• Tag Archives light
  • This Light of Mine

    Lughnasa                                                  Full Harvest Moon

    “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

    Howard Thurman was a theologian who studied with the Quaker mystic, Rufus Jones.  His work, which I had forgotten until I read this quote yesterday, reaches deep into the human heart.

    The Quaker concept of the light that leads from within influenced many theologians, including Thurman who, in turn, influenced Martin Luther King.

    In Scientific American Mind a recent article referred to the human “self-schema.”  Created due to our ability to see into our past and project ourselves into the future, this organization of thoughts, experiences and natural gifts produces the Self, that ever elusive entity at the heart of our life.  Self-schema strikes me as a scientific description of the Self I refer to here from time to time, that Self that pulls us into the future, that can challenge us to live a deeper, richer, fuller life.

    This Self is the light that leads us, a light whose brilliance and warmth comes not from a supernatural realm, but from a super natural one.  When Thurman challenges us to find what makes us come alive, he asks us to dig deep into our Self, to use our imagination and our deep heart to find vitality within it.

    When we can locate a path, our own ancientrail, that knits together the genetic gifts, the particular experiences and the most exciting prospects we can imagine for our future, then we can come alive to the personhood for which we each yearn.  We can become alive in every fiber of our being. Such persons live.  They burn with an incandescence available only to those who feed all of themselves into the furnace of their Self.

    You know such people.  Martin Luther King was a such a person. Perhaps you are.  I know for sure you can become one.

    This is a spirituality that holds nothing back, that demands it all, all you have and all you will have.  This is a humanist spirituality, a call to kindle the light of your true Self, the one light only you can bring into this world.

  • Light and Dark

    Samhain                                            Waxing Moon of the Winter Solstice

    The holidays.  Important for personal reflection, even have the ability to transform a life as we lay our lives alongside the possibilities suggested by Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, the Winter Solstice, New Years.  Birthdays, anniversaries, too, can reach into the deep part of your self, we can call it soul, and help you see yourself in the other.  Maybe, they let you see in there, too.  Holidays are a time out of time, a break in the straight ahead, up and at’em busyness of career, family, school.

    There is, though, a dark side to the holidays.  All moments of possibility contain paths that lead not to transformation but to destruction, temptation, agony and pain.  The dark paths often emerge when the vulnerability and self-intimacy of the holiday intersects old ways of being, often ways learned in family settings, banished most of the year; but, as family and holiday conjoin, the vulnerability allows the past to rise quickly, to overwhelm.

    This is as the Tao teaches us.  Even the dark side of the holidays offers a chance to become new, a chance to take the past and place it in a new frame, a way of understanding that puts the past in its own place and leaves the future open, perhaps even better for the relocation.

    Darkness is not, in itself, bad.  Nor is light, in itself, good.  Too much light prevents our ability to see.  “Light is the enemy of art,” as the curator of the Thaw wing of the Fenimore museum said.  Darkness nurtures and heals, is a time for sleep, for seeds to germinate.  The holidays bring a special charge to the light and the darkness in our lives.  Our task is to open ourselves to what each has to offer us; to take it in and accept the possibilities.

  • Going to the Mailbox

    Samhain                                                          Waxing Moon of the Winter Solstice

    The storm seems to have slowed down a bit, winds have decreased as has the snow.  It looks we got around a foot, but I can tell you that many of the drifts exceed that.

    First, my insulating vest over my sweatshirt.  Then the wind pants over my sweats.  Down coat.  Mad bomber hat with rabbit fur flaps secured under my chin.  Scarf around exposed neck.  Insulated socks pressed into Sorels.  I was ready to get the mail and the newspaper.  Successful.   Minnesota, a state where getting to the mailbox from the house can be a challenge worth dressing up for.

    After that adventure, I strapped on my snow shoes and headed out to Ruth and Gabe’s playhouse to retrieve the little giant ladder system still standing out there.  I waited until a historic snow storm to grab it just to test my true mettle. I’d say it was thin aluminum.

    The damn ladder system is heavy and clumsy.  Walking in snow shoes is not an elegant dance in the best of situations, but navigating around small shrubs without snagging and trying to thread my way between an electric fence and a snow-drift narrowed passage up onto our deck, all the while dragging a ladder–priceless.

    The ladder went in the garage to melt off its snow and be ready for Adam Lindquist, the improbably named Chinese lighting specialist from Lights on Broadway, who is coming out on Wednesday to install our new fixtures.  Huffing and puffing I sat down to drink some hot chocolate Kate made.  Decided to give myself 20 minutes of aerobic workout since I also shoveled the deck some.

    Just finished my other 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Now I can settle down and enjoy the storm.  Tomorrow, more Latin.