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Debra Lynn Dadd

Intention and Personal Power
by Debra Lynn Dadd

It's always interesting to me how events dovetail in my life.

I was invited to write this essay on personal power just as my husband and I had decided to sell our house in Florida, where we have been living for five years, and move back home to California, where we were both born and raised and had lived most of our married life. Selling a house in a slow market, going through all our things and deciding what to pack and what to sell, moving across country, and finding housing in a city like San Francisco is an challenging adventure, and I needed to use my personal power full throttle.

So I had to smile to myself as I observed how I had created an opportunity to remind myself just how powerful I really am and how powerful we all have the potential to be.

Once, some years ago, I looked up the meaning of the word power and made some notes about it. Just as I was writing this, I thought, hmmmm...I should look that up. I happen to have on my computer a very powerful search function that will search through the text of every file on my hard disk to find every instance of a word. I typed in "power" and got 838 responses! How would I find this out of 838 files?!?!?! I just decided I would find it and began scrolling down the list. The third file I opened was exactly the one I was looking for.

So, what is power?

The word itself is from the Anglo-French poer, which means "to be able." Further, it is from the Latin posse, which also means "to be able" and is the root of potent and possible. Power is the ability to act or produce an effect. Potent is the ability to effectively achieve or bring about a particular result. Possible is having an indicated potential. Ah, potential...it's potent, it can happen.

So I would say that personal power is having the ability oneself to cause something to occur, to act effectively to bring about a desired result.

For me, the foundation of my power is knowing that I am a spiritual being. I have a mind and I dwell in a body, but "I" am a spirit. And as a spirit, I inherently have a lot of power. Potentially unlimited power, actually, and I can use as much as I want and am willing to have.

One characteristic of spirit is the ability to create. I just noticed that in our culture we often think of creating as something artistic, like a drawing or a written story, and that life just happens to us. But to create is simply to bring something into existence...anything...a dinner, a conversation, a drive to work, a birthday party, a new house, for that matter...hmmm...this is beginning to look like power and create have similar definitions...

Discovering that, as a spirit, I do have the ability to create my own life and what I want it to be has given me tremendous personal power. It has taken some practice, but I now have certainty that I can forge an intention and have it occur, despite apparent circumstances to the contrary. 

Part of power for me is the ability to hold my own truth, my own intention, my own vision, all the way through to its manifestation. Intention absolutely works, but what happens is that it needs to make its way through all of our own counterintentions. I can, for example, intend a place to park my car and get one right away, because I have no counterintentions to having a parking place. But if I intend something bigger, say, a million dollars, all my mental doubts and fears and ideas that are keeping me from having this will come up for me to clear away before that intention can go through and become a reality. One aspect of power, to me, is continuing to hold that intention even when it looks like it's not happening. (Actually, I've learned that when I've made an intention and everything starts going haywire, that's a good indicator that it's actually on it's way to happening!)

At the beginning of 2002, I had a dramatic result after holding to an intention I had made, despite the apparency of impossible circumstances. I had made a decision to put living as a spirit at the center of my life. There had been other points in my life where I had realizations about spirit or wanted to pursue spiritual knowledge, but it always came second to the needs of my life in the physical world. Now I had reached a point where the only thing that interested me was living as a spirit first and I became willing to do whatever it took to do that.

It quickly became apparent that the one thing that would best serve that purpose was to sell my house and move elsewhere. I lived in Marin County, California, just north of San Francisco. Though I lived in a very small house (only 700 square feet) in a rural area of the county, the cost of the house was still well above the national average and I had a mortgage that was more than a bit of a reach each month for a self-employed writer. But I had been born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and my family and friends were there, so I continued to allow my life to revolve around paying the mortgage every month. 

When I decided to live as a spirit, I realized that if I sold the house, not only would I be relieved of the financial stress of the mortgage, but that it would release the twelve years of equity that had built up in the house and I would have more financial freedom. With this one decision, I could go from being limited by the financial responsibilities of the house to being liberated by the financial gain it would bring to me. With that money, I could rearrange my life in whatever way I needed to live as a spirit first.

But this was a very difficult decision. I loved my house. My husband Larry and I had done a lot of remodeling with our own hands. Housing prices were such that I had spent many years trying to not lose this house because I couldn't see that I would ever be able to buy another one. But I knew that if I put spirit first, everything would turn out fine.

So we decided to sell the house and move to Clearwater, Florida. We just knew as spirits that was the place to go right then. And the first thing that happened was that both our bodies got sick. We were bedridden for three weeks. Finally, one day, I said, "Well, we aren't getting to Clearwater lying in bed," and I got up and called our across-the-street neighbor, who was a realtor.

Mark had just sold his house, which was very similar in size and style to ours. He suggested an asking price, then gave us all the standard advice about staging our home for the open house. That was a Tuesday. We scheduled the open house for a week from the upcoming Sunday.

There was one big obstacle to selling the house. We had been remodeling the bathroom and it wasn't finished. It had a toilet, but no sink. There was a bathtub and fixtures installed, but the area around it hadn't been tiled yet, so there were plastic tarps lining the walls to protect the new backerboard when we took a shower. We had plans and permits and all the materials--including a gorgeous slab of veined black marble for the vanity countertop--but it wasn't all assembled. And if that wasn't daunting enough, in order to finish the bathroom, the septic tank needed to be replaced, which meant digging up the back yard. This was NOT a "move-in ready" house. It was a move-in-and-get-to-work-immediately house. But the other rooms had a lot of charm, and the one-acre forested lot was beautiful. We thought about waiting to sell and move until we finished the remodel, but it was so clear to sell NOW, that we just went ahead.

