Individual and Collective Power

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." 
-Phil Jackson

There is individual power.

And then there is collective power.

To make your God-inspired dreams a reality you need both.

I experienced individual power in a way I had never before about 5 years ago. I was in a sad place in my life and I was desperate to find the light at the end of the tunnel. The light showed up at the local YMCA. I began to go there daily to exercise after years of having a membership that sat unused. While the intention behind me going to the Y was to lose the years of baby weight I continued to carry, something else instead happen each time I left the building. I began to redevelop an internal power that I had somehow lost connection to in the years prior as I battled life's’ challenges.

Every time I lifted a weight, every time I finished a kickboxing class, every time I walked the treadmill, an internal change took place. I would leave my workout feeling empowered, strong, brave and bold. The mental weights were falling quicker than the pounds, but it didn’t matter. What I loved was that when I walked into the Y; the emotional garbage I carried would shake itself off and I would leave feeling like I could conquer whatever new drama showed up on the doorsteps of my life.

My internal power that began to grow years ago continues to blossom and it propels me to keep moving forward in making the changes I want and need for my life. But I have also come to understand the importance of knitting my individual power with the power that is found in a group of one or more people.

My greatest growth has come when I have been willing to be open and share with others, especially my vulnerabilities. When you are surrounded by others who are similar to you but different and there is a mutual respect for who you are and the dreams you carry in your heart, a new kind of energy takes place. When combined with the understanding of your individual power; you begin to feel and believe that your dreams are truly possible.

In the past year, I began to experience collective power. The kind of power that exists when you are surrounded by like-minded people; your tribe. The people who get you in a way that those closest to you could never begin to understand. The people who share a similar mindset of what it is like to pursue your dreams. The people who though your paths are uniquely individualized there is a familiarity with the journeys you are on.

I experienced this type of collective power last summer when I took a 2-day writing workshop. I was surrounded by fellow Dream Makers; people from all walks of life who had come together to learn how to perfect their writing craft. In those two days, the force of collective power was on display. There was a feeling of comfort and belonging. The feeling of validation that writing was my thing to do. I left the workshop with the ability to own the title of a writer; something up until that weekend I had never felt belonged to me.

Collective power shows up in my life once a month when I meet with my spiritual director. We discuss what God is up to and how my faith and sense of self within the realm of my spirituality is being challenged and stretched. In our time together I am able to bring my questions and struggles and share them in a space that is safe for me to do so. Community exists between the two of us and that scared hour with my spiritual friend leaves me with a deeper understanding of my faith and a deeper sense of inner peace.

I also continue to harness the power of the collective in my weekly writers' group. I am with people who believe they have something to share with the world. People who believe like I do that our words matter and that we have something to offer to those who read our work. In the group, my individual power connects with each person’s own power; creating an exchange that supports our unique gifts. An exchange that encourages us to keep moving forward, that cheers us on for our successes, commiserates over our setbacks and lays the foundation for a deepening and strengthening of our faith not only in ourselves but also in God.

Intimate community with others builds our own individual power. We, in turn, contribute to the building of the power in others through the sharing of the ideas, support, accountability, and encouragement. There is something magical and profound about being in a space where dreams are allowed to live; to roam free, unrestricted. Where they are nurtured and encouraged not only to grow but to flourish. Where the idea of possibility flows freely among those who dare to believe.

New life is breathed into dreams when we take action and share them with others. When we keep our dreams to ourselves, closely held and hidden from the world, they eventually die and a piece of us dies too. The dreams we hold in our hearts are not just for us, but also for the people who are waiting to receive whatever it is we were created to offer the world.

Are you tapped into your individual and collective power? Send me an email or post a comment below. I would love to hear from you.

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