Chapter 2: Power Center One: The Power to Break Through Your Inner Glass Ceiling
An Operating System for the 21st Century
Feminine Power addresses the barriers that keep us from soaring. It identifies our old stories and, even more importantly, how those old stories dictate the way we show up in life. It shows us how to reach out and receive the vast support that’s all around us. It reintroduces us to our own inner wisdom and teaches us how to trust its guidance. And it gives us the courage and confidence to take risks and be who we sense we could be in our clearest moments.
If you struggle in the areas of love, belonging, connection, creativity or contribution—areas in the realm of the feminine— your primary barrier to success is actually not outside of you; it’s inside of you. It’s a core belief you have about yourself, about others, about the possibilities or non-possibilities for your life. It forms your core identity. And unless you learn to break free of it, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to succeed if the nature of what you want to create is in this domain of the feminine.
In order to identify the core beliefs that form your core identity, the question to ask yourself is:
Who or what am I blaming as the reason that I can’t be successful in this area of my life?
If you’re like 85% of us, you likely blame your circumstances for your struggle. “I don’t have enough time. I don’t have money. I don’t have enough education. There are no good men out there. The economy is bad.”
Whatever it is, it’s a story, a story about your circumstances. And you’re never going to find your power by blaming your circumstances.
As smart, personally developed women, we’re also pretty psychologically sophisticated. We likely recognize our limiting patterns and might even know where they came from. “I have low self esteem. I have this belief or that belief. Oh, there are my father (or mother) issues again.” Sound familiar?
But this just becomes another form of blame. Because in spite of all this psychological analysis, self- or otherwise, we haven’t been able to break through the barriers that have kept us from realizing the things we most desire.
The truth is, life it hasn’t happening to you. Life is responding to you. Inside the core beliefs and assumptions about who we are or what is or isn’t possible for us, we show up and behave in ways that generate and reinforce evidence of these stories.
The truth is, life isn’t happening to you. Life is responding to you.
We need to really get this: Life is mirroring and matching how you’re showing up. And in these areas that we want to create in, we show up from the parts of us that are wounded or stuck in old stories of powerlessness and limitation.
In other words, you can’t attract love on top of a deep, inner sense of being unlovable. You can’t generate success on top of a deep feeling of being unworthy. You can’t make an impact on the world if you secretly fear you have nothing worthwhile to contribute.
That’s where Power Center One comes in. It’s about forging an unshakable connection between the weakest parts of you and the part of you that actually knows better—the part of you that is wise, has access to perspective and resources, and that shows up powerfully for other people.
When you discover how to make the connection between these two parts of yourself, you’ll effortlessly start to show up in ways that are aligned with a deeper truth of who you are.
When that happens, the inner glass ceiling you’ve created shatters.
In a matter of weeks, your life begins to reorganize and others begin to reflect back to you the truth of who you are. You suddenly realize that your old story has been around a long time, decades even, shaping your worldview, and it’s simply…not true.
I want to share two stories that demonstrate the life-altering force of unlocking Power Center One.
And when that happens, the inner glass ceiling you’ve created shatters.
For years, I struggled to get traction in the area of contribution in my career. That was one of my inner glass ceilings. I sensed I had this potential to teach and to serve, and when I’d go to conferences and events and hear the speakers, I’d really feel like I, too, had something to contribute. But I worried that I was being a bit arrogant, because I hadn’t really done anything yet to make my name.
I also felt victimized that no one really saw me or gave me opportunities. It’s like I was waiting to be “discovered,” and then was very confused that no one recognized me. And I had this whole story about how people were self-centered and that’s why I wasn’t getting opportunities.
But when I did the practices for Power Center One, I discovered, “Wow, life is responding to me. I’m not getting opportunities because I’m actually disappearing myself.”
You see, my core identity that I was invisible, and that’s how I showed up: I would disappear my thoughts and feelings and would just mirror other people. Whenever I was with anyone, they actually had a deeper experience of themselves, but wouldn’t see me because… I disappeared. And that was what was creating this chronic experience of invisibility I had.
Through these Feminine Power practices, I got connected to the deeper truth of who I am and took responsibility to begin to show up in new ways that were reflective of this deeper truth. And I broke that inner glass ceiling.
The deeper truth is…
What I have to share is valuable.
And standing in this truth…
I take responsibility for making my thoughts, feelings, desires and vision known.
I brought the part of me that felt victimized into relationship with the deeper, wiser part of me.
From there, I showed up and I generated my visibility. I took responsibility to do this.
A few weeks later, I was hosting the first “Women on the Edge of Evolution” dialog series, and planned as my first interview, to speak with Dr. Jean Houston, co-founder of the Human Potential Movement.
I was nervous. This was Jean Houston! But I knew that this was my challenge: I had to show up in ways that were consistent with the deeper truth of who I really was. And that meant letting go of my old way of being, of playing small, people-pleasing and just mirroring people. In addition to being a gracious host, I had to hold the space while making my presence known.
And a remarkable thing happened: About halfway through the interview, Jean paused and said, “Claire, I have to speak to you tomorrow. Call me on my private line.” I called her the next day. And she reflected back what she saw in me. “Claire, you have a great destiny, a great calling of leadership in the empowerment of women, and I want to support you and stand with you. Come and visit me in Ashland.”
