Letting in the Light

During my adult years, in the houses I have rented or owned, I have observed a morning ritual. I open up the curtains or the blinds covering the windows, and let the light in. Whether sunlight streams in through the windows or gray light filters in weakly, I welcome it happily into my living space.

I realized this morning that I had not opened the blinds for several days, keeping them closed as a barricade against the chill of winter outside. The sun was shining brilliantly this morning. It was time to let it in.

Moving room to room, welcoming the light, I recognized that the desire that I have to see sunlight was born in my childhood. Horribly frightened in the dark, the return of the sun each morning brought relief, a lessening of my fear, and hope. The light not only drove the shadows from my room, it chased them from my heart as well.

My heart carries its own light now, that is impervious to the darkest night. But it fills me with quiet gladness and simple joy to continue to bring sunlight into my home.

I’ve never been one to slather on the tanning oil and lay for hours in the sun. However I do enjoy sitting in a patch of sunlight for brief periods of time and soaking in the energy. Tipping back my head, eyes closed, I sun gaze for the same reason, to bring in the sun’s energy.

Indoors the sunlight slants across my favorite chair late in the afternoon, inviting me to slow down, close my eyes, and sun bathe before twilight creeps in.

This afternoon, before heading out on an errand, I paused to stand in the full light of the winter sun as it beamed through the window. I learned from Anthony William that the butterfly shaped thyroid gland collects energy from the sun, using it for healing, for balancing its production of hormones and for fighting the Epstein-Barr virus that can burrow there.

Eyes closed, chin raised to expose my throat, I welcomed the sunlight again, into my home, into my body. Shakti Gawain, author of Living in the Light, writes, “The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.”

My heart, soul…and thyroid…are full of light. My world is bright indeed!

Surrender 118: A Story About the Red Light

Today is Tell a Story Day. What’s funny is, I didn’t know that when I woke up. And yet I arose with a story running through my head, a true story, that still amazes me when I think about it. This week I’m encountering a reoccurring theme of Light, of letting my light shine.  And this event in my life was about that very thing. I checked today’s holidays this afternoon, and when I saw it was Tell a Story Day, understanding dawned. I was being invited to share this story about Light. I surrendered. 

The Red Dot

I got lost in a church basement once. It was a windowless basement with a maze of hallways and rooms that opened off of other rooms. Night was falling outside and I was the last person in the building. I moved through the large church, making sure doors were locked and lights were turned off.

For some reason, as I trotted downstairs, I left the stairwell light turned on, and turned off lights as I moved deeper and deeper into the basement. I thought that the fixture above the stairs would cast enough light for me to be able to find my way back, and besides, I was familiar with the layout of the warren of rooms.


In the room farthest from the stairs, which opened off of a series of rooms, I gathered up books left scattered across a table top, and using my elbow, turned off the last light. I stepped through the doorway and took four or five steps into a larger room before coming to a stop. Complete darkness surrounded me. I couldn’t see a thing. The silence seemed to weigh upon me as I stood there. I grew up with a strong fear of the dark. In that moment, it didn’t matter that I was deep in the recesses of a church…an icy dread gripped my heart.

I walked forward, straining to see in the blackness, hoping that a glimmer of light would reveal the doorway into the next room and the hallway beyond. Just as my brain was telling me I had walked too far, I ran into a wall. That startled me. I turned to the right and took two steps and bumped into a row of lockers. Now panic set in. The room I was supposed to be in didn’t have lockers in it. Somehow, in the dark, I had blindly passed through a doorway and was now in another room.

I threw the books to the floor and groped for the door. I found a doorway but couldn’t locate a light switch. Confused and disoriented, I stumbled around, not knowing where I was or which way I needed to go. At last I came to a stop, my heart pounding. The darkness and silence seemed menacing now. I considered screaming and wondered if anyone outside, who happened to be walking by, would hear me. I didn’t think so. I imagined people coming to church Sunday and finding me curled in a fetal position on the floor.


As anxiety grew in me, I cried out, one word, “Help.” Immediately, a small red dot appeared, glowing faintly in the darkness. My heart beat even harder. What was that? My fear of being lost in the blackness was greater than my fear of the red dot. I crept toward it, moving through a doorway and into the basement kitchen. The glowing red light was on the stove. There was not enough light to illuminate the room, but it was enough for me to get my bearings. Feeling my way along the countertop, I found the door that led to the hallway and then to the stairs. My hands were still trembling as I locked the front door.

