Empowerment: one day at a time

I have a brilliant doctor. In 2000, adamant not to take drugs, he finally said to me ‘Go here, she might be able to help you!’ My dad had just died, and he was right. Going there changed my life. Four years after, and now a newbie graduate, I was adamant to go back, and I did. Volunteering at The Phoenix Centre, Glasgow, was incredible. It felt good, it felt really good.

I’d worked with women since my early teens, but, in the early years I felt unequipped to help many. Seeing bruises on a client’s body, haunted me for years. When she saw my expression, she told me it had been her husband, and to promise not to tell anyone. As a young beauty apprentice, I wanted to cry out at the pain I saw on her body.  Life was showing up to be so compressing, and I felt powerless, and even frightened of becoming a woman myself. Eighteen years on from that Saturday, I felt more equipped, I knew what I had learned would be empowering to those who came, and I was ready to no longer stay quiet.’

It’s never really a surprise when you have been thinking about sometime in your life, and then you bump into a person, from that time. This happened, last week, and I recognised her straight away. Her face was happy and she brightened up the day around her. She smiled, and after we caught up a little bit, she took my hand and said ‘thank you, you’re a merchant of self esteem.’ To see her eyes awake brought happy tears to my eyes, and within that sentimental feeling of the years that had past, I walked away contemplating how one simple addition to our days, can indeed, change our path forever. A daily, positive act, has the power to repel from us, what was once destructive to our being.

I felt her courage, and the word that came to me was empowered. Yet, when I first met her, she had been beaten down, along the way. With an overly agreeable nature she had been groomed to believe, that her voice, her opinions and her dreams caused problems, and to not put herself first would allow the consequences of life around her to be more bearable. When I gave her the yoga hand-out she asked, ‘How often do I do this?’ I answered, ‘everyday.’ and she did.

Her courage was there then. She had no idea where it was going to take her, but she took on that daily act, and she put faith in it. Day by day, she let things unfold, and that courage grew stronger within her. That courage is in everyone of us, waiting patiently to be heard, and no matter how quiet it’s whisper, never forget, it’s always there within you. No matter how beaten down, no matter how big a void or indeed how compressing a situation, bring you breath to the heart ……. and listen …… your courage is whispering to you from within.

In the late summer of 2004, week by week, my group at The Phoenix Centre learned The Warrior Sun Salutation Sequence. Each were given adjusted postures if needed, and each posture was given it’s own mantra, which was repeated inwardly in the transmission between the postures. The mantras mirrored the breath with the inhale mantra, ‘I grow with the divine within me.’ and the exhale mantra, ‘I surrender with the divine within me.’ Over the weeks we practised, and as the weeks passed we continued to practice.

Never lose faith, never stop listening