Connecting To Your Backbone: A Conversation on Power & Empowerment

What’s your relationship to mindful anger, aggression, and power? When you read or say those words to yourself, how do they sit in your body?

We all have a somatic, or body-based relationship to language, and it’s a big part of why the words that we choose matter and how describing something from a slightly different angle can open up a new perspective for us. In the first instance, when I think of anger, aggression, and power, I think of dominance and force. My associations with these words have, in the past, led me to lean away from any demonstrations of them in my own life, rather than towards. After all, if our connections to what they mean don’t represent something “positive”; if we don’t have healthy role models or cultural contexts for what they represent in an empowering form, why would we seek to include them as part of our experience?

The thing is, the experience anger, aggression and power are part of what it means to be human. Our preference for them doesn’t remove them from our lives. If we don’t develop a healthy relationship with these parts of ourselves- and it goes without saying not every presentation of them is healthy- then we inadvertently get ourselves into a situation where they are the master of us, rather than us being the master of them.

The key lies in being able to harness the physiology of what it means to hold activation in the system and to be able to contain the energy within the container of our body so we have a choice about how and where to channel it.

When we talk about the mindful versions of anger, aggression, and power, we are talking about your inner connection to determination and strength; a feeling of something in you that connects you to your backbone, and a restoration of integrity and dignity in the body in the face of what can be challenging circumstances.

Within this, we understand that truly harnessing the power of these energies mindfully does not exist at the expense of the less hot emotions, such as kindness, compassion, and love, but in partnership with them.

The ability to cultivate a healthy sense of your own power is an internal circuit system that allows you to step up that allows you to say “come on, I can get through this part that’s currently challenging me and do this thing I want to do”. It’s a necessary, welcome, and intrinsic part of our humanity.

You can tune into the episode here:

Happy listening!

❤️ Jane

Resilience Is Not About Learning To Withstand More

Scene 1: You sit down at your computer and log in to the latest news site. The top five stories are filled with not great news about health, politics and the latest crime committed in your area. You might notice a brick land in your stomach- or you might not- but in any case, you push on because it’s important to be informed. You read everything you can before it’s time to get into the work that you have to do.

Later that day, you find yourself with a lingering feeling of overwhelm. Someone asks you something and you snap at them. You notice that you have an underlying feeling of aggravation to, that it doesn’t take much to “send you over the edge”, but you rationalize it. There’s a lot going on in the world after all.

Scene 2: You jump on for your lesson with your horse. You don’t feel in that great of a space, but you don’t communicate that to your instructor. You don’t want to him to think you’re soft. In the beginning, it feels fine and you go through the motions, but you find yourself with an increasing sense of anxiety that’s making it hard for you to remember the instructions clearly and you find yourself feeling frustrated with your horse. Afterwards, you feel despondent and down and have trouble concentrating. You’re tired, but when it comes to going to sleep, you feel wide awake.

Many of us view increasing strength and resiliency as the ability to withstand more in our day to day life; we see it as the act of increasing the capacity of our cup to hold more so that we can better fit in with the world around us. In my view, the true evolution is learning to recognize the signals of your body and honoring where it is you are in that moment so that you can show up for your life and horses as a sustainable and reliable presence, for the benefit of both you and them. It’s as much about knowing when to step out as when to step in.

Resilience is not about mind over body. It’s not about saying yes constantly because we’ve told ourselves that’s what it means to be a good person. It’s not about deferring to the instructions of another at the expense of what your body is communicating to you.

Scene 1 is an example of flooding. Being informed is not the same as drowning in the news, and yet many of us are overwhelming our system on a daily basis and wondering why our threshold has diminished.

Scene 2 is an example of deferring to the wishes of someone else when you recognize you are getting to the edge of your growth zone. It’s a form of flooding also. This is a fine edge to walk, and one you often only realise you’ve gone over once you’ve gone over it. By tuning in to yourself and learning how your body communicates its increasing movement towards overflow, we can pace ourselves; we can learn when to push the accelerator and when it’s time to take our foot off the gas.

Real growth is about knowing when to rest, when to allow for the settling, as it is about involving yourself in the doing.


❤️ Jane

Mindset, Movement & Nervous System Awareness. Check out the Confident Rider Online Program 👇🏻