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Empowerment, Healing and Letting Go

When I first started along the healing path, empowerment was the goal. I wandered towards it without guidance. I was just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz clicking my heels together and closing my eyes tight wishing with all my might that I would learn to feel confident and safe in my skin. It was a matter of trial and error really. Some things I tried brought short-term gains while other things were downright failures.

I tried aligning myself with powerful, confident people. Mostly I felt better when I was in their company and their favor. It was sometimes heart wrenching to be so dependent on someone else, but I did pick up a few tools by mimicking their behavior. 

I worked really, really hard in my field of study and later my profession to accomplish success. Then I needed that success to be recognized, so I researched the basics of projecting my voice and adopting powerful body language. I was able to be heard and be up front without being pushy or cutthroat. It is an art I practice to this day.

Being quick to state my achievements and having a polished resume in the wings became my modus operandi. I tried not to error on the side of boastfulness, but I wanted to be sure that I was projecting a confident image of myself. I wanted to be known as an expert because I thought this was what empowerment looked like. How else did I know images of empowered people?

Most empowered people I knew were successful and famous for what they do. At first glance and without further instruction, this is what I was raised by the media to understand. I didn’t actually know if these people felt deep down inside that they were powerful, I only had the benefit of their projected persona. As I think of it now, I might find it interesting to hear inside the minds of great public figures such as the President, Bill Gates, the Dali Lama, Oprah Winfrey and so forth. But back then, I didn’t even have this curiosity. 

I took the look of empowerment at face value and that is what I got in myself. I was wearing a costume made of accolades and a laundry list of success. This frightening feeling that someday someone would find out that my confidence wasn’t real haunted me. I didn’t feel the empowerment in my being. I didn’t believe, really, my own story.

That is when I began seeking help because I realized I’d exhausted all the avenues I could explore on my own. I wanted to know what was “wrong” with me and how to fix myself so I could believe the role I was playing. Through the years, I’ve had the benefit of help of a number of therapists and healers from everything to shamanic practitioners to acupuncturists to homeopaths and spiritual directors.

Part of my healing process was to mend where I’d been victimized and to release the false beliefs these woundings had spawned. Moving into believing in my own worth was key. This involved learning more about my boundaries and what was and wasn’t okay for me. Saying “no” and believing it became my definition of empowerment. I cultivated my ability to discern who or what was in or out of alignment with my truth and make decisions based on that knowledge.

Inner confidence became knowing who I was and what I believed in and standing by that personal truth. Soon my focus moved off the outside world and other people to myself. I started to be on guard for when I was about to compromise my values or when I was about to allow myself to be victimized. I watched to make sure I believed in my own worth. True empowerment became a reality for me. The costume fell away and my inner strength shined through. 

Grounded in a deep sense of worth and personal power, I now felt safe to explore the mystery of the spirit realms further. I was good in my relationship with myself and now I craved a stronger relationship with Spirit. Even though I found immense value in my sense of self, I found there were limits when it came to relating with others and the world around me, limits I intuited could be transcended through a relationship with the Divine.

Enter dissolution of the ego. Where I currently reside. All of the time I’ve spent building up my ego, my values and my worth from the inside out is being undone. Any thought I have of “that’s not fair” or “how could she say that to me?” or “this isn’t right for me” must be released. There is no fair, no right or wrong. No person is bad or good for my process; they are all gifts. No experience is dismissed. 

Now rather than resting in personal truth I am resting in universal truth. There is plenty of inner strife going on, mind you. This is not for the faint of heart. At first glance, it seems foolish to undo decades of growth work and to completely let go of my sense of empowerment as I know it. But, all of that work serves as a foundation for the courage I must muster now. 

My worth and boundaries may no longer be defined as they were before, but the seed remains, the seed of my own inner strength. That whole process from building a false image of confidence to questioning the truth of the image brought me to one simple truth, that I am infinitely strong and unyieldingly courageous. The structure, the language has changed completely, but the truth remains.

So now as the seasons change from winter to spring and the grass begins to wake up below the snow, so too the seed of courage in me begins to grow into a tree I hadn’t planned to be. If I had it to do all over again, I would take this path every time despite the hardship. There is a miracle in letting go and letting spring forth something inside myself that is beyond the bounds of “self” altogether. This is the beauty of waking up to the Divine. This is the true nature of power. 

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Stacey Couch, creative mystic and Certified Shamanic Practitioner, is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life's big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as a source for guidance and healing.


  • marianne
    marianne Sunday, 15 March 2015

    wonderful, thank you ...

  • Stacey L. L. Couch
    Stacey L. L. Couch Monday, 16 March 2015

    You are most welcome Marianne

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