Five Qualities of People Who Live in the Light
Yesterday Everyday First Class experienced its 4th anniversary. The last four years have not gone the way I expected.
Layoffs. The loss of two beloved family pets. Another miscarriage. Anxiety and depression. Moderate to major disruptions in household income. Household flooding (twice). Failed or failing businesses. All of the challenges (and of course the joys!) of being a first time parent to a toddler, then to a preschooler.
Life knows how to throw a curve ball.
How did I manage to keep a positive attitude through it all? How did I still manage to live a first class life in the midst of loss and turmoil?
To be perfectly honest, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I folded up in a heap of tears and cried myself to sleep. Sometimes I buried my fears, anger or sadness in a bag of microwave popcorn. I didn’t always put first things first.
But one thing I did not do was give up. I may have shifted strategies, did a course correction or re-evaluated things that used to work but are no longer serving me, but I did not give up. I didn’t give up on my work, my family, or myself even though sometimes it felt like I had. Instead of giving in to the temptation to crawl into my old, familiar hole and just survive (although a few days and nights were spent in that hole during the darkest times) I could not shake the knowledge that there was more out there for me. My answers existed, if only I could uncover them.
And so I got out my shovel and dug. I dug a lot of holes trying to strike oil. But instead of uncovering a pocket of oil that may bring momentary riches, I found a spring. Not just one spring from one location, but many streams coming from many different sources. They all fed my own personal well that would provide me with life-giving, healing water for the rest of my life. If I had not gone through all those trials, chances are I would not have kept digging and as a result never truly found the wellspring of my life.
While everyone’s personal development journey is going to look a little different, I do see a lot of common factors between my experience and others who have moved out of the darkness of life happening to them and into a world where they happen to life. These individuals are not magical, special or the “chosen ones” but there are qualities they possess that we can all learn and grow from by adopting them for ourselves.
1.They have found a way to connect with their inner self and find meaning in their difficult experiences.
Typically this happens through some form of meditation and/or prayer. For years I tried to avoid this because sitting and doing nothing felt like a waste of time. Now, however, I look forward to the peace of my morning prayer and meditation time. Sometimes I come out of it with a brilliant idea or a realization of some truth about things I’ve gone through. Other times a forgotten but important task is brought to the forefront of my mind. And sometimes it was just a peaceful time for me to sit and focus on releasing my inner light.
I am far from being a zen master, but meditation is truly a gift to myself. You can find guided meditations or go it alone. With music or without. There are many meditation videos on YouTube, and I’ve found value in a few channels that work for me: The Mindful Movement (guided mediations – I prefer these for mornings when I feel that my busy thoughts are winning and I need someone to keep me on track) and Taos Winds Spirit Music (soft music for meditation for times I’m feeling more centered and calm).
2.They have a guide.
This could be a formal arrangement where they are consulting with and paying some type of a coach or completely informal, where a friendship and mentorship develops naturally in a workplace, club or church environment. The truth is, most people need some sort of knowledgeable help or they would already be where they want to be. Trying to fight against the need for a guru of sorts is like insisting that you can get to a new place without ever consulting a map.
Finding the right person to hold the lamp for your path is essential. If you’re not sure where to start, begin by opening yourself up to the desire for a mentor, then look for the signs. When I first met my coach she had the exact same unique tablet cover that I did (an artistic world map) and as I spoke with her further I discovered we shared the same birthday. God did not let me down – I saw the signs, listened to my intuition and knew it was right.
3.They begin to treat themselves well.
This does not mean indulging in their whims. This means valuing things like nutrition, sleep and yes, play. It’s hard to be a powerhouse of prosperity if you feel awful. I struggled with this one as well, especially not wanting to release my food crutches. But as my mentor told me, “You have to give something up.” She was referring to something different at the time, but it’s sage advice for any area of your life that needs improvement.
My problem was that I kept focusing on what I had to give up, instead of what I had to gain. Finally I relented and adopted a ketogenic diet, the way of eating that so many friends and family were thriving on. It was almost like a miracle cure, relieving me of not just excess weight, but mental fog and low energy. In just a few short days and into the following weeks I felt like I’d taken a magic pill. I discovered that I was finally giving my body what it needed, and not giving it the foods that created a temporary lift, followed by an intense drop. My productivity and creativity soared, and by taking care of myself, I was finally able to implement – and maintain – an early rising routine that never fails to put me into a positive flow for the rest of the day. Which brings me to #4….
4.They say no.
They say no to the bad to make room for the good, and they say no to the good so they can say yes to the great. It’s not a matter of self-deprivation, it’s choosing what’s best for themselves in the long term. They may have to skip social events. They may have to say no to dessert. That hot new TV show? They’ve probably never seen an episode. But because they were busy creating a life they didn’t need that type of escape from, they have the freedom to visit Italy instead of watch someone on cable wearing Christian Louboutin shoes. Maybe they don’t need so much social media because they have cultivated real-life relationships that meet those needs.
Indeed…those who choose to be in control of themselves and therefore in control of their lives know that the alternative is to be controlled by others. They understand that if they fail to be in control of themselves, they will be controlled by those who can. Learning how to say no and make a better choice is a hallmark of the freedom that leads to living in the light.
5.They don’t listen to negative self-talk.
Almost everyone experiences that insulting, nagging voice in their head that is full of nothing but bad news. You’re too young. You’re too old. That will never work. Why don’t you just give up? It’s too hard. That’s a waste of time. No one will listen to you. Let me show the worst case scenario…
Ugh!! If you had a friend like that, would you continue to spend time with them? (I hope the answer is no!) People who move out of the darkness and into living in the light still have that obnoxious inner voice…they just recognize it when it pops up and refuse to engage with it. They know it is not doing them any good and have trained themselves to change their own subject and choose more empowering, useful thoughts. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.
Look for the Trail
One of the beautiful things about personal growth is that someone has always gone ahead of you and left a trail for you to follow. No matter what aspect of yourself you want to develop, there is a blueprint out there for you to use. It may be presented in different ways by different people, but there is at least one method that will speak to you and your situation.
Don’t give up. Keep searching. Open yourself up to possibilities and you will find your way into the light.