so many in the big city are ob sessed with the quest for personal power, but with the Dalai Lama in the vicinity, we're reminded that compassion is essential for a strong sense of self. Yes, people and organizations with more wealth, connections, knowledge or weapons can infringe on others' personal space. But, the experts suggest, the surest way to lose the power game is to invest the other with more importance than you have. That's why compassion and kindliness to the self is important - and why you should forgive yourself your follies and your foibles. Don't give away your power - claim it. The more you do so, the more it becomes available to you.
At the same time, be careful not to confuse self-care with selfishness. If you're focused on "what's in it for you" and going after your goals regardless of who gets hurt, you're tossing away your vitality, your positive energies, by the bucket.
Making a commitment to act always with respect for others and the environment widens your circle of friends, and their support will enhance your power even more.
If you're feeling disempowered, staying calm helps. When you're not attached to the pain of being in that position, you'll have an easier time finding strategies.
"Power is your capability to act. When you act with clarity, you seek to develop your own immanent power, not take power away from others. It starts with having compassion for yourself and the person or situation you're dealing with. When you eliminate self-hatred or self-denial, you empower yourself. Stick with your spiritual practice - discipline is part of empowerment. Be in nature. You're part of that, the great wheel, and drawing from that can provide great strength. And in order to make the right powerful decisions, gather all the information you can."
ISIS , neo-pagan, Toronto
"Authentic power is the power to consistently obtain what's really important to us. The old approach holds that power has to be competed for or earned, that it is a scarce commodity, that one's power can only be increased by taking it from somebody else. But once we realize we're all part of one thing, the old view of power makes no sense. Practise forgiveness . By hanging on to a wrong, we hang on to a negative anger that keeps us from being who we really can be. It doesn't mean that you don't love yourself enough to set boundaries, but the important thing is that the boundaries are set out of love for yourself and all those affected."
G. ROSS LAWFORD , life coach, author, The Quest For Authentic Power
"It's good to be very aware , when you have power over someone or something or some people (e.g., as an elected official), of how you got that power and what your intentions are. If someone is feeling powerless, there may be nothing they can do to change the exact circumstances. The first thing I'd tell them is to be aware of their breathing , because wherever they are, they have some power in their own lives and their own body. Next, find where you have some choice in the situation, and begin to exercise that."
BARBARA LEONARD , psychotherapist and energy healer, Toronto
"In Chinese thinking, the root of power is the qi, the intrinsic energy that flows through the body. To enhance your power, remove destructive substances or behaviours . Tai chi or chi kung are exercises designed to build your qi. If you choose to further empower yourself, do traditional, philosophically guided martial arts - it gives you the kind of spirit that is not submissive. Finally, prayer is necessary. Everyone comes to the place where all the chi kung or kung fu in the world won't help you. Prayer is what will rescue you.'
SIFU ALI SIADATAN , chief instructor, Temple Knights Martial Arts, Toronto
"Power is synonymous with influence, the ability to bring about change. To cultivate that kind of influence, become very well informed about all aspects of an issue. Be clear that you're seeking change to benefit your fellow human beings, not just for self-aggrandizement. Speak the truth as you see it, and be willing to listen , because that helps convince people of the purity of your convictions. To guide your thinking, choose images that sustain, comfort and soothe you, along with images of goals you want to achieve, and they will help program your mind, which then will guide your actions."
FRANK SOMMERS , MD, sex therapist, founding president, Canadian Physicians for Social Responsibility, Toronto