What kind of person do you want to be?
Robert Fulghum has a powerful story worth looking up in full in which he tells of a discussion leader who lived through World War II. When this elderly man was asked about the meaning of life, he responded by saying this in part: “I came to understand that I am not the light or the source of the light. But light – be it truth or understanding or knowledge – is there, and it will only shine in many dark places if I reflect it.”
As we design our own lives, it is important that we identify what source shines brightly to us, so that we may reflect it or be sparked by it in order to shine increasingly outward. A flame does not expand to a stronger glow unless the core is stable and strong, so please never hesitate to return to your source lest you burn out. Please use this visual of a candle to intentionally consider your own light, friend. Shine brightly!
1. Sources of Light
Filling yourself with Light is so important as you head out to interact with others, in order to be a person of light, you want to find sources for you to feel uplifted. Read below for different ways to fill up your own tank before you head out to connect with others.
- Practice gratitude
- Listen to a podcast or music
- Read a book, poetry, or inspiring quotes
- Watch a documentary or TED talk
- Take a class or learn a new skill
- Have a meaningful conversation with someone you trust
- Speak an affirmation or choose a word of intention
- Put a midday reminder on your phone with a truth that grounds you
- Go outside to connect with nature
- Do some movement – stretching, walking, dancing, exercise
- Visualize light within you and extending from you throughout your day
2. How to be a light in your family
When you are in your own home it is time to feel at home and relaxed. You get to be someone who curates that kind of experience not only for yourself, but for those you love and who live with you. Intentionally look over this list and bring more light to your family this month.
- Establish a family tradition of dinner conversation topics
- Hold a weekly family meeting
- Have monthly dates with each person in your household
- Have a practice of “leaving things at the door” during mealtime
- Create a family culture where anyone can have a “do-over” any time
- Model morning time for your family where you take care of yourself and fill your own cup
- Reset your state when entering your house or a room that your family is in, “shoulders back, chin up, smile”
3. How to be a light in your community
We want to add to the community that we live in, being a source of light and goodness. This can happen in both substantial and simple ways. Note the list below and decide 3-5 ways you want to commit to showing up in your community in the year ahead.
- Leave a book in a Little Free Library (or start one)
- Take a walk and clean up your neighborhood
- Leave a review for your favorite restaurant, local store, or salon
- Hide a scratch off ticket for someone to find
- Leave quarters in a vending machine
- Pay it forward in a local drive-through
- Bake and Drop – make a round of Christmas cookies, fudge, or whatever is your specialty and have a day where you drop it off at friends’ houses
- Volunteer – for the PTO, for the library, for a local food bank or museum
- Establish a tradition in 2021 – become the person who . . . drops off presents on January 1, delivers Valentines, dresses up as a leprechaun and does singing telegrams, hosts a book club . . . the sky is the limit, how do you want to show up for your friends?
4. How to be light in the world
More than ever our impact is global. Be sure to show up for others and for our planet in a way that brings light to dark places. As we look to a new year how might you have a small impact on our world.
- Donate online to a cause you care about – The Rainforest Trust or Sierra Club for habitat & nature conservation, Feeding America for hunger relief, ACLU for civil rights advocacy, IJM for criminal justice reform, etc.
- “Adopt” an animal at a zoo or rescue to help provide for their care
- Opt to buy from ethical and ecological companies for everyday items
- Recycle, even when it isn’t convenient
Also download a printable that reminds us of how to show up in our lives, families, communities and world as a person of light.