I have permission to share the following with you.  I love the way this client finds ways to summarize her experiences. Telling me she has fertilizer in her shoes, she sent me the following e-mail rejoicing in the growth she is experiencing. I have, of course, modified it some to protect her identity.

I love that she has ceased fearing that dangerous word “power.” Too often people see power as “power over” rather than inner power experienced.

Dear Mona,

 For the first time in my life, I feel the stirrings of empowerment –a very nice feeling!   I’ve always had mixed emotions about the term empowerment. From a [very conservative] background, in which a woman is constantly taught to be submissive, to a mother who preached humility for woman and berated women with careers, to observing some women in business who lost all femininity and became very unpleasant pseudo men in the name of empowerment.

 For me, being empowered is being pleasant, not a pleaser. It means having a personal plan and the guts to stick with the plan, as well as the guts to re-evaluate and change the plan if necessary. It’s doing the right thing, but not if the cost of doing the right thing violates my personal code of ethics. It’s making amends when needed, but also standing up for myself. It’s holding on, but also knowing when to let go….

 And it’s still a work in progress…..for the rest of my life!

Thank you for listening!

I’d be so happy to hear comments from you who have had the aha experience of discovering the powerful meaning of “power.”

By the way, the header is a photo from our June trip to Santa Fe. No wonder Georgia O’Keefe loved to paint those beautiful colors.




6 responses to “FERTILIZER IN MY SHOES

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  1. I remember a seminal “aha” empowerment moment with you! (I would say “THE” seminal moment, but I’m not sure that’s true – I experienced a multitude thanks to your incredible skill and compassion.) My mother, while never formally diagnosed to my knowledge, had narcissistic personality disorder, and my childhood with her was extremely emotionally (as well as physically) abusive. She took perverse pleasure in belittling and demeaning me, especially when my father wasn’t around because she despised that I was “daddy’s girl.” Jealous of her own daughter, she’d snarl through clenched teeth, “Your father thinks you’re so special! Well I KNOW the truth! You’re a….” Fill in the nasty blanks. Her needs trumped everyone’s and she’d often tell all of us children that we’d be sorry when she died for how terrible WE treated HER. My father made his share of mistakes, but at least I knew he genuinely loved me. Still, I grew up crippled with anxiety, self-doubt, poor coping mechanisms, and confused ideas about what love and family should mean. As an adult, I maintained a relationship, albeit a distant one, with my parents in part because guilt had been ingrained in me. My mother’s behavior never improved, and I unconsciously continued to allow myself to get sucked into her drama. Then one day, you gave me “permission” not to be a party to it. It quite literally was like a switch was flipped. You said, “Your parents are lucky you have ANY contact with them.” You explained that it was one thing if I CHOSE to have some sort of relationship with them, but that I did not owe fealty or obedience or beck-and-call devotion to people who had been so abusive and cruel. Whatever my mother did or said or demanded did NOT require my acceptance or complicity. I was allowed to love and protect mySELF; indeed, I needed to do that. It was a stunning revelation to me, this acknowledgement that while the mother who was supposed to have cared for and nurtured me had not, that I could do that for myself. That I was worthy of doing that, that I deserved it, and I wasn’t a “bad” person for recognizing and protecting myself from my mother’s toxicity. Recalling it today brings tears to my eyes.

  2. this was very moving Mona. Thanks for sharing with me

  3. Mona and Terry, this is such a gift to so many. To give ourselves NOT to be sucked into the drama, the first step would be to recognize “oops there i go again” and then the joy of recognizing that we have that choice…this makes me so happy to read, both Mona and Pam. Much love and gratitude to you two teachers


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