So I went to Oregon, and there she shared a much larger vision for me than I could possibly see or hold for myself at that time. And then she opened up her Rolodex and reached out to every powerful, influential woman leader she knew and encouraged them to join me in the “Women on the Edge of Evolution” series as she just had.
From there, everything happened for me. We upleveled the Feminine Power platform and I created Evolving Wisdom. We began teaching and impacting so many people. And it was all because I brought who I truly am into alignment with who I was being and how I showed up. I simply couldn’t generate my visibility, contribution and impact on top of that old pattern of invisibility.
Breaking through this inner barrier is the foundation for awakening Feminine Power.
Sandra is a social worker. She is very attractive but has a visible disability: Early-childhood rheumatoid arthritis has left her arms stunted and her gait uneven.
It’s been her biggest source of shame and discomfort. For example, although she had been professionally successful, she always stayed behind the scenes, not wanting to be too visible.
She longed to make a difference in the area of disability advocacy, to be able to really put herself out there and help people. But what she wanted more than anything was to be in a healthy relationship, and to get married. When I asked her, “Who or what are you blaming as the reason that you can’t have this?”
She said, “Nobody would want me. Look at my body. I’m unattractive. I need so much care. I can’t even do basic things like brush my own hair and get up into bed.”
Going through the Power Center One practices, she began to see that under this blaming of her circumstance, she was living inside the belief that “nobody would want me.” Her core identity was that she wasn’t worthy.
When I asked her, “When a man is interested in you, how do you show up in ways that create evidence for that old story being true?”
She admitted, “Well, when a man I like or am attracted to comes up to me and introduces himself, I just feel this pit in my stomach and act not interested because I can’t bear the thought of being rejected.”
That was it. It wasn’t her story of not being worthy (or loveable or beautiful or desirable). It was the way she showed up: she literally pushed people away with clear signals that she wasn’t interested.
Sandra learned how to connect with the part of her that felt unsafe and unlovable and bring it into a relationship with a much deeper center of power and wisdom. And when she did, she discovered that she could be there for herself, no matter what, and hold her ground with courage. If a man rejected her, she would still be okay.
And something even more amazing happened: She stopped wishing she were someone different.
When she connected to this deeper source of her own power and wisdom, she was finally able to truly love herself fully for who she was.
Her behavior totally changed. She stopped wearing baggy, unflattering clothes. She began to flirt back when men paid attention to her. She even found the courage to join an online dating site.
Very soon, Sandra met Roger, a beautiful, loving man who shared her passion for disability advocacy. They were married a few years ago, and this totally shattered her sense of what was possible for her life because it was the one thing she thought she could never have.
She went on to apply what she learned through Power Center One to break through a lifelong fear of public speaking, and eventually gave a TED Talk in front of 7,000 people. She stepped into more visible roles doing disability advocacy, and even started modeling clothes during fundraising fashion shows. I can barely keep up with her these days because she and Roger travel so much with their work. She is truly living a life that was beyond her wildest imaginings.
That’s what’s possible when you break through the old stories that have defined you, and start showing up in the truth of who you are.
Now it’s your turn. Think about the area of your life where you feel really stuck.
Who or what are you blaming for your situation? What’s the old story there?
Let that go and try to look for what actually happens inside that story.
What’s the pattern that keeps happening in this area of your life? How are you showing up?
My pattern was that I would disappear. Sandra’s pattern was to send out signals to men that she wasn’t interested. Be honest with yourself.
How do you show up that creates evidence for your story about why you can’t have what you want in this area?
See if you can connect to the emotion that comes up in the midst of that old pattern—it’s there.
Place one hand on your body and name this emotion as an “I am” statement.
“I’m not safe. I’m not enough. I’m not lovable. I’m too much. I’m not wanted.”
Just take a breath and feel into this emotion. There’s a core identity here that’s stuck inside this old story of who you are and what’s possible or not possible for you to have.
Now, there’s another part of you that’s already whole and powerful. It’s the part of you that shows up for your loved ones. It shows up in the moments when you feel most confident—that could be at work, with your family, or when doing something that inspires you.
Just connect to that most-powerful self and imagine you’re bringing that self into relationship with the younger, scared part of you that is stuck in your old story.
Take a breath.
There’s a deeper truth here. Do you feel it?
The deeper truth is that you are born to experience and express great love.
The deeper truth is that you’re here to make a difference with your gifts.
The deeper truth is that you deserve to be financially supported for the value and contribution you bring.
And here’s the key to releasing the old pattern of behavior forever and shattering your inner glass ceiling:
If you were to align yourself with this deeper truth, how would you show up?
For me, the deeper truth is that I have something valuable to contribute, and that my ideas, even if they were imperfect works-in-progress at the time, were valuable, and I could begin to be visible and share them.
For Sandra, the deeper truth is that she’s valuable and worthy of love, and that even if a man rejects her, she’s still okay. Aligning with this truth, she found the courage to make herself vulnerable and open.
We must learn to forge an unshakable bond between these two parts of us in order to midwife ourselves into our greatness.
It’s clear that we can’t create, manifest or generate on top of our old stories and the old ways of showing up. But once we learn to forge an unshakeable bond between these two parts of ourselves, and start to show up in ways that reflect the truth of who we are, everything changes.
Copyright © Evolving Wisdom 2019.