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You Have To Claim It
by Stewart Blackburn

I recently resigned from a volunteer post that I had proudly taken up only a few months ago. The situation turned out to be quite different from my perception of it and I felt the need to change course quickly. Some people were disappointed with me, some were angry, and others acknowledged a good decision on my part.

What was most noticeable in people's reactions was their surprise that I had acted so suddenly and resolutely, going in a direction entirely contrary to what was expected. I had just written a new chapter in my life story in a way that was my own, without reference to anyone else's opinions or pressure. This, to me, is an expression of personal power: the ability to choose for oneself and to act on it. It is an act of claiming one's own authority.

I believe that claiming our own authority is the key to power in general. Only when we claim our authority and decide for ourselves what is in our best interest and what it is that we feel will support that, can we really feel that we are in charge of our lives. This is a conscious decision. It is the decision to be willing to override all other authorities in our lives. We may use many other authorities for information and allow them to influence us. But, to be our own authority is to say, "Yes I will accept this idea" (perhaps with modifications) or "No, that makes no sense to me and I will let it go." It is to say, "My life is mine to choose and the myriad decisions that I make each day are mine to make."

When we are making the decisions for ourselves we combine our desires, our own wisdom, our awareness of our capabilities and limitations, and the input and help of Spirit (if we have asked for it.) Sure, that may just boil down to our opinion. But, I think our opinions should matter more than the opinions of anyone else. We, after all, have to live with our opinions; and it is by taking responsibility for our lives that we can navigate our way to the happy and satisfying life we're looking for.

So how might we break down personal authority into its constituent pieces? Let's take a look at what most of them are.

The most obvious element is clarity of desire: "I am clear about what it is that I want." If we don't really know what we want, then it doesn't matter who's making the decisions in our life. One decision is as good as another. But, the moment we decide that we really want something, then our whole focus can go in that direction. And since it is our desire, no one else will ever understand it the way we do.

Another element of our authority is to acknowledge that we have a birthright to ask for what we want and to go for it. This is an acceptance of our ability to be free as human beings, if indeed, we choose to claim that freedom. This is to say, that once we have elected to take our place as whole beings on Earth, then we deserve to receive what it is that we desire. We may not find it manifesting exactly as we had imagined, but it will likely be very close.

A third element of our authority is that of responsibility. We lose a lot of our power when we blame other people or situations for whatever it is that we don't like. We lose our happiness then, too. When we say, "I, alone, am responsible for my choices," we are letting go of all blame. It's like the difference between a Paint-By-Number paining and creating a work of art from our own imagination. We can't be fully creative if we are looking over our shoulder to see what others are thinking about what we're doing. We need to be able to say, this is how I choose this thing, in this moment, whatever the consequences may be.

This is especially important when it comes to how we will live in our bodies and use our sexuality. There seems to be no end of opinions about how we should be taking care of our bodies, what are appropriate body shapes and what are not, and which expressions of sexuality are okay and which are not. This element of our authority means the difference between constantly living in shame or in freedom. A life lived in shame, an experience most of us have had at least to some degree, is the opposite of thriving. The antidote to shame is self-love. Claiming our personal authority is one of the first acts of authentic self-love.

When we take up our own authority, we are claiming our own Sovereignty. We are the divine rulers of our lives. We become the ones who decide if it is to be a life of joy and happiness or one of misery. The Sovereign says, "I, alone, am responsible for my happiness."

So, give yourself permission to make "mistakes" and to do things that don't work out as well as you would have liked them to. In other words, be both the authority and the experimenter. You don't have to know everything. You are just the one in charge of the experiments. The more experiments, the more you learn and the wiser you become. When you are genuinely empowered you make all of the decisions regarding your life. And that's the path to happiness!

"A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life." - James Allen

Copyright 2015 Stewart Blackburn

Stewart Blackburn is the author of The Skills of Pleasure: Crafting the Life You Want. His website is: www.stewartblackburn.com; email: shamanofpleasure@gmail.com.

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