Who are you? Really....under all the titles, the history, the experiences that formed you, do you know who you are? The ego is a necessary developmental stage where a child individuates from his mother and builds confidence, self esteem and the desire to express himself or herself in the world. It's also related to the part of the body called the "solar plexus" and correlates with the digestive organs, the belly button naval center, energy and is closely connected to our neck and throat.
Politics is a good example of "personal power" and ego. Different characters running for office all standing in the light of judgement while expressing what they believe and who they are. It takes extreme confidence and sometimes more confidence than actual truth of experience to stand in that kind of fire. A healthy ego knows who they are, believes in their mission and hopefully feels aligned to a greater purpose that is guiding them forward beyond personal desires. If it's a self serving ego, it can go as far as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This is a classified disorder in the DSM-5 guide for mental illnesses.
Feeling shame and anxiety public speaking, being seen , and or taking on leadership roles, are all symptoms of an injured ego/solar plexus. When we contract in too much we are not able to serve the greater good for our selves or our communities. If we are overtly "out there" and constantly looking for affirmation or attention and not able to be grounded in the moment and humble enough to recognize the reality of our situation or telling lies ( or even inflating all the time) it's the opposite and equally destructive personally and in a global way. It takes a sensitivity of awareness to feel the truth ( related to voice) of who we are at any given moment and a humility of realizing that we all are all one serving the world in unique ways. This means a balance of finding the raw real truth and being willing to sense the timing and power ( energy balance) behind your words and expression. Being "unattached" to whether people "like" it, and expressing it for the mere purpose of shining your light out in the world is a baby step.
It feels GREAT to express! It's healthy! Locked up contracted voices puts the body under stress and that precipitates all forms of disease. Feel the edges of growing personal power is a dance of expanding ( go too far and it looks like lies, manipulations, or aggressiveness.....) your personal energy in little steps. Dipping your toe into learning a skill is similar to expanding your personal power. Start where you are ( be humble, messy, make mistakes, feel yourself shake) , practice (repetition), keep challenging yourself and witness your growth exponentially. Be aware of patterns and move into the new when you can, take time to also rest back as you need both to build. Be gentle with your self and heal up the "voices" inside that hold you small.
Do you see the connection between the naval ( connection to mother and later connection to a higher power?) and the throat ( connected to metabolism and thyroid gland)? Both are vulnerable places not protected as much by bone. Both are areas of the spine where "curves" come in horizontally. The vertical alignment of our posture reflects connection up and down, to divine and earth where the more horizontal flow is relational. Expressing ourselves means also being part of community and receiving as well as giving. It's a balance.....If we are always receiving, we need more expression and visa versa. The naval area is supported by the abdominals that are healthiest if they can contract and support the organs and back ( independence) , and also able to relax and expand into deep inhales and long exhales (dependence) and that could look like an interdependence in community. Personal power isn't strongest if we are contracted so tight here ( controlling) , identifying with "six pack abs" as a visual of strength but inwardly suffering from not being good enough in just being YOU.
In the spiritual world there is an emphasis on transcending the ego. The ego can be a snarly bear, like an unruly child always wanting another cookie. It takes discipline, commitment, and also listening to a higher power to get clear of a direction of expression that feeds the whole. When you feel this alignment ( i get it as an inner "yes" that resonates in my while body) you know your mission is supported and it's not that unruly( or hurt) child that wants attention. It's healing work to listen more deeply and find the impulse behind the expression. To contain a response and develop tools to manage energy balance.
Our world needs more EMBODIED LEADERS. This is a unique form of leadership where leading is SHARED. I don't believe we have many models of this yet, but they are coming! I created Kai and the Kai Immersions ( Earth , Water and soon Fire) as a model training to support embodied leadership. Some of the qualities that students learn thru time include:
1. Empathy and deep listening
2. Cultivating confidence
3. Skillful vulnerability
4. Reading a groups needs
5. Creating excellence in all relationships
6. Working with chaos
7. Listening and waiting
8. Shared role in leading
9. Staying centered in hara
10. Lead from the body, sharing what you feel in your body as a tool
11. Increasing capacity, tolerance and endurance as a leader and energy.
12. Walking your talk. Integrity.
13. Developing a personal practice of commitments.
14. SHARE YOUR AUTHENTIC VOICE with the world.
It's been a huge joy and passion of mine to mentor and witness the graduates learning these skills and sharing Kai and many others who have started their own businesses and expanded their passions out in the world. It feels so good to serve and align with my purpose in this way. Creating Kai I've come up against living every single thing I share ( including crashing and getting back up) and aligning more clearly every time to my purpose and highest good. It's a hero's journey that has had many twists and turns and so worth every challenge that has brought new strength.