You are the Light of the World: Taking your Pain into Promise

candleheartSince it’s the holiday season, I wanted to write about “light.”

The wisdom tradition of A Course in Miracles,teaches us, “I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here.”When I first read that line part of me stood at attention as though its true name had been called through a fog and cobweb of centuries. The other part of me felt screwed.

At the time, I looked around at my life of half-written manifestos, unused yoga videos, and abrupt tectonic shifts of doubt and fear, and thought humanity could definitely benefit from a more reliable guide. But I have come to see that limitation is spirit calling my name. Limitation puts pins in my sofa and lumps in my pillow so that I do not fall asleep in my life. Limitation calls me to seek for strength, focus, achievement, and liberating powers I did not know I had. And, in the end, limitation gifts me with a one-of-a-kind credential in this world. It’s because as I come to experience freedom in the midst of defeated circumstances, I become a hope and light to others.

We, who are questioning our lives and our abilities, are the light of the world. We will be a beacon of comfort, hope and direction to those who need us. We are in the soup, but it is healing broth. We are the ones who are learning to find joy and full expression in the midst of bruised conditions. Every spiritual tradition teaches us that freedom is not being liberated once the job comes through, the check comes in or the skinny jeans fit. Freedom is learning how to be at peace no matter what, no matter when.

Our world is changing. The old ways are falling apart. Some talk about being in a revolutionary evolution of consciousness. We are the ones. We are the ones who are discovering our sacred resources and responses and bringing them to the table. We are the ones who write poems or sing praises to the divine, even as the stock market crumbles. Our dark days and stumbles are our training grounds. We are learning how to recognize a magnitude that is never threatened or taken away.  We are discovering the river of faith in the dryness of our desert. We are the ones. We may not get it right every single day or even for weeks on end, but we are the ones.

Your pain is your relentless guru. How do you gain instruction from the sting? How do you resist the urge to curse it, deny it, or lie down in a ball for a thousand years? How do you love yourself? How do you forgive yourself? How do you sit down right now and trust the perfection of where you are? This is the juncture of your freedom. This life is not about just sweeping the kitchen one more time, or sending in a resume. It’s about feeding the wild blue bird in your heart on berries not of this world. It’s about feeding the wild blue bird so that it flies free no matter what.

I do not wish you pain or suffering. But I know that pain will cause you to seek freedom and freedom will teach you who you are and why you’re here. You are the light of the world, and you have love, talent, and healing to offer us. Because of the sand, the oyster yields the pearl. Peacocks grow their signature colorful feathers by eating thorns. “What is to give light, must endure burning,” wrote Viktor Frankl, who taught about how he found liberation, through mental focus, in the harshest hours of living in a concentration camp. And Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says, “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” You are the light of the world. And it’s pain that reminds you, like a ferocious drill sergeant, to abandon your useless definitions of security, and penetrate the limitless grace within you.

We may not have easy lives at this time. But it’s not because we’re failing, falling, or inadequate. It’s because our souls demand healing more than coping, soaring more than just reaching cruising altitude. We are the teachers, healers, visionaries, social entrepreneurs and architects of the coming bright times. We are the sensitive ones, the canary in the mines. We have never truly been fit for this world. That’s why we are the ones who will change it.

We will change it with our compassion. We will change it with our twigs of peace. We will change it by sitting in our dark corners until the pain passes and transmutes into new energy that can sustain the rest of our lives– and we have a new stronghold to offer our brothers and sisters.

We will turn darkness into hope, as humanity has always done. We will prove that pain passes and leaves strong alchemy in its wake. We will run a new mile, inspire new actions, bring clean water to the needy, or paint images of wonder and faith. We will find our unique way to channel inexhaustible strength to hungry conditions.  We will bring the new into the world by expanding our minds, communing with our creativity, and opening our boundless hearts. We are in the study halls now. Many of us are getting ready for our certifications.

We are the light of the world. We are the ones who have mercy for others. We are the ones who lend a hand. We are the ones who share a bit of writing, a dance, a reiki session, a vibrant expression filled with courage and forgiveness. We are the ones who question limitation and habits and demonstrate the raw and formidable power of love and alignment with our source. We are the ones who believe there is enough here to work with and we are about the business of working with it. Jesus walked on water. We may be doing something far more electrifying in these times. We are walking in this world.

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In this coming year, and every year, I dream of a world where everyone’s talents are cherished, honored, and put to use in the business of uplifting humanity. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for all your faith and growth this year. And on a personal note, I am so very grateful for all your love and support. It’s your emails, your sharing this work, your coming to workshops, and just knowing you’re ‘out there’ that keeps me siding with my own strength and light. I am so touched by all of you. I am so grateful that ourAwakening Artistry family is growing in every way. I wish all of you a beautiful, holy holiday season filled with grace, authenticity, and love, and the birth of wild, new inspiration.

Love and blessings,

Tama