“ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Marianne Williamson
At the beginning of each year it has become my habit to choose a personal growth theme and set an intention for myself to focus on and practice throughout the year. At the end of the year I like to reflect on my stated intention before I set another one for the following year. What I discover always amazes me.
A few years back I dedicated the entire year to standing in my light and letting it shine. I haven’t always known what it actually means to stand in my light and even when I set the intention I wasn’t sure what it meant. This year I came to realize that for me it means intentionally aligning my innate talents and abilities with my heart’s deepest desires and sharing myself with others for the purpose of making a positive difference in the world. One of the unexpected outcomes of setting this intention has been the creation of the blog Taking Yoga Off Your Mat™.
For years I have been asked by friends, family, colleagues, and clients to put my thoughts in writing which I do all the time privately in journal form. I have been reluctant to openly share with others what I write. After many years of practicing yoga asana, meditation, and pursuing studies that teach the principles of refining consciousness, it is no coincidence that my intention to stand in my light resulted in a decision to share what I’ve learned in written form. But first I had to be established in my awareness of the deepest levels of consciousness as me before I could emanate the light that is me in this particular form. Let me explain.
Your light is not something that exists external to you. It comes from within. Your ecstatic inner being is your light. The work is to find the light which we do by turning to ourselves. When you become the light, you become through grace whatever self you need to be to offer light to others. The question is how do you access it and manifest it?
Whenever my husband takes a Yoga class, one of the things that delights him most is when the teacher starts the pose by saying “Inner body bright!” This is an invitation to stand in your light. How do you take this off your yoga mat? Standing in your light can be offering a smile. It can be offering a perspective. Friendliness can be a form of standing in your light. Vulnerability is a form of standing in your light. The willingness to see and honor the light in others is another way of standing in your light.
There is not just one way to stand in your light. Sometimes your light is as bright and direct as the sun and sometimes as soft and reflective as the moon… sometimes radiant, sometimes ambient. Even darkness is an aspect of your light. As an example, your shadow is actually a reflection of light. Think about it. Without light there would be no shadow. There are as many ways to stand in your light and as many ways to emanate light as there are people.
In the opening scene of the movie “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” a little girl named Anna Mae Bullock is in her church choir singing “This Little Light Of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine.” (Watch this YouTube Video Clip) She gets carried away by the spirit of the music, begins to gyrate, improvise, and lets it rip, outshining everyone else in the choir. The choir director reprimands and shames her telling her to “Show the Lord a little more respect.” Implying that she is being disrespectful in her exuberance, she insists that Anna Mae tone it down. Young Anna Mae tries but unable to contain herself lets loose again. Finally the choir director in disgust drags her out of the church by her ear. Anna Mae continues singing passionately without inhibition as she is marched out of the church, pausing at the door, facing the church choir still singing until the choir director closes the door in her face. Unable to dim it Anna Mae stands steadfast in her light.
As she continues to let her light shine, Anna Mae Bullock grows up to become the world-renowned singer, Tina Turner. It got me to thinking about how hard it is to stand in your light and let it shine, and how important it is to take good care of yourself when you do. It seems there is always someone who is willing to dim the light. Even after she became successful as a professional singer she had detractors…her husband Ike, the person closest to her, being among the worst of them.
What I discovered by intentionally doing it is that “standing in your light” brings all kinds of attention from all kinds of people, some of it welcomed some of it not. Since light attracts others to you; it is easy to become drained unless you become very particular in the choices you make about what you do and where you spend your time, energy, and love. Since everything moves toward the light, you have to learn to protect yourself as you let your light shine. Standing in your light requires that you take good care of yourself energetically by setting clear boundaries so you don’t become drained and burn out.
Each of us is called to a different area of service where we contribute to making the world a better place. As such, we have a responsibility to take good care of ourselves as we commit to the upliftment of not just ourselves, but of the entire planet. Our intention has to go beneath the surface to the deepest levels of awareness. I have found both personally and professionally, that in addition to psychological counseling, a regular yoga asana practice along with a meditation practice can help take you to this level and stabilize you there, so that your deepest intentions show up in the everydayness of your life. This is what I have come to call standing in your light.
So connect with your light, let it shine, and remember to take really good care of yourself so you can continue to make the world a brighter place for us all.