What was the red light that appeared on the stove in the basement? After I calmed down at home, I began to worry. I realized what I had seen was an indicator light, and that meant the oven must be on. I didn’t want the oven to remain on until Sunday. What if there was a fire? Reluctantly, I returned to the church, and the basement, turning on every light I could find as I wound my way to the kitchen below. When I checked the stove, the red indicator light was not on. Nor was the oven warm. The stove was completely cold. 

I still get a fluttery feeling in my gut when I tell that story. I have no explanation for how that tiny red light winked on precisely when I needed it to. Except, I asked for help and help was given. 

The message is clear though. As dark as that basement was, it isn’t the darkest place I’ve ever been. We’ve all had times of despair, times of feeling lost in the dark with no clue which way to turn to find our way out. I’ve been there. I never know who is standing near me, silently crying out for help, straining to see more clearly. It is so important that I allow my light to shine, for the joy I feel in doing so, and to cast out a ray of hope for someone groping in the darkness of fear or isolation. 

In truth I am a conduit for Divine light to flow through me. The little red light on the stove lit up as a result of the energy that surged through it. It didn’t create light on its own. It responded and glowed. And I saw it, gratefully, and I was drawn to it.  The red dot led me to the path I sought and I found my way. 

My desire is to draw, to walk alongside for a time, to point out the path for those who are searching, without letting myself get in the way. Just shine. Just be who I am. Just glow with the flowing Light of the Divine. 

I am a red dot. 

Surrender 116: There’s a Light in my Minnow Bucket

This evening I had time to do something with the yard sale minnow bucket that I received. I’m all about repurposing common objects, giving them new life as they serve a new purpose. It’s fun. It’s play. It gives my creativity freedom to go wild.  


I was excited to acquire this minnow bucket. The exterior part is perfect as a metal planter in my garden. I love using metal containers of all types, grouped together, to hold an assortment of flowering plants. I have wash tubs and buckets, watering cans and tall containers, a rectangular box with handles and a red toolbox. 


Holes were drilled into the bottom of the outer bucket, so that water can drain out. I learned by trial and error, mostly error, to do this as a first step. No drainage means soggy soil which results in dead plants! 

The bucket was then filled with soil and I popped colorful verbana plants into it. This newly planted metal piece will join a group of containers on the brickio. 


My imagination immediately repurposed the interior of the minnow bucket into a candle holder. I actually have such a container already, serving as a planter. I found it in a flea market. But it is lacking a top and doesn’t have the interesting pattern of holes on the sides. This adorable version has so much cuteness going for it, including a star pattern punched on the lid. 

Watching the movie A Little Chaos, I determined to bring more candlelight into my own garden. And here came the first opportunity. I never would have guessed that a minnow bucket would bring light and joy into my backyard paradise. 


I could barely wait for the sun to set. I confess that I lit a candle within the interior while it was still daylight and checked frequently, ready to catch the glow. I was not disappointed! What a beautiful and whimsical candle holder that minnow bucket makes. I am thrilled with the look. After this next round of stormy weather passes, I will create a permanent place in the garden for my new candle holder. 

Mesmerized by the soft flickering glow emanating from the bucket, I was reminded of a childhood song. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine…”  I thought too of the scripture that says don’t hide your light under a basket…but allow it to shine, giving light to others.


Don’t hide my light away. Make sure there are clear spaces for the light to shine through. I used to hide my light, or barely allow my light to shine. I tried to get by in life unnoticed. I no longer seek to be invisible. I shine, by being who I am, by expressing myself in creative ways. 

Like turning a minnow bucket into a planter and a candle holder. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…


Journey 355: Being Light

The Winter Solstice occurred today, marking the end of autumn with the year’s shortest day and longest night. As I moved through the first winter day, I thought about what it means to be Light, and bring Light to the world. 

 

For me, I am being Light when I am being fully myself, the shining person I am created to be. As I completely occupy my own Cindy-shaped space, with a heart full of love and joy, I cannot help but allow the Light within me, the Light of the Divine, to spill forth. 

I don’t have to manufacture light. I don’t create it by focusing on being light. I allow Light to shine simply by enjoying who I am, quirks, gifts, scars and all. And by recognizing my connection to God, who also enjoys who I am. I focus on keeping my heart clear of negative, stagnant or low energy. I do the work necessary to free myself from fear, envy, hurt and anger. Everything else takes care of itself. An open heart allows Light and Love to flow, unimpeded. 

And then amazing things happen on my journey, as I am being. Because Light illuminates. It dispels darkness. Light attracts. It warms. Light brings clarity into my life and ignites my intuition, which raises my awareness. My path is Lighted as I journey. 
  
