December 9, 2013

Let Your Light Shine: A Holiday Reminder to Be Big & Bright.

Jewelry is symbolic, both to me and to countless people everywhere. 

Right now, I’m wearing my golden Dogeared lotus pendant on its delicately simple chain and to it I’ve attached a teensy tiny piece of brilliantly green emerald that’s been placed onto a thin sterling silver wire.

It symbolizes something.

Recently I shared this within a reader/writer group that I adore being a part of on Facebook:

Feeling torn between being a woman and being a mom. Realizing I’m still the slightly jealous type because my daughter is often more interested in other people and honestly I adore yet envy the closeness and loyalty of all the ele[phant journal] apprentice groups. In short, feeling tender but almost like a new young shoot who will sprout up greener and stronger and even more resilient in the end. Lengthy nowhere post over…

I rarely share raw things like this on sites like Facebook.

You won’t find me bitching about my husband or saying something embarrassing about my child. I feel, quite honestly, that I share more than enough within my blogs.

Still, I do know that part of walking my talk (that we need to share openly and from a place of authenticity rather than closing up and hardening as we go through life) involves posting more than my article links and a couple of  adjoining words.

On the other hand, believe it or not, I’m an awfully private person.

Sure, I might be an extrovert, but I think that many people misunderstand what this even means.

It means this:

I so loved going to my husband’s holiday office party on Friday night.

I loved the conversation, the laughter and the fact that the actor playing Santa Claus decided to include yelling at me to get out of his way (twice) into his impromptu murder mystery bit.

I liked those uncomfortable moments when some people feel that they’ve run out of words. It means that they were listening to what I said rather than thinking of what they would say next. (Which to me isn’t awkward but sincere and beautiful.)

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my husband’s co-workers (finally). They were wonderful, and funny and gorgeous.

I love people. I thrive from being around them. Yet being an extrovert doesn’t mean that I don’t also enjoy this:

Being alone. 

I absolutely require solitude and quietness.

I’m not afraid to do things by myself and I need space—and a lot of it—which is one reason I think my relationship has lasted so long (my husband gets it, because he needs it too). 

I live so much inside of my head that this is one huge reason for why I need my own space to breathe and to be, but, also, it’s why I practice yoga—to get back into my body and my presence.

And I remember feeling confused as a child because I knew that I had such a strong personality but also that I could easily connect with—and morph into the companionship of—others. Yet it’s not just because I love people.

It’s because there’s something intrinsic within all of us that wants to both connect with those around us and divide and separate ourselves from the group.

More, we enjoy dividing ourselves into categories.

I’m a Scorpio, an ENFJ, a yoga teacher, a this and a that.

We like helping people understand who we are and what makes us tick, but the flaw is that we can forget the simplicity of the fact that we’re just people.

And it’s true.

I wear, for now, the golden lotus and the emerald around my neck to remind me that I am tender and I am strong and that both can co-exist.

I remind myself, too, that being just a person is one of the most valuable experiences of my life.

That silly Facebook post that I mentioned earlier? I have been feeling jealous.

I see these sweet posts and thoughts shared and I want that—but I already have it.

I have a wonderful friend who I love writing with. I have a best friend who happens to be my twin sister. I have a husband who not only puts up with me but thinks I’m the cat’s meow and I have a daughter who I’m positive is the bees’ knees.

Because I am just a person.

And that might sometimes mean that I’m fragile and swollen in my heart and easily battered, but it additionally means that I’m part of a group who consistently sees the merit in re-growth and light during times of darkness (and in blossoming from murky, muddy waters—hence the lotus).

The friend who I adore writing with recently reminded me that people love light during these cold, dark months. Then I went to my daughter’s holiday school play (the Saturday after the angry Santa Claus party) and this multi-cultural event showcased light in cultures all over the globe. (Sorry to separate here from my wonderful Australian friends, who are enjoying sunshiny barbecues.)

So I wear my gilded lotus charm and bright green emerald to remind my heart that singing and blossoming during unexpected moments of harsh weather are both wonderfully renewing and part of our cyclical lifeblood. 

We seek to be part of the clique and to walk our independent paths.

We want desperately to raise children who don’t need us and, doubly, to be needed by our flesh-and-blood creations.

There’s something within all of us that feels entrenched in dichotomies like these while simultaneously searching for similarity, harmony and accordance with those around.

And people everywhere love symbols.

From falling stars for wishing and four-leaf clovers for luck and the iconic Buddha statue to the standard male/female images on bathroom doors, we love something that displays universal meaning without offering up one single word.

My daughter’s been curious about the significance of the candles that were all over her holiday program booklet. She was curious about the menorah and the other brightly lit flames depicted on its pages. I told her that people need reminding during times of darkness that one small light can bring brightness to a cold, dim world.

The lotus flower blooms from murky water.

It’s a powerful declaration that our best and brightest selves often grow from our muddiest, gloomiest moments in life.

And while I have been feeling fragile, this fragility serves to remind me of the softness that exists within others, even when I can’t see it. It helps me to keep in mind that we all need to be treated tenderly, at least from time to time.

And the emerald I’ve been wearing reminds me of the light within my heart (green is the color of the heart chakra). Moreover, it reminds me to let this light shine brightly, regardless of the filter that people around me might prefer.

Because that’s the thing about cliques: they don’t always serve our best selves. What serves us best is being surrounded by people who encourage us to glow brighter and brighter and who reflect and admire this warmth.

I’m reminded of this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson


(The light in me recognizes and honors the light in you.)


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

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