Karate uniform and broken board.

I broke this board in a college karate class. My classmates signed it. I keep it to remind myself of my strength.

I love watching my daughter grow into her power. I get a thrill of watching her learn to focus her strength through her karate classes. She’s a joyful, boisterous soul who is learning how to move beyond happy flailing. One day she will be able to break a board.

Even for us grown-ups, there is always more to learn about focusing our power. The more loving we become, the more we can break through illusions. And goodness knows we need every person to be bringing their best selves powerfully forward in order to meet the challenges of our times.

Power means focus.

Some of the most useful yet challenging advice I’ve received for these times is to focus. Pick one focus and do it well.

What is the one goal you want to have accomplished by the end of the year? What’s the one issue that you are really concerned about in the public sphere? What kind of work do you really want to be doing?

There is a lot of great writing out there about effectiveness and focus. Yet it is really hard to do. Many of us are juggling family, work, and community interests and they are all important. Aside from some practical reasons why we have complex lives, I believe there is also a very important inner push back against focusing.

So why is it so hard to focus?

Focusing requires choosing one thing. Something is going to be left out. Something very worthy and good. This is certainly where I’ve gotten stuck. There is the voice of “should” that says I need to stand up for everyone and everything.

The “should” voice (I should help everyone) is an illusion. I’m grateful for Mark Silver, a Sufi teacher at Heart of Business, for naming this illusion and offering an approach for healing it.

How could any of us be responsible for the care of everything? When this train of thought arises in me I know I’ve lost my sense of connection to the Divine embrace; it is the Divine that holds all things, not me. It’s an invitation back into humility; we are only one piece of the “Divine Safety Net” for all beings.

What are your “shoulds?”

Do you have any of these illusions that stop you from focusing your power?

  • I need to help everyone, no matter what.
  • I need to contact my legislator about every bad piece of legislation out there.
  • I must give to every organization that asks.
  • I need to stand up for everybody.

Are any of these particularly sticky? Do you have one that is similar? Take a moment and see these voices as illusion. How do they make you feel? Simply writing this list stirred up the feeling of being burnt out within me.

Return to the Embrace of the Divine

I find the process of noticing these illusions twice humbling. I’ve come a long way in surrendering to the support from the Universe but when I get sucked into “I need to do it all” hubris I humbly realize I could let go even more. I can also feel nothing but humility in response to the nearly unfathomable outpouring of love from the Divine into every single thing.

The voice in my head that says “I need to be busy caring for everyone” is one of the strongest voices that can prevent me from sitting down to meditate. When I do manage to sit, I might feel so tangled in the world that it’s hard to imagine I will settle down. It never ceases to feel like a miracle when my heart loosens, and I remember the peace and spaciousness that comes from being part of the Divine flow. I get perspective. I can again focus.

Embodied spiritual understanding is what really turns the tables on my powerful Should voices. What’s your practice? Whatever it is, it is going to be key to your power.

I invite you to join me in using spiritual practice to help free yourself to deeply engage with the world. This means keeping a mindful eye on the illusions of should. They will come up. They are simply reminders that we need to spend more time bathing in love. Washing your heart regularly in unconditional love is simply good hygiene.

Choosing to step into your power is the beginning of a journey. Choosing your focus has many more nuances that I’ll explore in future posts. For now, cherish the freedom that comes with not having to do it all.

As my daughter might say, hiyah!

With love,



Looking to rise into your power and engage with these transformational times?

Join me and Julie Delene for a half day workshop dedicated to attuning to your focus – and freeing from your “shoulds.”

Looking for embodied spiritual practices that can help you remember the Divine flow?

Drop in any week to the Healing Waters Qigong Practice Group or Living Wisdom practice of traditional dance as a community sacred healing art.