The other thing was that we needed a sixty-day closing instead of the standard thirty days. We needed time to go to Clearwater and find a new house and have thirty days for it to close. So the sixty days was non-negotiable.

This was not an appeal-to-the-masses situation. It needed a very specific buyer.

On Thursday, two days after we listed the house, Mark brought the other realtors from his office to see the house. They were all impressed and wanted to start bringing clients right away, even though everything was a mess. Really. The rooms were piled with moving boxes. One prospective buyer came on Friday. Two came on Saturday. On Sunday, we had an offer.

When this woman came to see the house, Larry and I both said to each other, "She's going to buy it!" She just looked like she loved it and belonged there. It turned out that she and her husband had just remodeled a house of similar vintage, so the unfinished bathroom was no problem. She said she could see where we were going with our remodel and wanted to finish what we had started. They both worked at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, which was right over the hill. Currently they had a one-hour commute and wanted a house that was closer. They were willing to pay the full asking price and would take the house "as is".

The only thing they asked for, and this was non-negotiable for them, was a sixty-day escrow, because they had to sell their house before they could buy this one.

We had to hold our intention to sell and move to Clearwater through that whole sixty days. At any point the deal could have fallen through. But we just kept intending and intending that the house was sold and we were moving to Clearwater. And, in fact, it happened. And once we arrived in Clearwater, it took only one afternoon for us to find our beautiful house, and it wasn't even on the market yet!

I've learned that as a spirit, I have the power to create, even beyond the limitations of space and time. When I first heard of this, it seemed unbelievable to me, but I was fascinated. Then one day, I actually experienced the ability to expand time.

I will never forget the first time I intentionally expanded time to accommodate my needs. Time is just one of those things in the physical universe that we think is so solid. A minute is a minute, an hour is an hour, a day is a day...time is all regulated to the sun, moon, and stars, so how on Earth could I possibly make more?

But that's just what I did, much to my surprise.

It was September 2002, and I was in England, in the beautiful countryside just outside London. I had gone there specifically to attend a formal awards banquet, and I was one of those being honored. I had decided to make a new formal dress for the occasion--a long purple strapless sheath, with a flowing overlay of diaphanous purple cotton. The overlay required a lot of hemming by hand, since it was too fine to use the sewing machine, and I hadn't finished the hemming before I left.

I arrived in England the day before the banquet. The following morning I went for a stroll around the local village, and by early afternoon, my body began to feel achy and hot, and my sinuses became inflamed. I recognized these flu symptoms. What terrible timing! I thought perhaps if I took a nap, I would feel better and be able to go to the banquet in the evening. After all, I had traveled three thousand miles. If I was to go to the banquet, I needed to be ready and on a bus at 6:30.

I laid down on the bed and promptly fell asleep. When I awoke, it was 5:45! That meant I had only 45 minutes to finish hemming my dress (it had previously taken me over and hour to do a similar amount of hem), get dressed, put on full evening make-up and do my hair, order a bowl of soup for my queasy stomach, have room service deliver it, eat it, and be on the bus. And remember, I had a fever and chills, and by this time my nose was completely congested and running.

I just decided as a spirit that I had come here to go to the banquet and I was going to the banquet! And I would get everything done in 45 minutes. What else could I do? I had nothing to lose by making this intention. The worst that could happen would be that I wouldn't finish. But if I didn't make the intention, I wasn't going to the banquet for sure.

I ordered my soup and sat down to hem my dress. I didn't hurry at all, just sewed at a comfortable pace, knowing I would finish on time. The soup arrived without delay, so I ate it and went back to hemming. I finished the hem, put on the dress, applied my make-up, did my hair, (again, without rushing), and was all ready by 6:20. This seemed impossible. But it happened.

I had plenty of time to walk leisurely to the bus and board before it left, right on time.

For me, cultivating personal power has been a process of becoming more aware of the power I inherently have as a spirit and practicing using it, and also learning how not to "give away" my power to others. As I take responsibility for my own life instead of blaming others, as I observe and evaluate for myself instead of believing others, as I imagine the highest good I can imagine and take action to bring it about instead of simply accepting what already is, as I grant others the freedom to use their own personal power and uphold my own right to use mine, I become more and more powerful each and every day.

© Copyright 2007 Debra Lynn Dadd. All Rights Reserved. 

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Debra Lynn Dadd
Debra Lynn Dadd has been a leading consumer advocate in the field of health and the environment since the early 1980s. She was the first to comprehensively write about toxic chemicals in common household products in language meant for consumers, which created a demand for the many nontoxic products we find on the market today.

Beginning with her first self-published book in 1980, Debra's various books have been continuously in print for twenty-five years. Her book Home Safe Home is the definitive guide to toxic exposures in the home and safe solutions. She also publishes Debra's List--a free online directory of 100s of links to 1000s of products with health and environmental benefits--and three free online newsletters: Health, Home, and Habitat, a weekly recipe using natural sweeteners, and Words of Wisdom--a daily quotation on nature or spirit. She has been a regular contributor to Natural Home & Garden magazine since it's first issue.

Hailed "The Queen of Green" by the New York Times, Debra has appeared on many radio and television shows including Geraldo and the Today show. She was featured on the cover of East West Journal (now Natural Health magazine) and Yoga Journal.


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