When was the first time you felt truly powerful? Mine was around five years old, when I first picked up a pencil. I could do anything with a pencil — create my own animals or worlds, reproduce dream sequences in real life (as I often did…on the kitchen walls).
What was five-year-old you into? Was there ever a time when you felt invincible? Many of us experienced that feeling early in life, but lost it as we grew older, took on more responsibilities, or found ourselves blindly following societally-prescribed paths instead of our own.
If you’ve been stuck in the capitalist framework that envelops us all for long enough, you may have felt disconnected from your personal power for some time now — taking life as it comes, in control of a few things, maybe, but more or less beholden to way more than you were hoping for.
It’s easy to feel powerless when you’re a teen, or homeless — and at 19, I was both. Think whatever you want about the law of attraction, but the stories you tell yourself matter. When I was sleeping on friend’s couches or under overpasses, I often thought to myself, “Everyone says you have to spend money to make money, but all I have is this backpack and student debt, so I guess I’m stuck,” or “Someone’s going to need to help me out of this mess, because I clearly can’t do it on my own.”
I spent a ton of time wandering around, looking for other people to help me get my life back on track. But it never worked out. Eventually, I remembered what it was like holding a pencil for the first time, and while I did not magically turn into a self-confident millionaire that day, I did recall how fervently I would create with it, with zero money or material power to speak of. I remembered I had a skill that was valuable, to society and to myself. Then I started drawing (no pun intended) from that power until I was…still not a millionaire, ngl. But definitely safe, confident, housed, happy, and—not EmPoWeReD, but literally powerful and in control of my life. It all starts with inner strength.
If you’re looking to access a little (or a lot) more of your personal power, I hope you’ll enjoy this simple exercise to help rekindle it.
A quick meditation for identifying inner strengths
Whether you feel powerful or powerless, everyone’s primary source of strength comes from our bodies first! If you’re not sure where to start in choosing your power symbol, try this: have a seat someplace quiet and cozy, and take a few deep breaths. Take note of how your body feels. Now think about the last time you felt powerful, passionate, or like you had everything under control. Pay attention to your body again; does visualizing this moment make you feel any different? Sometimes there’s a tingling in your arms, or the light sensation of swelling in your chest. Whatever it is, your body is trying to telling you something. Maybe your symbol could be related to that part of your body, or that sensation. So long as it’s representative of you and what grants you strength.
Create your own power symbol
- Take at least five minutes—but ultimately, as much time as you need—to visualize a symbol that represents your inner strength and power. If your sense of personal power is feeling a little meh these days, try to come up with a symbol that represents your most powerful self.
- Once you have your symbol, it’s time to pick up your pencil and sketch it! Don’t worry about the sketch being perfect; this isn’t for a grade! If you like it, I love it.
- Color in your sketch with the tools of your choice. Polish it up by outlining the sketch in pen if you’d like.
5 mins prep, 60 mins total
What you’ll need
- a timer or your phone
- some thick paper
- a pencil
- watercolors, colored pencils, or markers — whichever you like best
- a paintbrush
- a pen, if you’re feeling fancy
I have my symbol! Now what?
Now, it’s time to use it! Carry your symbol with you as a reminder of your inner strength in whichever ways feels best — fold up your sketch and stick in it your wallet, or find some portable that represents it. If it’s an animal, for example, a charm or a small figurine would work well.
I drew mine with two symbols that help me feel strong and balanced: the fox, and a citrine crystal. Foxes are known across many cultures as swift, cunning, manipulative in some cultures and supportive in others. (Manipulativeness is not an inherently negative trait, by the way!) I draw lots of foxes in my sketchbook as a warm-up. 🙂 Citrine is a great stone for manifestation, imagination, and willpower; I carry one around my neck each day to encourage me to grow my intuition.