chapter 29 of Scooch!: Edging into a Friendly Universe
(available as e-book or paperback)
I came up with the power zappers when I first put together my Personal Power Surge workshop for the womyn in the Michigan woods. It was a way to lay out the typical things that take or keep us out of our personal power, sometimes on a daily basis. You'll recognize yourself somewhere in here. I invite you to read through them with open curiosity—rather than, say, fear and loathing, or any propensity toward judgment. Notice the ones that aren't issues for you—or not much—and those that still apply more than you'd like or even that exist for you as primary defaults. If you're struck by how many of the power zappers you fall prey to, do not be alarmed, and don't despair.
Awareness is the first step in your readiness to clear them: as soon as they're in view, you're on it. So if you're ready to scooch into your power, please don't slow down your process by being horrified by what you do or by believing it's not okay. Of course it's okay: these are things people do. Once again, welcome yourself to the human race.
For each power-zapping tendency, there's a new intention or affirmation given. This provides language to help you connect to the new way, or to a clear intention to counter any power zapper you find in yourself (or, more accurate, in your habitual behavior). You know the drill: catch yourself in the unwanted behavior (celebrate!), then simply course-correct. Do that in the moment if you can, or go back later and, in a neutral way (no judgment), consider how you might have done it differently. This will support you in doing it differently next time and in catching yourself earlier in the process. Please tweak the wording of the affirmations as needed or come up with your own: the language should feel relevant and good to you. I invite you to actually make use of these, especially in the moment you catch yourself in the old way.
Personal power involves taking responsibility for yourself—your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. You'll have more of it when you're self-referential. Connected to yourself, you'll connect to others. Thinking highly of yourself (being in good standing with yourself), you won't go into wacky contortions to be or do what others want from you. You'll speak freely what's true for you in a way that's clear, direct, and honest. You won't need to pretend or hide or in any way make yourself small. You won't reveal that you secretly believe there's something wrong with you, because you won't secretly believe that, or you'll come very close to it when any trace of such a thought bubbles up to your compassionate, dispassionate awareness.
The power zappers in themselves constitute a recap of all we've looked at so far, and then some. Here they are:
Not keeping your word
Useless or ongoing apologies
Presenting as Broken
Weak, troubled greetings
(Mindless) focus on what's hard or negative
Puffing yourself up
Yes as default
Being the seen, not the see-er
Comparing yourself to others
Being bored and checked-out
Focus on right and wrong
Avoidance and procrastination
Not telling the truth
Disconnection from your body and weak physical stances
More than anything, I invite you not to use the power zappers to foster self-criticism or to beat yourself up. This would take your sense of personal power in the wrong direction! Use them to assist you in a kind process of moving from the level of personal power you have right now (at any given now moment) toward a level that represents what you'd like better. There's no problem in anything you see in yourself if you're willing to witness it with the compassionate, dispassionate witness, and start scooching.