Hello Honeybees and Happy Solstice!
During my time at Divinity School, my favorite service of the whole year was held in the pitch dark of December, a multi faith celebration of light. Did you know that light holds significance in every spiritual tradition? It’s a wonderful reminder that the pattern of natural seasons on earth is one thing that all of our planet’s inhabitants share.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve extended this recognition of the light into my own planning process. Each of us has those people in our lives who light us up – whenever we see them, we feel energized and hopeful and full of joy, even if the discussion is tough or the weather is bad or life is otherwise feeling uphill. We all also have places and practices that have the same effect, making the difficult bearable and the good tremendous.
As I plan for the new year, I look at my list of personal lights and, just like a plant, try to stretch out to them. Even if an activity does not match up with my business plan or other priorities, if it involves someone (or something, or somewhere) in my circle of light, I try to say yes.
I’ll admit, this rearrangement of priorities felt like a bit of a leap at first, with all of those urgent must-do items still on my list. But I am slowly letting go of the idea that hard work requires endless hardship. Think about it, when has your best work occurred? I bet it involves your own list of lights. Over the past year, for me this practice of leaning towards the light has yielded new clients, new wisdom, and best of all, more joy. And knowing how powerful my lights have been for me has also encouraged me to try to be a better light to others.
Need more encouragement? Here are some of my favorite reflections (no pun intended) on the light.
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
– T.S. Eliot
Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. – Karl Jung
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe, and enough shadow to blind those who don’t.
— Blaise Pascal
And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if our way should falter
Along this stony pass
It’s just a moment
This time will pass
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
– Desmond Tutu
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
– Rabindranath Tagore
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
– Marianne Williamson
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
– Mary Oliver
What is to give light must endure burning.
– Viktor Frankl
Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
– Walt Whitman
The sun is gone, but I have a light.
– Kurt Cobain
Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
– Anton Chekhov
Here comes the sun, and I say / It’s all right
– The Beatles
It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.
– William Wordsworth
Dear friends, as we pause here on the edge of the seasons, on this darkest day of the year, I wish you peace, joy, and light.