The titles we give ourselves—as victims of incest, abused by parents, divorced, drug addict, and so forth—are significant parts of who we are and how we identify.
But what we tend to forget is what has been taught in scriptures, Jesus said it, the Native Americans sing it, and it always poses for me as a sweet reminder that I am more than my past, my life story, that I am always underneath it all, light.
“You, child are the light of the world.”
In tipis and sweat lodges we sing, “Make me a hollow bone of light, make me a hollow bone.” It is the beginning of a song that a child sings to her grandmother. She calls to her grandmother in Lakota, Unci, which means grandmother. She also refers to her as Spider Woman, Iktome.
“Make me a hollow bone of light, make me a hollow bone. Iktome. Iktome Unci.”
The grandmother’s sings back to her granddaughter,”You, child, are the light of the world, you, child are the light.”
This call and response between granddaughter and grandmother serves as a reminder to all who sing it, read it, and take it into their hearts.
There is no amount of abuse, no title that defines part of who we are—adult child of an alcoholic, and so forth—that excludes us from carrying and being that light for ourselves and those around us.
Meditation, poetry, dancing, praying, bearing witness something beautiful such as a tree turning colors in autumn, or something joyous like our child’s excitement on their first day of school while adorned with a cool backpack of their choosing—these moments serve to remind us of the light we carry within us.
While being open like a hollow bone—when we bear witness and actively participate in things that inspire us, bring us joy, offer peace, even if only as mere witness—we are in the midst of the experience of our ever flowing light which never leaves us, no matter how many titles we use to define us or that we may identify with.
“You, child, are the light of the world,” has grown to be an internal mantra I’ve practiced for a number of years and it never ceases to inspire the child within me…the one who still holds heart space for swinging on a swing set till my toes seemingly touch the clouds. It inspires a beginner’s mind where I am able to see the world with a more youthful vision, even though I am a 46-year-old woman with numerous titles I carry, each of which truly only defines an aspect of who and what I am.
So when you get in that head space where life seems as if it’s pulling you down, when you are dragging your feet down the sidewalk instead of skipping (even if metaphorically) then remember this mantra.
No matter how old you may be, no matter how many ways you identify in the world, no matter how many titles you might have earned whether through joy or trauma, “You, child, are the light.”
Author: Krista Katrovas
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: kwerfeldein at Flickr