Here's what to do when you're feeling small. Reframe your power.
One of my most meaningful speaking gigs was for Eve Ensler and her Just Love event. Her effective devotion to ending violence against women, her creative gift of The Vagina Monologues and wrenchingly human and beautiful writing… to ride on her starbeam and lend my own voice to the consciousness that V-Day is raising — well, I would have walked on glass to be there. Honour of a lifetime.
I was speaking in the afternoon so I sat in the audience and listened to the other talks. The women spoke of the psychology and spirituality of trauma recovery, of their own literal experiences with physical and mental torture. Each was stunningly deft in their own genius of politics and medicine and mental geography. It was a heart-blowing array of the power to heal.
It was my turn to take the stage. Here's how I opened:
What I love the most is truth, and if I'm going to be of service — and I'm devoted to being of service, then I have to tell you: I feel so small today. I see the pain. I see the joy. I see the beauty. I feel the global scope of what's happening, and... I feel really, really... small.
The ballroom was silent. I didn't know what I was going to say next, but I knew there was power in what I was experiencing. It was just an unexpected way to get there. Usually when I grab the mic I'm feeling cosmically tall and jacked. But even though I wasn't feeling as global, as equipped to speak on trauma, as Jungian-versed, I was feeling very close to myself, honest in my soul. I made the re-frame happen:
In some Buddhist meditation, they might guide you towards the smallest point of light that you can create in your mind. Sometimes when we start meditating, with all that prana and breath work, the light that we see is very large. But, the goal, if there can be a goal in meditation, is to get to a single small point. The smaller the better, a Lama once told me. So, I want to reframe smallness for you...
Small is the size of a seed -- wet, and hard, and ready all at once. Small is a violet diamond. Sometimes, small is all you have.
One day you will be on top of it, and the next day, in over your head. (Personally, I love feeling in over my head. It reminds me that I'm still running toward the light and not away from it.)
You may not feel tall, but you will feel your depths. And from there, your power can only grow.