Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Juno On Giving Away Our Power

Last week, WomenBloom published an interesting article by Rebecca Hamm, a Master Sufi and therapist, about personal power. How we give it away, or not. Basically, Rebecca explained that when we put someone else’s needs, expectations, or demands in front of our own, in a way that ignores our higher good or our own ‘truth’, we are asking for trouble.

Basically, the concept as I see it means putting the responsibility for stuff smack where it belongs. We always have a choice to keep our power even if we think we don’t. If we think we have no choice because it would upset the spouse, or disappoint our mother, or a million other things, it usually just means the choices are sucky and we don’t want to make them...but alas, it doesn’t mean they aren’t choices we have.


I watched the movie Juno over the weekend which seemed like a great illustration of what I’m talking about here. It was a great lesson in keeping one’s power. Juno could easily have gotten an abortion and given her power away by saying she had no choice, she was only 16 and too young to be a good mother. Or, she had no choice, she couldn’t embarrass her parents by going through a pregnancy. Her choices were pretty sucky, but she didn’t blame anyone for her predicament, and she got in touch with her own ‘truth’ which was to have that baby and find a loving home for it.

That might not have been someone else’s ‘truth’ but it was hers, and she endured quite a bit of hardship for her choice, and for keeping her power. Her internal truth revealed that for her an abortion would not be in her highest good even if it might have saved her a lot of embarrassment and discomfort in the short run.

Thankfully, her parents supported her but if they hadn’t, it would have been easy for a 16 year old to put the embarrassment of her parents before the lifetime of regret she would endure for making a choice she felt wasn’t in her highest good. In other words, it would have been easy to give her power away.

Just to be clear, I intend no judgment on whether abortion is right or wrong, the answer is different for everyone. It’s about the difficult choices one young woman had before her, and whether she made the one that was right for her.

One thing Rebecca said that stuck with me was that giving our power away often comes from the assumption that we are solely responsible for someone else’s emotions and psychological well-being. That we have to control and manage their feelings because they can’t, or won’t. We treat them as if they are powerless to do that for themselves. It often means giving way to someone else’s feelings even if it means doing something we know isn’t good for us.

Juno’s parents no doubt endured some embarrassment and angst about her decision, but rightfully, they took that on as their own responsibility to deal with and trusted that their daughter was doing the right thing for her.

In the process, Juno learned some valuable lessons about love and the messiness of life.

Which begs the question....Why is it that we usually have to learn valuable life lessons in the midst of messy/painful/challenging/sucky situations?? That’s a whole other subject....sigh.


Samsara said...

Hi Allison,

Good analogy, Juno. This is why I loved the movie so much. She didn't let her parents or society's expectations or beliefs dictate her - much less her pregnancy. GOOD for her. [I mimic your stance on abortion. Another girls truth could have been to NOT endure the pregnancy.]

I have never seen anything like this culture we're in. It's like I didn't sign up for this when I was born and now am surprised. EVERYone [hyperbole] is so hip to blaming people -- like it's normal. [Did the soap operas do this?]

My beloved, tonight, just told me that the girls who made that pregnancy pact did it [speaking of blame] "because" of the Juno movie.

The irony is not lost on me; Speaking of personal power and not "blaming" external sources for internal decisions.

Juno Blamed for Pregnancy Pact
Time drags 'Juno' into the Story

Oh brother. We are so in a society where blame is the name of the game.

Dropping by,

Anonymous said...

Funny you should post this. I had a conversation with a troublesome relative-by-marriage yesterday, who wanted me to take the blame for her mistake. It was as if the scales fell away from my eyes. I'd been putting up with this CRAP from her and others for most of my adult life, and I realized at that moment that I didn't have to take it anymore. Needless to say, she was indignant when I refused to play the game. Hooray for me! Thanks.

Allison said...


I'm afraid you're right about that. I don't know if it's the legal climate or what, but there does seem to be a societal streak to favor acting as though we're all powerless in the face of whatever the Gods choose to afflict us with. Kind of a return to the days of Greek tragedy. There are life's curve balls for sure, but not as many as our culture seems to think.

Ms Meta:

GOOD FOR YOU, GIRL! Somewhere, we seem to have learned that setting boundaries isn't 'nice'. But, you know, it isn't really kind or compassionate or in people's highest good to let them continue to make everyone around them a perpetrator. It's like aiding and abetting them in their victimhood.

Yea for you!