Here is my fun question for today--
When in your life did you feel most powerful?
My first reaction to this question is that I have never felt powerful. I have been in positions of power--motherhood is powerful-- but feeling powerful is not the same as exercising it. In fact, it’s something I have never thought about. So I will ramble, and maybe I’ll remember something.
I remember an experience I had the morning after I was baptized a member of the LDS church. I was walking across campus at Stephens College. I recall looking up at the beautiful, bright sky and thinking that I was full of light. As I looked near the sun I felt like it was in me. I suppose there was a feeling of power connected to that, but not the kind of power most of us think about. It was spiritual power.
I felt spiritual power a few years ago while conducting my ward choir rehearsal. I don’t remember the piece we were practicing, but it was a great conduit for the Holy Ghost. As I felt the Spirit, I sensed it was filling my arms as I conducted. It was both powerful and humbling at the same time. I had that experience a few other times, but never quite like that particular moment.
When I was a child I loved imagining that I was a horse. I loved to run, and I enjoyed pretending to run- alone or in a herd- with my long mane and tail wildly flying. There was a kind of power in that. When I was older and realized I couldn’t be a horse, I would ride my pretend horse off across empty fields, galloping in the wind. It was exhilarating! I felt so free, and there was also a certain power in that. But it wasn’t real.
I first received letter grades when I was in third grade. I recall standing in our little breakfast room and showing them to my mother. They were As and Bs and I knew I had performed well. I felt pride in myself, and that is connected to feeling powerful. That first report card had a big impact on me, and many more like it followed. I felt confidence in my academic ability most of the time, and that has power.
I wish I could say the same about music. I loved my violin very much, but I had great trouble disciplining myself enough to practice until college, when I received grades for violin or viola lessons. My confidence level was low from years of self-defeating behavior in regards to my instrument. That battle for confidence continues today, although the fights are fewer and less difficult. My love for music and my viola, as well as powerful spiritual experiences, have motivated and strengthened me.
Perhaps feeling powerful as an adult is related to feeling confidence in one’s abilities. It’s also related to healthy self-esteem. I think that the expression of unconditional love from others, strong family support and good teachers can bolster these, but ultimately we must connect to God. That is the source of true power.