How I shifted from powering through to inner power (The story behind Joyful power life)

Today I help free spirits live an intentional life from a place of relaxed energy and inner joy.

But it began with strength and willpower. It began with feeling trapped into my own dream lifestyle. It began with smart thinking over embodied intelligence.

All my life I’ve been driven to live on my own terms

There must be more to life than this!” was my catchphrase in my teenage and young adult years. What was offered as the only way to fit in society felt like the death of my soul. Instead, I had a dream: I would live and travel on a sailing-boat.

It took consistent motivation and dedication, a lot of time and energy, but I made it happen. In my late twenties, I was enjoying my hard-won dream lifestyle. And yes, whatever your favourite drink is, it does taste better over a sunset at anchor, to the sound of waves and your only neighbours: dolphins and birds. Especially after a sailing day to get there.

It looked like success, felt like a trap

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A few years in, I decided to pause the travel to prepare the next step.

So I sailed back to Europe, with a plan consisting mainly of:

  • Find a job to finance the next travel and some repairs for the boat. Check!
  • Learn a new skill that could help earning money on the road: Shiatsu. Check!

I was fine, busy executing the plan, looking towards the next departure.
That promising horizon was helping me once again to push through any fatigue, or discomfort. Moreover, after four years of living on a sailing-boat I was stronger than ever, my body was like a machine allowing me to do whatever I had set my mind on.

I made new friends. I was missing my sailing tribe though, to whom I didn’t need to explain myself so much. Deep down I was feeling a bit lonely, though not alone, surrounded by people on a different journey than mine.

It still looked like I was living my dream. But deep down it felt more and more like I was trapped in an outdated version of it. I was focusing so much on the next step, that my day-to-day felt like going through a giant to-do list.

I was going through cycles of being a super-hero with strong motivation and energy, and a tendency to go over my limit; and ending up feeling tired and / or overwhelm. But I was doing fine, managing to stay on the edge, and reset my energy and focus when I needed, even if it meant sometimes taking some time off on my own.

When deep down came right in my face

One thing that was going very well, was my studies. As a life-long learner, I loved connecting back with topics I had set aside during the travel: What makes us Human and alive, the relationship between body, mind, and soul.

So one day, curious to explore non-ordinary states of consciousness, I found myself sitting on the floor with a few people for a drumming shamanic journey. I know! It was woo woo to me too back then ! While I was obviously open to the experience, I had a strong feeling it would take much more than a few beats to take me into trance.

The drumming began: “Boom boom, boom boom…” And just like that, I was gone! I was immediately transported in an inner landscape that I had never visited and barely knew existed, though it had been there all along. I was laughing and crying at the same time, immersed in emotions and sensations there are no words for, deeply in touch with my unconscious self and fully aware at the same time.

Back from the journey, it was obvious that of all the persons in the room, I had the strongest experience. Hmmm, so I could go into trance after all!? And apparently with an unsettling ease.

And… If that was true, what else did I believe about myself, that was an illusion?

I had been living listening to my mind over my body, and that was blown away! Like I had been living in black and white, and switched to colors with no way to go back… But I didn’t have the manual. I was going to have to find a way to have my mind cooperate with my body, and emotions, and everything in between.

Suddenly, all my “deep down” had become “right in my face”!
I thought I was resilient, but I was just strong.
I thought I was living intentionally, but I was just trapped in a never-ending to-do list.
I thought I was assertive, but I was just unapologetic.
I thought I was living my dream, but it had become a trap.

I needed to update this dream. First thing was recognising that my partner had become my best friend. I broke up with him, which meant I couldn’t keep the boat that we bought together.

What do you do when everything you wanted and fought for, you have to let go of?

Trusting the experience

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Having to change my goals forced me to come back to what was most important to me.

I could have done it in a few months from home with a coach, but it took me years of real-life experiments to come home to myself. Apparently, learning how to ask for and receive help was part of my path.

For the second time in my life, I sold and gave almost everything I owned. But this time I put the rest, together with my brand-new certificates as Shiatsu Practitioner and Somatic Facilitator, in a suitcase. And I went on travelling… Without a set plan.

This trip was as you can imagine a deep internal journey as well. Instead of finding the solution to my challenge(s) and going after that goal, I began to live the question and allow the solution to emerge. In a way, I was focusing less on doing, and more on being.

Both in real-life experiences and through formal studies I continued my exploration of consciousness, embodiment, the human mind and body. From this and practising of Shiatsu on the road, and then online coaching, a new lifestyle emerged. And this time, it was both aligned with who I was, AND ever evolving with who I become.

Ironic isn’t it? My willpower and grit had always been my superpower. Only when I gave it up did I realise it was actually my greatest weakness, hiding my true power.

From controlled force to Joyful Power

In listening to my body, emotions… as much as to my rational mind, I found out more peace, flexibility and joy; I can be “strong” when needed, and respect my vulnerability when needed. More importantly, my baseline isn’t fixed somewhere in between those two extremes, but is the capacity to adapt in the present moment. That connection makes the difference between powering through and inner power.

It changed the way I show up in the three main areas of my life:

I am present with myself with a relaxed energy: I still like the thrill of adrenaline, taking risks, doing the impossible… But I don’t need it anymore to feel alive. My energy and joy, they come from inside. I trust my body more than my mind to adopt a sustainable pace, bringing a peace of mind and body I never experienced before.

I am present in the world with a creative focus: While I maintain clear goals, I focus on enjoying the moment as well. It makes it much easier to stay motivated, change habits and take decisions to keep evolving in the direction that I want.

I am present in relationships through meaningful connections: Exploring vulnerability has allowed me to accept parts of my Self I was pushing down. This helps in being more authentic, and communicate with others with the same kindness and respect I have developed for myself.

And, all of the above being true, I still fuck up just as much as anyone else! But now I know the way back to my inner power, and I come back to it quicker and quicker.

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