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Too Much Light

There’s a fear in my heart that I must work daily to silence, or it will take over and convince me that everything I am doing is “wrong.”

Who cares about your light? You’re blinding them. You’re overwhelming.

Have you ever discovered that, simply by being yourself, you’re helping others do the same?

Holding strong to who you are, and what you believe can be difficult.

You get a feel of people. Some people feel encouraged by others’ exuberance and enthusiasm and others feel threatened, and suspicious.

I once held a little experiment.

I ran around Lake Hollingsworth, which is about one mile in diameter. When I encountered some people running or walking the other direction, I noticed many of them avoided eye contact. They looked down, or away, or just stared as if transfixed as if they were watching something serious on television.

Here we were, two humans, doing something healthy. Getting outside to enjoy the city, the weather, our health, and we couldn’t even look at each other for a polite smile?

The next time around, I was ready.

I gave them a smile that said, “I am going to smile at you until you smile back!” (Actually, when I think about it, it was a pretty goofy, silly, happy smile…)

And guess what?

They smiled. The saw my silly, goofy friendly smile, and they welcomed it.

Not all of them.

But most of them.

And the best part of this experiment was that I was able to be myself.

A friend of mine calls me a Goober (referring to Sponge Bob’s Goofy Goober Rock song).

We don’t have to buy into the way everyone else acts.

We can be ourselves.

And, if you’re not into Spongebob, you can refer to this quote that always comes to mind, at the right times, challenging me not to cover my light:

“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children (and Goofy Goobers) do.

So, let your light shine. Be yourself, and don’t hold it back.

Connecting to the Light

I have always been a sensitive soul – (I know, many of you would recommend that I don’t share something like that in such a public way) easily hurt, idealistic and passionate about the entire human experience. Longing to feel connected, valued and understood. Often feeling far from all of these.

Feeling ALIVE has really been the only goal I have known.  Most of the advice I was given growing up was to “toughen up” “stop worrying about what other people think” and “your skin is too thin, the world will eat you alive.”

At times, I felt like I wasn’t meant for this world. If I was going to succeed, I would need to change who I was – and that seemed like selling out and, well, pretty impossible.  So, I have continued to fight the good fight – claiming my space in the world and continuing to do everything I can to be human, in spite of the vulnerability and risk that brings.

Ironically, as I have become more comfortable with (and accepting of) my thin skin, and by claiming and accepting my vulnerability, I have become stronger and more confident. I have also learned to use it as my shield against negativity and cynicism. Accepting myself, as I am has allowed me to discover  that there are many other people like me, who appreciate humanness.

We are a growing army, and I love feeling the energy of all of you who shine your light on me with your kindness, and acceptance, love and appreciation of who I am.

This has been the greatest reward of being myself. To be met with the opportunity to connect and grow with you, my fellow journeyers – and I realize now, that was why, initially, I was led to embark on this quest.

To find you, and, if you existed, to connect with you in a very real, meaningful way. Because these connections make me feel alive, which is the only thing I have ever truly wanted!

This is exciting!  And yet, the most unexpected result of all has been to begin to experience success. To become a leader of a company, and the founder of an organization – I call it a community – that believes in the strength that comes with connection and relationships that are built with trust.

My journey has been – and continues to be – filled with challenges, which is to be expected. But I’m often struck at moments like this with amazement and awe of the person I have become.  And each time I allow myself an indulgent moment to pause and reflect, as I am doing today, sharing this message, I realize that God is here, shining His light and encouraging me to answer His call. He’s been doing this all along.

My resistance to the idea that I must change who I was in order to succeed, has been Him. The voice in my head has been Him whispering; encouraging me to be myself and to lead with courage, confidence and openness.

To listen and learn. To always love, in spite of the ugliness, and hate that fills the world, He has been nodding and smiling, encouraging me to keep being me. And today, I humbly and happily accept His request.

If there’s anything I can offer to you, the reader, it is this.  By shining your light, and sharing your love with the world, you welcome and embrace people like me.

Love is magnetic. It pulls out others who love, and gives them permission to be themselves; to give their best; to forgive; to accept; to be human, and to embrace all that it means to be a child of God. So, please be that person.

Even when it seems like it’s not “right.” Even when it seems like you should care less.  Care more. Because that is what we need today.  It’s what we have always needed. We can’t give in. We are ONE.