March 30, 2009

Shine a Light

“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.” — Henry Moore

Have you ever gotten so caught up in what’s “wrong” with your life that the lights just seem to go out inside?

I know I’ve been there before… and more than once. I remember years ago when I was struggling with anxiety and addiction, I couldn’t see the light because I was so focused on the darkness. And I’ll never forgot what turned that light on again.

Another human being. Several of them, in fact.

They listened to my story, shining the flames of their compassion into the dark corners of my mind. And, sure enough, they fanned the dying embers until my own fire blazed once again.

When we allow our own lights to shine, we give others hope in the midnight hours of loneliness and despair. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.”

Just for today, make the decision to let your light shine for the sake of others.

At first you may fear that your own light is too dim. But the truth is that our inner lights never extinguish. When we share our light for the benefit of others, that’s when we discover the true brightness of a life well lived.

Exercise

Do not talk about yourself or what troubles you may believe you have to others this week. Whenever you notice yourself talking about what’s “wrong” in your life, stop. Instead, ask those you are with about them, their day, their lives. Keep quiet and listen to what they have to say.

Your time will come, so put others first for a few days.

At week’s end, check in with yourself. How did you do with the challenge? Was it difficult to stop talking about yourself? Overall, has your attitude shifted and, if so, how?

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