Our Hidden Power

Superhero Shadow

During times of despondency, people, including those in recovery, often struggle to remember who we know ourselves to truly be. We forget we are amazing, blessed, creative, loving, and powerful beings.

We get so wrapped up in negatives that we forget our positive qualities. In such moments, it is worth taking a close look at how you are showing up and identifying yourself. Take a deep breath and take comfort that there is more to you than you can imagine.

“I think in varying degrees, we all suffer from a case of mistaken identity,” says Rev. Darlene Strickland, senior minister at Unity of the Blue Ridge in Mills River, NC. She provides the analogy of Russian nesting dolls. “Sometimes I identify as the littlest one on the inside,” Strickland says. “Feeling fragile, insecure or unequipped to face whatever I am up against. In times of prayer and meditation, when I work the spiritual principles that I know, I realize there is more to me than I can imagine, more to me than I can see.

“Just like a Russian nesting doll, there are layers, and, yet, it doesn’t end with the big doll on the outside,” Strickland continues. “It reaches a point of infinity where the boundaries of my being are no longer just about Darlene. So, for me, a case of mistaken identity is about continually remembering that I have more within me.”

Embracing who you know yourself to be—compassionate, intelligent, forgiving, accepting, and so on—determines how you show up, what you believe is available to you, and what you believe you are capable of. Strickland shares an experience she had while taking a Hawaiian language and culture class to better adapt to living and leading a ministry in Maui.

The first night of the class the teacher, a “kumu,” wrote two words on the chalkboard: “kuma’aina” and “malihini,” and he drew a line down the middle. After lining up the students, he asked them to write their names under the word they identified with, without providing the definitions of the words. Strickland was the second student in line. Based on the first student’s response, a man who she clearly believed to be Hawaiian and who wrote his name under “kuma’aina,” Strickland decided to write her name on the line between the two words, much to the amusement of her fellow students. By the end of the exercise, more students had written their names on the line than under either of the words.

The kumu shared that the primary point of the class was to determine how the students saw themselves. He went on to explain that a kuma’aina is a child of the land. In Hawaii, everyone is considered a child of the land; however, you have to see yourself as a child of the land. A malihini is a visitor, which is fine as well. But you should take care of the land while you are visiting. “The kumu said all of life responds to who we know ourselves to be,” Strickland says.

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