Light in Dark Times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us…” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Light in dark

One would think Dickens wrote this about the tumultuous state of the world today.  It’s a tough time for everyone particularly those facing persecution, natural disasters and trauma.  In the Tale of Two Cities, Dr. Manette’s broken spirit from his unjust eighteen year imprisonment is healed by the love and devotion of his daughter.

In every case of disaster or distress we learn of heroes who shield others from bullets, rescue people from burning buildings, donate blood, time and money to those in need, comfort strangers and loved ones who are suffering. We bring relief by showing we care, standing up for morality, engaging in humanitarian efforts.

Volunteer, sign up for a cause, make peace with someone, be a mentor, give encouragement, get involved.  There are so many ways to bring light to dark times.

Inspiration

“Everybody we encounter is really a mirror – a reflection of a part of who we are. And within each of us is a teacher – someone who inspires, listens and reflects.” – Oprah

Inspiration

One morning, I felt a particular appreciation for the motivators in our lives – my Pilates instructor as she guided me through movements to strengthen and balance my body, a friend who as a professional coach helps clients make positive changes, and the teacher who motivated my niece to go to college and become a teacher so she can inspire other students.

Inspiration is my passion – it’s why I created this blog. So, it didn’t surprise me to see the title of that day’s meditation with Oprah and Deepak was “Inspirational Me.” Oprah said, “Each of us has that power to inspire one another.  Within all of us lies a wonderful teacher … Embrace that inner teacher and know you have something very valuable to offer everyone around you.”

That’s the beauty of inspiration – you don’t have to be an instructor, coach or teacher to inspire others.  Each one of us has a unique gift to share.  We have the opportunity to connect with people, encourage them, lift their spirits, and experience the power of inspiration as we watch it unfold.

To read the Inspirational Me meditation, click on this link: http://www.soul2soulblog.net/meditation-desire-destiny/day-17-inspirational-me-desire-destiny-meditation/

 

Shine Your Light

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.” – Marianne Williamson

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Shining your light illuminates everyone on your path.  You can literally see someone light up when you give them a smile, do a small act of kindness, or ask how they’re doing. I appreciated the power of it today saying hello to the maintenance man at the city’s recreation center.  He was cleaning lights in the parking garage.  Being a hot day, I told him to stay cool.

He walked over to me and started chatting.  I could tell he took pride in his work because people complimented him regularly  – “the mirrors in the dance room are so clean, the floor is clean and not slippery, thank you for brightening up our center.”  He beamed as he repeated these compliments to me.  When people know they’re appreciated and making a difference, they’re encouraged to do more good things.

Later I met with a young friend of my mother, who was a mentor to her giving guidance during a critical time.  She said it created a ripple effect as she provides guidance now to another friend of hers.   We are naturally drawn to positive energy. Kindness is contagious.  Shine your light and pass it on.

Let Go and Trust the Universe

Surrender to what is. Let go of what was.  Have faith in what will be.” – Sonia Ricotti

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I love how things pop up just at the right moment when you need it. When I see or hear something multiple times, I know the universe is speaking to me.  Recently, I read Pam Grout’s newsletter about how your thoughts can create reality when you have faith and trust the universe.  Shortly after, I received an Email from Daily Om, Things We Can’t Control about letting go and trusting life will unfold exactly the way it should. Click the links to read more.

When dealing with difficult situations or worrying about what’s going to happen, this quote is a reminder to let go of what was in the past and also expectations about controlling things the way we want them to be. When we struggle with challenges and obstacles, we become entangled in them like being stuck in quick sand or seaweed. If we stay calm and let go of wrestling with life, the universe will bring us what we need.

It’s perfectly described by the Chinese philosophy of Tao Te Ching: “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”

Stay Still

“Be Still – Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.”  -Lao Tzu

Lately, my mantra is stay still – take time to breathe before reacting to a situation or something said.  It’s not easy when emotions and stress are involved, but I find taking time in that moment helps calm my feelings and response.

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Staying still also allows us to be present to observe and experience things we might not notice in our fast paced world.  Today when I walked on the beach, I was thankful for the low tide.  It’s an opportunity to walk a long stretch of the beach without scrambling on slippery rocks to get to the other side.  I ran my hand across velvety moss on a rock normally covered by water.  I took time to notice sea creatures watching a black crab, spider-like crawl away from me as I approached it.  When I peered into a crevice, a large crab with pink pinching claws looked back at me.  Tiny sand crabs blended in with beach as they wobbled across.

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I knew if I gazed at the ocean long enough I would see something bigger.  Just then, the fins of a dolphin bobbed in and out of the water.  Staying still calms our senses, enhances perceptions and allows us to catch glimpses of nature’s beauty.

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Assumptions

“Your assumptions are windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”  – Isaac Asimov

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A friend called to see what was up for the weekend. I told her we were in L.A. for the Women’s March.  “You’re kidding,” she said.  “I thought you don’t like crowds. I couldn’t find anyone to join me and didn’t think you would go.”

It’s true – I don’t like large crowds or driving on the freeway to L.A. There were incredible winds and a rain storm the day before the March.  I worried freeways would be jammed or flooded.  Assumptions proved us wrong.  We drove to L.A. in record time.  My conviction to Human Rights outweighs a fear of being in the midst of thousands of people.  Over a half of a million people came together peacefully, supporting each other, saying “I’m sorry” for bumping into someone, helping those who had tripped and fallen.  The amazing experience reverberated around the world.

Last week, I helped friends feed the homeless. I wasn’t sure what to expect at a center where 60 people receive dinner and place to sleep for the night. They’re back on the street in the morning.  It’s a heartbreaking plight. Their graciousness, gratitude, and pleasant demeanor touched my heart.

These examples remind us to expand our expectations. When we change our view, it can be a bright awakening.

Re-create Yourself

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw

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The New Year motivates us to reflect, aspire, and re-create ourselves. We’re given another chance to evaluate our lives and determine things that either harm or help us. Like a new path on a road trip, we can keep going down the same route or we can choose to travel to a place we’ve never been before.

At times, I can be a creature of habit seeking comfort with what’s familiar and safe. When I dare to break away and try new adventures, my confidence soars from having courage to try something new or face my fears. Once on a beach – despite a fear of heights – I climbed to the highest point on a large rock.  Sitting there with crashing waves below gave me a feeling of exhilaration.

This year  pursue things which excite, challenge, and make you a better person. Follow your passion and enjoy new adventures!