On Being a Light in the Darkness, step 1

Based on the December 21st Create Your Magical Life podcast, I’m (slowly) writing a series of posts on how to strengthen your light when it seems like the world around you is falling into darkness.

Light in the Dark

Step 1: Look for the Light

There’s a saying in new-age-law-of-attraction-speak that what we focus on grows, so we want to be aware of where we are putting our attention, steering it away from what we don’t want. There’s also a truth that ignoring or repressing our shadow – the darker side of being human – only gives it more power and allows it to wreak havoc unchecked.

Somehow we have to find the middle way.

We need to acknowledge the pain, the war, the terror, the atrocities committed against children, animals, the earth and each other, allowing our feelings about these things to pass through us. At the same time, it’s helpful to focus on finding and acknowledging all the good and the beauty in the world.

Some practical things to do:

Read inspiring news stories. Watch those videos on Facebook that make you cry because they’re full of hope and love and tenderness. Listen to TED talks or podcasts that inspire you, even if they’re about difficult topics. Look for people who are providing solutions.

One of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read was Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, because it chronicles the violence committed against women worldwide. But for each horrific topic they share the stories of people who are making a difference. As hard as I cried and raged against the cruelty, I was left with a real sense of hope because we humans are SURVIVORS.

Most of us do care, we do want to make the world a better place. Curate your social media feeds, your blog reader and news channels. Make space for hope and possibility when you log online. This doesn’t mean sticking your head in the sand and ignoring everything that’s happening in the world. It does mean that you are allowed to take care of yourself in the midst of it all.

Notice if you’re going down the rabbit hole of negativity. Pause, take a deep breath, and check in to see how it’s affecting you. Is your body clenched and tight? Your heart heavy? Are you filled with rage or despair? Breathe and feel the feelings, without spinning in the story.

You can choose to allow the anger to move you to action (write a letter or blog post, start a petition, donate money to a cause or search for a volunteer opportunity) or you can choose to turn toward something else – something lighter or more life-affirming. Something that reminds you there is hope and goodness available in even the worst of situations. Hug a child. Help a friend. Snuggle your favorite four-legged family member and immerse yourself in their unconditional love.

Look for warm smiles and kind words when you are out in the world. You might have to look hard, but love is always there. Instead of simply cringing at the homeless man sleeping under his coat, notice the way his dog is curled up against him. They might not have much but they have each other.

Practice being with the ugliness and the beauty at the same time, the despair and the hope, the disillusionment and the wonder. Your heart is big enough to hold it all.

Practice looking for and taking in the good stuff. Let it have as much weight in you as the bad does. You might need to carry a little notebook with you and take notes about what you see so you can remember it later. Go over it before you fall asleep. Hold it close.

And when you find your truest pain places, the ones that you can’t sit still with because they make you ache so deeply, know that is where your place of action lies.

I’ll talk more about that in the next post.

I’d love to know: What light have you seen lately?

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2 Responses to On Being a Light in the Darkness, step 1

  1. Nancy Hopps says:

    Amen, Alana! Nicely written…thanks for sharing YOUR light!

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