What is Sovereignty?
Webster Definition: Freedom from external control. Autonomy; self-determination
Sovereignty is at the heart of our empowerment work and at the heart of most empowerment work to be honest. It’s key to all that we do. Without it, there’s no personal power nor autonomy as humans. So what exactly does sovereignty look like, feel like, behave like?
Sovereignty is a journey or a remembering that the ultimate wisdom for the self lies within. There’s no one that knows more about your inner world than you do and oftentimes we just need a reminder that this is true. How many times do you give your power away to an expert, or a guru or a teacher or a specialist? We are expected to concede when an authority tells us the way things are, even if they’re referring to our own body, heart or mind. Our system is built on this kind of authority. “We know best” has been a motto that has governed our systems and been at the heart of colonialism for hundreds of years.
To really unpack this, we must begin by realizing that another person does not have authority over you in any way. Read that again.
Another person does not have authority over you in any way.
This runs deep. It may stir all kinds of things up to even bring it out of the shadows and look head on at it. Pause here. Notice what is surfacing. Do you disagree? Do you think there are exceptions to this? All of our conditioning from birth has been laced with a message about authority. Either it’s been clear that you always have authority and encouraged, even invited as a child and throughout your adolescence, or there have been others in your world that have been telling you since the beginning that ‘so and so’ knows best. And depending on your own origin story, how you hold your power today will be a direct reflection of this upbringing.
Sovereignty is an invitation to bring all of your power home again.
This isn’t to say you don’t seek advice or expertise in any given area; it just means that the ultimate say in anything is you and no one can nor should take this away from you.
Here's a bit of a process to invite sovereignty fully into your life:
Take a moment to imagine yourself at the top of a mountain and down around the base of this mountain are every person you’ve even been in contact with or are currently in relationship with or in some way interact with them. Now picture that a cord is attaching you to each one of these people. Some of the cords are thick and heavy and laced with toxic patterns. Some may feel light and easeful and mutually self-respecting. Now here's the fun part. Cut each cord. Even the ones that feel light. Cords of attachment whether a burden or a blessing are attachments none the less and in some way prevent us from standing in our power.
So cut them all. This doesn’t mean severing all ties with everyone. It’s about attachment. It’s about the expectations and pedestals and contracts we’ve devised with each person. And it’s impacting your power.
Go ahead and sever them. Feel that in your body. What do you notice?
Once each one is severed, imagine any power that you may have given to any one of these people flowing gracefully back to you. All the ways others may have offered unsolicited advice, or taken control of a part of your life, or been overbearing, or been cruel. Bring all of your power home. It belongs to you after all. No one else needs it.
The next time you find yourself in a conflict or challenging situation, focus first on your power. Do you have authority here? If not, what can you change to ensure that you do? Change it. Stand in your centre and in your power before engaging. This is what sovereignty feels like.
The next time someone walks up to you and offers unsolicited advice, thank them and ask them to request permission first before giving you advice. Or tell them flat out that you weren’t actually seeking advice, you only wanted to be heard. This is sovereignty and this is your birthright.
From one sovereign person to another, I see you and I honour your wisdom.