Welcome back laura. Hope wherever you were turned out well for you. And Wendy, thanks for the post with all those ideas of ways you could be powerful.
And I think you're right on about the progression from only being able to think of things we CAN'T do towards being able to think of things we CAN do. Usually, in times of stress and/or fear, the first things that come to our minds are ways we're helpless and powerless.
Once we get some footing, though, we can begin to think of things we can do that use our power. I love, Wendy that you mentioned things like prayer and communicating with friends and family. Sometimes we don't think of those kinds of things as using our power, but they sure are. In fact, for those of us who are religiously oriented, prayer can be extremely powerful.
For any of us, being in any kind of strong connection is totally powerful.
Speaking of power, in 12-step programs there's a lot of focus on using power wisely. The first step, after all, is to turn things over to a higher power. Sometimes people struggle with this idea- feeling like it means giving all their power away. Actually, it's quite the opposite- turning over the addiction to a higher power affords someone the ability (the power) to proceed with sobriety. It allows the person to use their power in places where it can help them- instead of trying to use their power in ways that only get in their way.
I like to practice looking for the "tiniest kinds/places of power I can use in this situation" or the "most unusual way I could use power in this situation" or "the most effective way/s I can use power"
And you know what's cool? Even thinking about where and ways I can find to use power gives me something to do, and gives me power and makes me not-helpless. Cool :)