I encountered them in my dream. Two men from the Israeli commando forces. Handsome, and filled with youthful energy. I wondered aloud what they were doing in my world, and got a quick answer. "We have come to take care of business." Not an ounce of aggression in their voice, only steadfast determination.
Starting with my authoritarian father, I grew up to become afraid of power, my own and that of others. Power usually meant anger, and fear of the other person's anger. It has taking me years to start owning what is rightfully mine: power decoupled from old situations, power infused with the positive qualities of strength, resolve, patience, and yes, love also. Not letting the past dictate what ought to be done in this moment. Letting go of the identity of the scared little girl.
Being on the Buddhist path has been a mixed blessing in that regard. I have struggled to understand the true meaning of some of the teachings about loving kindness, and acceptance for instance. Between non harming and non action, not defending one self, lies an invisible line that I have crossed too many times. Being a woman, in a patriarchal universe, there is of course the added layer of gender, and what that does to one's relationship to power. Misconstrued dharma and disempowered feminine make for a toxic brew. The good news is mindfulness practice has enabled me to see more and more the devastating impact of unfounded fear on my ability to be happy. Fear stemming from an illusory sense of self, and slowly being brought to light for what it really is.
From a practice standpoint, I find it useful to reflect on the Buddha's Five Powers of:
Intention, Mind, Thoughtfulness
"Go ahead, do what you have to do." I am now living out my response to the two young men, and realizing the positive qualities of power, embedded in wisdom. Both internally, during the course of practice, and out into the world, at home, at work . . .