“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I thank Marianne Williamson for all her wisdom and praise her for letting us see it and understand it. And I thank all those who quote it whether they put her name or Nelson Mandela’s name it really doesn’t matter – it’s getting the word out that counts.
Getting people to think about it is another thing. When I first saw the quote in a book, I said, “oh yeah, I’m going to write that down. Do something with it. Spread the word, Twitter it, put it on my car, my facebook page, make a bookmark.” OK I didn’t really think all those things in that moment or do many of them but I also didn’t really think about what it means.
What does it mean to be a “light?” Don’t you have to be one, at least hold one to have something to shine? Have you ever tried to get someone – a dog, a baby, a friend – to hold something they didn’t know much about or didn’t really think existed? Like handing reins to someone who has never ridden a horse or seen riding. The reins are a foreign object held, if at all, in a very uncommitted way. Can they “shine that light?”
I was doing one of Jack Canfield’s exercises a while ago, a “simple” principle of success (ha!) which I’ll give you here: the first one was (drumroll, please, maybe a horn) decide what you want in seven areas of your life. And as if that’s not enough, do five things everyday to support them.
Well, just as an aside, this is like eating the right food for you – if you eat all the things that support your body, you won’t want to eat anything more. What a bore!! So, here are the seven areas: 1. Money 2. Career 3. Relationships 4. Health 5, Fun 6. Personal 7.Contribution to the world.
I noticed that when I wrote them all down and then wrote more about supporting them every day, there just wasn’t much else for me to do! I would have to choose not to do some of the things I really care about in order to do the things other people want me to do. I want to be careful here with the fact of JOBS because we need to do the jobs we are in and we need to do them well, but do we know how we got to them? That doesn’t mean we won’t leave them as soon as possible, it means they can be a teaching for us to know ourselves better. Do we know why we do them everyday? That’s part of the “light” we shine and if we hate it then that’s a good place to start to uncover our values and goals. We all favor different lifestyles, hobbies, food. The first years of our lives we spend discovering our likes and dislikes, our skills, what our bodies can do. And then we stop. We’re supported and supported with adults helping us on our way – and then they start directing us.
You can do that and keep the light going, but most likely your light was not supported and you learned to modulate yourself. You learned what was acceptable and what wasn’t. I grew up rebelling against everything and I did things I really didn’t want to do because I thought it would screw something up for someone who had power over me. How often do you think I was doing the things I really cared about? How often was I “following my Bliss?”
Napoleon Hill says, “What a different story people would have to tell if they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming purpose.”
I couldn’t agree more. And I can’t emphasize enough that if everyone who had a nascent purpose could be supported or at least left alone (!) the world would have more purpose among its inhabitants.
So it’s not strange that people do not know what they want, to do, to be. Most of us walk around without really knowing who we are. It is part of our instinct, it is not always part of our culture to let us play in the garden of our choice, eating what will support our best mental and physical health.
So, right now, think of something that makes you smile – then, quickly before you can think of anything else, think of another thing that makes you smile. Try to do that as many times in a row as you can. Then do more. And more. Then say “thank you, I love you, thank you.” A hundred or so times. Then keep doing it. You’ll feel great.