Empowerment manifests through a posture of dignity and a sensation of confidence that is a pattern of energy collecting in a particular area of the body. It can be felt in our core as physical strength. This sense of dignity, confidence and strength provides the energy for action. The pattern of action is most effective when energy is organized and shaped in a triangle. The triangle has the capacity to pierce through resistance and carry our intention out into the world. When our intention is clarified, shaped and energized within our body, it can penetrate into the world and sustain itself in the face of conflict or resistance.

Woven throughout the entire process of centering, inclusiveness and empowerment is the notion of inspiration. When we are inspired we feel as if there is something more than just our little self at work. Inspiration makes us feel bigger and often we experience that we are a conduit or a vehicle for something coming through us.  We can encourage this experience by relating with people or things – mountains, oceans and such – that have inspired us at some point in our lives.  We invite that inspiration to come through us by remembering that we are not solid, we are collection of energy – molecules and particles.  We are actually quite porous and there is plenty of room for elements of inspiration. Instead of ‘going it alone’ or having to be sure that we have other people in our corner, we can use inspiration is a resource to encourage positive action.

Shifting from our reactive individuated self to our centered interconnected self is tapping our natural basic goodness. Commitment and discipline help us to grow the habit of basic goodness so we don’t have to relinquish our good ideas in moments of stress and overwhelm.  We can embody a balance of power and love, independence and connection, confidence and humility in all parts of our life.