Today, as I was thinking of what it means to be Light, I emailed a client, who is also a friend, to tell him about a possible offer coming in on his property. I concluded the email with this sentence, “Perhaps a Christmas miracle is at work.” I was honestly baffled why I wrote that. It seemed a bit over the top, when sharing about an offer. Yet I felt strongly those were the right words to send. 

He immediately responded with “Well yes, I’ll take any Christmas miracle!” And proceeded to write that doctors had just discovered that his daughter has a brain tumor. Surgery is scheduled for Christmas Eve day in another city. He asked for prayers. I understood why I typed the words that I had and I’m grateful that I left them in the email. It opened communication between us, offered hope, and allows me to surround my client, his family and his daughter with prayers and Light. 

I am being Light. Or perhaps more correctly, I am allowing Light to flow through me. As I journey, I gaze inward often to keep my heart clear, and then get out of the way. I’m grateful, on this short day, that my thoughts, my attention, my heart, were drawn to the Light as well. Let there be Light…in me. 

  

Day 348: Fix the Christmas Tree Lights

fix the lights lightkeeper

I love the twinkling white lights on my fresh Christmas tree. Once I decorate the tree, early in December, I plug the lights in and they stay on until I undecorate the tree in early January. One of my quiet pleasures during this time of year is sitting reflectively at night in the soft glow of the tree lights and the tiny flames of 6o plus candles lit throughout my house.

One thing I don’t like, is how quickly a string of twinkling white lights can become untwinkling. As a rule, I simply buy new lights every year so I don’t have the frustration and hassle of a string, or worse yet, half a string of lights going out. I am a recovering perfectionist, but I still can’t abide having lights on the tree that don’t shine.

This year, I tested the strings of lights that I had left over from last year, and going against my inclination to buy new ones, I used the lights anyway. Ironically, last Thursday, I was in the midst of a Facebook conversation with daughter Elissa, who was experiencing a light failure on her tree, when I cast a glance at my own tree. I couldn’t believe it! Mid conversation with her, about the frailty of Christmas tree lights, and I lose half a string.

fix the lights out

It’s been a busy weekend, with Adriel’s graduation and family in. I left the situation alone. Every time I looked at my tree, I hoped that the lights would all be lit. But no. I normally remove a faulty string of lights and just buy a new set. Today, for the first time, I used a handy gadget to test the string of lights, find the burned out bulb, and replace it.

My year of first experiences has boosted my confidence in tackling projects I never would have bothered with before. If I couldn’t do it, I’d ask Greg or someone else to take care of the situation. And if there wasn’t a readily available solution, I’d replace the item. Not only have I fixed more things this year, and learned to use power tools, I have enjoyed recycling and repurposing what I have, rather than purchasing something new. Doing so has brought a great sense of accomplishment and it feels like I’m being kind to the earth and to myself.

fix the lights pkg

Today, with Greg’s supervision, I used the Lightkeeper Pro, a gun that detects current in the line and beeps when an interruption is found. It was a little difficult to test the strand while it was wound around the tree. I carefully unwound the defective string without disturbing the rest of the tree’s decorations and with the line stretched out, ran the beeping gun along its length. Greg said I didn’t need to mention him in my post, however, he was a great encouragement and offered suggestions as I needed them. After a bit of searching, the burned out bulb was located, by the lack of beeping, and I replaced it. Success! The whole string lit up again. I restrung the lights and felt that wonderful sense of doing something good. I didn’t have to toss the light string and buy another one. And the whole process only took a few minutes.

I am sitting this evening, as I type my blog, near the Christmas tree, which is lit up entirely, the glass beads and glass and silver ornaments sparkling in the glow. Throughout the house, candle flames flicker, adding to the magic. Outside, a rare December thunderstorm adds flickering lights of its own, accompanied by the rolling rumble of thunder. I am cozy and snug in the house, and extremely grateful and content. I love the Light. I am basking in the Light. I am being Light.

fix the lights

fix the lights candlelight

Day 297: Being Light

Be the light Elizabeth Gilbert

Today’s first was based on a talk I presented Tuesday, which in turn was built around a delightful story of Elizabeth Gilbert’s, the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I love how things come together and then flow outward and today was an opportunity to put into practice being the light, and offering a silent blessing to others, as I encountered them throughout my day.

This is the written version of what I shared this week, speaking of darkness, and offering light:

I got lost in a church basement once. It was a windowless basement with a maze of hallways and rooms that opened off of other rooms. Night was falling outside and I was the last person in the building. I moved through the large church, making sure doors were locked and lights were turned off.

