5 min read

Resting in my power and peace

Reflecting on what it means to be powerful and how it manifests in my life
Resting in my power and peace
Embodying the power and ferocity in my own way

It is 2.30 in the afternoon on this cool, sunny mid-March Tuesday. I have finished my clients for the day and I have a half hour before my friend comes over. I sit on my couch and think to myself, “Ah, a half hour to do nothing…let me set my phone aside and doze.” I smile as I realize I chose to rest over productivity.

It has been a month since I worked on my book. I have a few client notes to get done. We need to pack up our house. Yet I chose to rest.

I spent the last week of February at a retreat in Portugal. We micro-dosed on Iboga, a wise plant medicine from the Bwiti tradition in Gabon and we learned two new Tantric Buddhism practices of the wrathful feminine forms. It was a powerful week for us nine retreatrants. My peers were having breakthroughs. I enjoyed a restful time. Often during the week, I found myself wondering if I was doing it right…if I was missing something. And each time Iboga whispered, “This is what you have worked for. Enjoy it. There is nothing more to be done.”

I found that hard to believe. It was uncomfortable to think, “This is it. I have arrived. I am liberated.” The gall. At a cellular level, I know it to be true. I have realized my true nature of being utterly and completely liberated. And there was resistance to accept this realization.

Because if I allowed myself to accept that I am liberated, what would I even work for…or towards? Wouldn’t life become pointless?

I came away with these embers. I have continued the practices on the manifestations of the wrathful deities. These are energizing practices. As a person who struggles with mornings, wavering energy levels, and excruciating pain, these practices have felt empowering. For the last few days, after I finish the energizing bits of the practice, I find myself surrendering into a supported child’s pose. I hug my bed pillow under my chest and abdomen and allow myself to melt. I hear Palden Lhamo whisper to me, “Rest in your power.”

Today I found immense joy when I surrendered to rest while being in my power. It was the sense of being able to do anything but needing to do nothing.

I stayed. As I returned to seated silent meditation, I felt the direct recognition of Rigpa, the inherent, primordial awareness or pure consciousness that is unconditioned and free from conceptual elaboration, the essence of one's mind. There was no chatter about writing my book, or judgment of my wandering mind. I had a sense of everything and total freedom from all of it.

I understood the power of knowing my power. This power goes beyond confidence, beyond believing that I can achieve anything I want. This is the power that allows me to be just as I am, without doing. It is my fullest expression. I am Buddha.

When we left the retreat, we were told to live the next two weeks just as we would like life to be. I was sick the week I got back. Uncharacteristically, I took the week off. I spent time napping, sipping tea, and of course with my practices. I prioritized the new practices I had learned. In the last few months, I had been feeling anxious about little things and would often have an internal dialogue seeking reassurance through prayer. When I got back, I stopped doing that. I was able to trust and go with the flow.

During one of our relationship check-ins, I surprised myself when I said to Sid, “For once in my life I am happy. And my happiness does not depend on anyone or an outcome.” He acknowledged that he sees me living that truth. Of course, my pain and mood mean my energy wavers, but my mind and my spirit are free.

I have understood that to be free is to be powerful…a state where one’s worth does not depend on the validation of others nor the outcome of an activity.

This does not mean I am beyond the human experience. Quite the opposite. At the moment when I am hurt, I grieve, but it has no lasting impact on my view of myself and my worth or my love for the other person. From time to time, I find myself smirking at the idiocy of another without a sense of superiority, more a relatability that I too am capable of being foolish. I feel a pang when I see someone getting the opportunity I might have once coveted, and I can acknowledge that I experienced envy and I also bask in its impermanence.

For the longest time in my life, wh*te suprem*cy has destroyed my peace and equanimity. I have depended on external validation of my experience, wisdom, and worth. I have needed my peers, teachers, and community to acknowledge me - the hurt, the effort in speaking up, all of it. To need others is not wrong, and sometimes it is not forthcoming which can further reinforce false narratives of being unworthy.

Realizing my power has meant I hold space for myself. It has also meant being ready to take action. This action is not about proving myself to gain validation, rather it is for collective liberation. It is about speaking up in the face of injustice and rising above it. I could not have continued this work in the wounded state I was before.

My relationship with Mahakali and Palden Lhamo is teaching me not to be consumed by the experience of injustice. The practice is allowing me to let the hurt hurt, and metabolize it into powerful, delusion-cutting compassion. Like a homeopathic remedy or a vaccine that distills the harmful into something potent and medicinal. I examined whether I was tone-policing myself, and the answer was that I was not. I am a catalyst. The call is to take up space with power….let it exude through my posture and words. The essence of Metta, loving kindness, empowers me to show up with clarity, and compassion and say what needs to be said.

Basking in this energy means being free of the need to show up perfectly. Patriarchy and wh*te suprem*cy have both been violent in pathologizing my rage. The systems of oppression have expected me to mute myself for an illusionary ideal of goodness. The wrathful energy holds space for my rage and hurt. It has taught me to be soft with myself first, and practice showing up, no matter how imperfectly. I have found myself crying in front of a hundred people while pointing out the wh*te violence in a sangha, not too long ago. I felt shame for “losing my cool.” Kali told me, “No matter how imperfect, show up. That’s how you hold space for the truth.”

A friend of mine told me that he fears this energy because it can often feel like a pass do whatever the f*ck one wants. This is a false interpretation of the wrathful energy. In my life, it helped me to stand up for myself. It showed me where I was abandoning myself. In the context of social justice and spirituality, when I abandon myself, I abandon others who have experienced the same.

People assume that fierceness means to be uncaring, but the wrathful are immensely compassionate.

A line in the Palden Lhamo practice is about liberating all the destructive forces - such a generous prayer! The wrathful manifestations of the divine are wise, mighty, and transformative. I am in a mentee role with them. They feel like loving mothers and grandmothers. I do not have to do it alone.

I am loved. I am supported. I am powerful. I am liberated.