Putting Power in Perspective


By the time you read this, we’ll already know what kind of damage Hurricane Sandy has inflicted on the Northeast. But as I write this, I have no idea what’s coming. I’m waiting with my water and my batteries. Waiting. Wondering.


I can only empower myself so much. Then it’s about trusting my government officials to protect me as best they can. It’s about trusting the construction of this charming old building. Ultimately, for me, it’s about trusting that whatever happens is supposed to happen and it’s something we’ll have to deal with and carry on.

If I sound resigned, it doesn’t mean I’m not anxious. I don’t mean to be flip. It’s just that at this point in my life I’m wise enough to know the healthy prayer is one asking for grace in riding out the will of our creator as opposed to begging for the bad thing not to happen in the first place.

That may be spiritual, but I don’t see it as strictly about prayer or God. It’s a way of being. At home. At work. Intellectually. Emotionally. In life.

It’s about seeing ourselves as part of something bigger.

As I took a meditative walk along the Hudson River early Sunday morning, the George Washington Bridge way off to the left, the Verrazano Bridge in the distance to the right, the grayness broken up only by striking gold foliage on Hoboken’s Pier C park, the seagulls floating in the air, water lapping the pier, I thought about people in my life who have passed away this year and where they go and why. I didn’t get answers, per se, but I did get comfort from the knowledge that natural disaster was pending and we have no control over much of any of it.

It just is.

Again, spiritual? Maybe. But I keep coming back to how fleeting all of this is. Not in a fatalistic way, but in a way that buoys me somehow. Imagine what else we could free up in ourselves if the anxiety about having to control so much was lifted and we could just be.

That could get into ambivalence territory, that place where you let the current take you instead of doing some steering. I’m not advocating or searching for that, necessarily. But there is a sweet spot in there, one of going with things, not resisting, not trying to get out ahead of every darned thing, not mapping the route down to the inch, and perhaps most important of all, simply surrendering to that which is and will be.

How about operating in that space? What does that feel like? And what might come of it?

So often I use this space to empower. I love to see the light dawn on someone’s face when they realize they hold way more power than they think. But here and now I feel like it’s more about reading what’s in front of us, embracing our incredible fragility and powerlessness. If not now, when?

What is it about rustling wind that works up into a roar? It’s speaking and you can’t stop it. You can put your hands over your ears or crank up some music, but ultimately it will be heard.

Listen to me, it’s saying. I’m telling you to be compassionate, lend a hand, stop fighting, take a deep breath. Love. Roll with life a little more. Grab on to something that makes you giddy or that fills you up with immense satisfaction. Your problems are real. They are. But pull your focus away from them. Take a break. Just for a while. I’m nature and I’m putting on an incredible, forceful, show-stopping performance designed to knock you back on your heels and slap you awake.

How do we not respond to that with sweet surrender? It goes something like this:

OK. Do with me what you will. I’m here to serve, to use my gifts, whether it’s crunching numbers or being a painter or keeping people alive on an operating table. Or maybe we’re here to nurture a spouse and be nurtured in return, to smell a baby’s head, to teach, to learn, to take some time for silence.

Tomorrow I will take back my power or, for some, try to find it in the first place. Today I will be in that space of surrender, of wondering what in the world is about to happen, let it toss me around and do my best to emerge standing.

I hope by the time you read this I will have come out on the side of standing after a miraculous experience. I hope we all have.

Power in perspective.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.