Sonali Rajan, a fabulous graduate student at Columbia University, and I recently completed our new middle school curriculum. One strong voice emerged as the lessons developed. The universal voice that is mine, that is yours, that is ours. The voice that rests within each of us that is frequently overpowered by the clatter of the external world around us. The voice that tells us what we are feeling.
Included in every lesson is some kind of call to the girls to slow down, breathe and identify what they are feeling. Our feelings, or inner voice, are often a good indicator of whether we are immersed in an activity, relationship or circumstance that is either enhancing who we are or diminishing who we are. If we feel full and uplifted then quite likely we are on the right course or in the right company and if we feel small and demeaned then quite likely we are not on the right course or in the right company.
I've referenced this feeling in the new curriculum as “little p” power and “Big P” Power. “Little p” power is the type of power that drives us to achieve positions and acquire things...such as external beauty, expensive homes, a particular title at our workplace (all are "in the Girl Box" behaviors). “Big P” Power is the type of power that drives us to celebrate the work required to accomplish our achievements...such as perseverance, a can-do attitude or the need to slow-down and be more intentional (all "out of the Girl Box" behaviors).
The older I get, the easier it is for me to identify when I am in someone's presence that exudes Big P Power or little p power. That light that makes me "Molly" burns brighter when I am with those who celebrate life with Big P Power. I feel open, strong and safe to reveal who I am.
When I started Girls on the Run I could not articulate any of this. The words just didn't exist. All I knew then...I knew by feeling. When I spent time with my girls I felt full, whole and safe. When I talked with my colleagues, I felt heard, safe and genuine.
Girls on the Run is built on the precepts of Big P Power...how we and our girls feel at the end of each lesson is the truth about what is occurring. I've had a difficult time over the years expressing what actually occurs over the course of the 12-weeks. I still often grapple with describing it..."You just have to come to one of our sessions or attend our Girls on the Run 5k to feel what I'm talking about."
But now, I just show it. I raise my hands up to the sky, lift my chest upwards and exclaim "This is how it feels!" When I am filled with the Big P Power that I experience each and every time I am a part of something related to Girls on the Run, I feel this way...open, big hearted and in-powered.
So, please try it right now. Push your chair back. Stand up, raise your hands high over your head, puff out your chest and see how it feels. After all, you are in-powered with Big P Power and you are free to be yourself! Think of yourself as a gymnast who has landed a 10 off the rings, an author who has just completed a brilliant novel or a tri-athlete who has crossed the Ironman finish line! Arms up, chest out...this is how Big P Power feels!!!!