What is the greatest power you have?

love-is-freedomThis weekend, I went to see the film Mandela, starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, and it triggered in me a powerful reflection of where we are at in the evolution of our planet. Those of you who know me will know that I have a particular love of Nelson Mandela. I was first inspired by him as a teenager, watching him leave 27 years in prison a peaceful man, and shortly afterwards reading his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.

I have followed him closely, and as many of you will know, feel that he gifted us with one of the greatest ways of finding peace through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I feel a huge love for Walter Sisulu and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, amongst the greatest contributors to Mandela’s greatness, and was blessed to be able to go to Walter Sisulu’s memorial in London.

Yet there was something – or someone – I had not given the attention that was also deserved, and who really stood out for me whilst I watched the film. Winnie Mandela. Nelson’s second wife, a strong, determined, powerful woman who many in South Africa looked to, and still hugely respect. She is called “Mamu Winnie” by many – Mother Winnie. Watching her story unfold through the film, I was reminded about something very important – I was inspired to think about our greatest power.

Winnie Mandela was brutalised before and during Mandela’s imprisonment. A strong, intelligent, bright woman, she spent 16 months in solitary confinement in a cockroach infested concrete box of a cell, during Nelson’s imprisonment. She was beaten, assaulted and abused by the prison officers – in addition to all that she experienced, living with 2 small children and no income at times, separated from the husband she adored, regularly harassed by the apartheid police. Mandela had his compadres with him, however hard his imprisonment was – he always had people (and love) around him. She was deprived of that solidarity, that togetherness. She reacted accordingly, and Naomie Harris gives a truly phenomenal Oscar-winning performance as a woman battered by the Apartheid regime – and what that did to her.

Winnie Mandela turned to hate. She was so angry and bitter about all all she lost, and as a leader in the ANC resorted to championing the “fight”. She authorised the brutal executions of informants, and became quite militarised. She wanted others to hurt as she was hurting. She wanted to cause others the pain she felt. She represented the anger and rage of the oppressed black population, and they looked to her as someone who understood them. In that rage, South Africa was on the brink of civil war, until Mandela – bringing a message of peace, equality and reconciliation – changed that. Mandela himself said that “the only victory they ever had over me was what they did to her”. When he separated from her because of the damage her rage was causing the ANC movement, and his desire for peace politically, it is said to have been one of the most painful times of his life. Nelson adored Winnie.

So how does seeing this help us understand our greatest power?

I was reminded, watching Mandela, that both Winnie and Nelson suffered hugely at the hands of the Apartheid regime. But that each chose a different response. Mandela, for all his imprisonment, knew that the only way to true freedom was to forgive and to let his anger go.

Mandela realised that choosing peace was the only way to freedom. Mandela showed us that our greatest power is the power of choice.

Choice is your greatest power. It is an even greater power than love, because you must first choose to be loving person.

– Caroline Myss

We are living in a time where there is so much that we read about – as conscious souls – that can make us angry. I meet healers and therapists who would rather be angry about the behaviour of large corporations, or the problems of capitalism.

If we choose to build a world based on love, then we must first choose to be loving – and that means to all those who we perceive might be causing us a challenge in our lives.

There is no room for victimhood in the age of love we are co-creating. There is no room for anger or rage that seeks to destroy. In order for all of us to know and live true FREEDOM, we have to feel and live a freedom in our hearts, knowing that we create our world with that inner freedom – and to have an ability to feel love for EVERYONE. We have a truth, an inner love that will always be with us. And that feeling of freedom brings us choice – the choice to love.

We choose:

  • who and what we love
  • how we love
  • how we evolve
  • what we give our attention to
  • what we believe
  • what we spend our money on
  • where we work
  • what we do with our lives
  • how to be the change we wish to see in the world.

As soon as we realise that we are truly free, we can make choices that align with what we believe matters. What matters to you? Do you believe in a world based in love? Then act accordingly. Buy organic, buy natural products, buy fair-trade, buy organic cotton, buy the change you wish to see in the world. Love everyone, no matter who they are – for everyone is an invitation to love, even those who we see cause pain to others. Those people are our greatest teachers, for they are showing us that we have a choice about how we live and we can take the invitation of the Universe and be FREE.

That is what seeing Mandela reminded me of this weekend. Resistance and “fighting” for what we believe matters feeds the energy of the “oppressor”, as Winnie’s story shows. Being in your freedom is an expression of your power to create the world you choose, as Nelson taught us.

So how do we do that?! How to come to feeling free?

We look at all those we feel angry with, and we ask ourselves “What good things do I know about myself because of them”. Once you know that they have taught you that you are strong, determined, bright, capable, compassionate, loving, loveable, and everything else you are because they have shown you, you can then thank them for their lesson and, with your intention, in a prayer or meditation, set THEM free. In setting THEM free, you will be free also.

Are you ready? Are you ready to shine your light, free, and inspire others to do the same?


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