We all have various talents and skills, ones that are innate to us and others that we may have nurtured and refined over time. In modern culture, valued skills are ones that are obvious to everyone. You might be a great cook, able to repair just about any piece of machinery, a whiz at computers, or a talented musician.
But there are invisible talents, too, and I call these spiritual superpowers.
Years ago, a friend who was a working mother complained to me about her stay-at-home partner. While he was terrific with the kids, she was feeling put out because she had to come home from working a full day and do the housework as well. After thinking it over, I asked her to expand her view of her partner’s role in the family. His energy was calm and centering, and he was largely responsible for keeping the family grounded. Sure, he wasn’t great at tidying up the living room or getting the laundry done, but he kept house in a different way. My friend was able to recognize his contributions, and how he was a touchstone of sorts. It was one of his superpowers.
I recently became more aware of one of my own spiritual superpowers. In the middle of an intense conversation, a friend told me that I’m a “space-holder.” She said it casually, as if it was completely obvious, but it took me a moment to understand what she meant. My old self-deprecating pattern first translated it as “just a placeholder,” but my feisty friend soon set me straight.
This particular superpower is about accepting people and situations for who and what they are. I’m a sensitive type, an empath, and I feel emotions intensely. Not just my own, but those of others, too. Over my lifetime I’ve learned not to take them on, not to take them personally, but instead to sit with them and BE and accept and listen and, well, hold the space for whatever comes next.
Granted, it doesn’t always work; sometimes it’s all just too painful, and I run away or otherwise act without grace. But when it flows, it’s a valuable talent.
What are your spiritual superpowers?
Do you inspire new ideas in the people you interact with? Can you ground someone’s anxious flightiness with a simple hug? Do you perceive the heart of an issue and deftly mediate between two people who can’t see eye to eye? Are you warned of possible troubling events in dreams? When you begin a new project, do you draw the right people to you effortlessly through magnetic leadership? Do you tend lovingly to a piece of land where animals and nature spirits take refuge?
In modern culture, as in the best superhero stories, these gifts are often unacknowledged and unseen. It’s important to recognize them in yourself and give yourself credit. Do what you can to help, and then make sure you fill your cup so that you can stay healthy and continue to be of service in the future.
Recently I held space in a tension-filled meeting. Everyone was being as civil as they could, but emotions and anxieties were high. When I was younger, I would have wanted to be anywhere but there. Now that I do this work more consciously, I sat and did some Reiki on myself, and watched the threads of energy cross the room. I checked in silently on those who seemed especially anxious, and tried to ease things where I could.
After the meeting, and a couple of errands I needed to run, I went home and took a nap. It was time to recharge. Most people wouldn’t see where I’d expended any effort – I just sat there in a room, after all. So what?
Spiritual superpowers are intangible, and their value often isn’t validated externally, unless the situation is extreme.
As I write this, I’m realizing that it was my power as a space holder that my friend Jenn wanted when she asked me to spend her final days in hospice by her side. On the surface, I didn’t really do much. I mean, I held her hand and gave her Reiki, but for much of the time she was beyond any conscious awareness of that. But by holding that space, letting things be, perhaps I helped ease her passing. Some of her family members thanked me, after her death, just for being there.
Remember those times when you’ve been there for someone, or helped in a troubling situation. What spiritual superpowers did you call upon? Think about how you can nourish them, and use them to help others, even when there’s no likelihood of recognition.
These powers are yours for a reason. You are needed and cherished, even when the recipients might not be able to articulate why. All of us are superheroes in our own way.