How can you be a light to others (as well as yourself) during these dark days?
This is the darkest time of the year - literally and figuratively. It is dark when we wake up and dark when we go to sleep. And if that's not enough, the dark creeps insidiously into our conversations with family, into the news we read, into our work.
We all experience ups and downs in life. That is normal and expected.
But many people are experiencing exaggerated heaviness right now, exacerbated by spending so much of their time in isolation without hugs from family members, carrying heavy workloads without the offsetting pleasure of being colleagues, or managing serious medical conditions without the comfort of community.
That is a lot to hold. And yet...
When we take time to look with intention, there are opportunities for you to spark light everywhere, for others and for yourself. Try these ideas to light your path this week...
Here are specific, easy tips to light your path this week...
Say "Thank you." And mean it. We all have people to thank... the woman who faithfully delivers the paper to your doorstep each morning, the kind radiology technician who provides a steady hand each time you come in for treatment, the team members who show up every day, despite everything. Pay attention to what is working and who is making that happen and then say "thank you" through a written note or a kind word. Make your words count in someone's life. And notice the light that comes alive in you.
Send a book to a child, or better yet, a classroom. Light up a child's winter with a good book. Remember what it felt like to curl up with a good book when you were a child and then commit to making that happen for another child - perhaps one you know, or one you don't know. Or better yet, both. Contact a favorite teacher and ask how to gift a book to each of their students, particularly students who don't regularly have access to books, and watch your light spread.
Do thoughtful things for others, just because you can. Thoughtfulness is a torch that lightens the path for all who encounter it... bake banana bread for a lonely friend, call a neighbor you haven't seen in months and tell them about your favorite memory of times together, send flowers to someone whose day will be brightened simply knowing you are thinking of them. Make a substantial financial gift to your favorite charity and do it anonymously. Knit children's mittens for the food shelf. Make flannel lined masks for the horse lovers! Choose something and do it. And then notice how it feels to give freely of yourself. Focusing on others is a way to kindle the light in others and in ourselves.
Yes, this is a dark time. And yes, we can be lights in the darkness. It is a choice. And that feels hopeful and powerful and right.
Actions, aligned with values, support optimal health.