When starting to write this blog today, I happened to be sitting opposite a native English speaking Yoga Teacher. Now I'm the sort who believes in life giving (and taking) opportunities so when talking to her about the translation of the word power, we ended up having a really interesting conversation about both the word and everything connected to it. Plus exchanging ideas for future work. :)
In both Swedish and English the word can have positive and negative connotations. The significance of the expression power exchange can, just like our conversation, branch off in all kind of directions. Becuase at its best, this is what we people can do - share and exchange power. Just like everything else changing, so does power in its natural state. At its worse the roles we are taking and having in relation to each other can prevent real meetings where one or the other tries to dominate the other. Just like classical drama exercises of domination and subjugation, as described by Keith Johnstone, the famous father of improvisation. We are animals at one instinctive level and if we don't become conscious of it we can misuse power in many ways.
When I was working in a school this spring, we used a few exercises of domination - subjugation but also of empowerment, which mainly has a positive meaning.
We tried out an exercise where one makes a shape or figure to portray feelings of victimisation and thereafter change to those of empowerment. How does it feel in your body? What feelings do we connect to these body shapes or statues as we call them?To make conscious those negative thoughts/feelings/habits that can make us victims of circumstances. Rather than making the best of the situation and, where possible, rise to the challenge.
Back to the woman I met today, Aprill (sic!). We talked about how sharing and giving away power actually gives you more power. I believe that awareness of power, inside us on an interpersonal level, as well as power in relation to others is very important, especially in today's society.
That awareness can be expressed bodily and psychologically just as it is done in many yoga asanas. And that balance between one's power and letting it go at the same time.
From feeling and acknowledging power in ourselves, we do not have to prove it to anyone else.
Just as one of my all time quotes says: "Confidence isn't walking into a oom thinking you're better then everyone else. It's walking in and not having compare in the first place." *
That, to me, is achievement of empowerment!
* Author unknown