For some reason, as I trotted downstairs, I left the stairwell light turned on, and turned off lights as I moved deeper and deeper into the basement. I thought that the fixture above the stairs would cast enough light for me to be able to find my way back, and besides, I was familiar with the layout of the warren of rooms.

In the room farthest from the stairs, which opened off of a series of rooms, I gathered up books left scattered across a table top, and using my elbow, turned off the last light. I stepped through the doorway and took four or five steps into a larger room before coming to a stop. Complete darkness surrounded me. I couldn’t see a thing. The silence seemed to weigh upon me as I stood there. I grew up with a strong fear of the dark. In that moment, it didn’t matter that I was deep in the recesses of a church…an icy dread gripped my heart.

I walked forward, straining to see in the blackness, hoping that a glimmer of light would reveal the doorway into the next room and the hallway beyond. Just as my brain was telling me I had walked too far, I ran into a wall. That startled me. I turned to the right and took two steps and bumped into a row of lockers. Now panic set in. The room I was supposed to be in didn’t have lockers in it. Somehow, in the dark, I had blindly passed through a doorway and was now in another room.

I threw the books to the floor and groped for the door. I found a doorway but couldn’t locate a light switch. Confused and disoriented, I stumbled around, not knowing where I was or which way I needed to go. At last I came to a stop, my heart pounding. The darkness and silence seemed menacing now. I considered screaming and wondered if anyone outside, who happened to be walking by, would hear me. I didn’t think so. I imagined people coming to church Sunday and finding me curled in a fetal position on the floor.

As anxiety grew in me, I cried out, one word, “Help.” Immediately, a small red circle appeared, glowing faintly in the darkness. My heart beat even harder. What was that? My fear of being lost in the blackness was greater than my fear of the red dot. I crept toward it, moving through a doorway and into the basement kitchen. The glowing red light was on the stove. There was not enough light to illuminate the room, but it was enough for me to get my bearings. Feeling my way along the countertop, I found the door that led to the hallway and then to the stairs. My hands were still trembling as I locked the front door.

As dark as that basement was, that was not the darkest place I would ever find myself in. Poetically referred to as the dark night of the soul, despair, pain, and depression can bring darkness to roil within. I’ve been there. Most of us have been there, at some time. We can wait for a light to appear that will lead us out of the blackness. Sometimes it does. And sometimes, we need to bring the light, be the light.

I read a lovely article last week, by author and speaker Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth has experienced times of darkness and she discovered a way to bring the light into her life and into the lives of others. As she moved through her day, she looked, really looked, at every person she encountered and sent them a silent blessing, “May you know happiness. May you be free from suffering.” As the days passed, her life shifted and the darkness cleared. People responded to her. One group of ladies that she did not know even invited her to a concert.

Two things happen when we bless another: we send light energy to her that has a powerful, positive effect on the body and soul, whether she is aware of the blessing or not. And, as we become a conduit for light, the darkness within us is chased away. We are not creating light on our own. We are allowing Divine light to move through us. Everyone benefits.

That red light that appeared on the stove in the basement? After I calmed down at home, I began to worry about that tiny light. I realized it was an indicator light, and that meant the oven must be on. I didn’t want the oven to remain on until Sunday. What if there was a fire? Reluctantly, I returned to the church, and the basement, turning on every light I could find as I wound my way to the kitchen below. When I checked the stove, the red indicator light was not on. Nor was the oven warm. The stove was completely cold. I have no explanation for how that red light winked on. Except, I cried out for help, and help was given.

I finished the talk on Tuesday by sharing how many people are around me, around us, who are also crying out for help. And how important it is to bring the light, be the light. Today, although I was not in a dark place, I chose to offer blessings throughout the day, being light. It happened that today I was around a LOT of people. Sometimes I couldn’t look at every individual person in my vicinity. In those instances, I sent out waves of blessings, as suggested by Elizabeth, “May you know happiness. May you be free from suffering.” It was a beautiful day. Some people smiled at me, unaware that I was blessing them. Most did not acknowledge my presence, but that wasn’t the point. The purpose of today’s first was to allow light to flow through me, in the form of blessings, to as many other people as possible. I benefitted from the experience. And I had opportunity to talk to some of those people and offer out of who I am.

I was encouraged in turn, by some that I came in contact with. In one store, a woman spoke to me and asked about next year and whether I would continue blogging. I appreciated all that she shared with me and her words became part of my ongoing conversation with the Divine as I am guided to my word and theme for next year. What a blessing to me! May I continue to be a blessing to others.

May you know happiness. May you be free from suffering.