Learning to See Light in Ourselves and Others

I originally wrote the article below for the Mountain Mirror. http://www.mountainmirror.com/

While I was in a burrito restaurant waiting on a to-go order, a woman came in the establishment singing her heart out. She sounded so lovely, but as she sang, I was reminded how rare it is for people to have the courage to truly be who they are. I have noticed that the more comfortable I get in my own skin, the more apt I am to sing or dance in public to a catchy tune. But I have probably not ever had the audacity to sing as boldly, in a communal setting, as this woman did. As she sang, it was clear she felt a sense of liberation and freedom in her life. She was letting her light shine and being her true self.

As I stood in the restaurant with this woman, she continued to sing and I noticed she received some stares from others. No words were spoken, but as I noticed the dehumanizing glares, it was as if some people in the room were saying, “you are nuts.” In our modern day vernacular, we use words like crazy and weird to differentiate ourselves and validate our own sense of self, at the expense of others. But sadly, when we scowl, roll eyes or verbally put others down, we unconsciously diminish both their light and our own. How can we challenge our self to see the light in the family member, colleague, friend or stranger who gets under our skin?

I spoke with a friend this week who is leaving a job, and she shared with me she is making this difficult decision, because of the inability of her workplace colleagues to see her gifts and graces. She has such a compelling bright light, but a few of the people she has worked with have sadly had trouble seeing her beauty.

It is also painful when a family member, romantic partner, business associate or friend becomes estranged from us. The Facebook word, unfriend, means the removal of someone from a social media website, and this term was recently added to the dictionary. I am saddened by our growing tendency to abruptly cut off people because of differences of opinion, political persuasions or religious views. There certainly are times when it might be necessary to end a relationship, but our propensity to alienate ourselves from others is a symptom of the growing disconnection in our world. I feel like an important antidote to the separation in our world, is choosing to see the light in one another.

And even if someone has hurt us so much that we need to set strong boundaries with them to protect our self, I still believe it can be healing to look for the light and love that resides within them. I have noticed that when I see the light in others, it somehow nurtures them and cultivates the light within me.

Not only do we need to see the light in one another, but we need to speak words of life and light to others. We need to tell our colleagues, friends, and family the beauty we see in them. When I am encouraged by someone, it increases my capacity for light and life. I feel more confident and have more of a glow.  And likewise, when I encourage someone else, it strengthens my spirit and the candle in my heart burns brighter.

We also need to nurture the light within ourselves. When we take care of our own light, it becomes easier to cultivate the light in others. Our self-care practices and hobbies help us to shine like the sun. My self-care practices include traveling, hiking, yoga, antiquing, prayer, reading, date nights, writing and spending time with loved ones. How do you take care of the candle within your heart?

The poet Rumi said, “Deep in our hearts, the light of heaven is shining.” I believe if we will take time to rest in the Light of the One who created us, and if we nurture the light within ourselves and one another, we will experience more joy in life.  Maybe right now it feels like our light is barely flickering, but if we cultivate this light within us it can become the size of a bonfire.

I hope you know you have a light within you. I encourage you to take care of your light and go and shine it brightly. As we nurture our own light, let’s also be intentional to foster the light in others, in a way that allows them to authentically shine their light. Summer officially begins this month, and our days are filled with sun and light, but let’s ensure that are hearts are equally full of light.

Let’s see the light in one another,


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