What You Are

‘As if the sorrows of this world could overwhelm me now that I realize what we are. I wish everyone could realize this. But there is no way of telling people they are all actually walking around shining like the brightest sun.’ Thomas Merton

FullSizeRenderCalla Lily at dusk – shining like the brightest sun.

[White calla (Zantedeschia aethopica) is the classic variety, with vase-shaped white flowers that rise from a clump of dark green, shiny leaves.]

You are so beautiful, beautiful beyond any beauty you have ever seen, ever will see, or any beauty you can imagine.  And if you are so beautiful, so is every other living creature, every human being, every plant and tree and animal and flower and star and mountain and cloud and drop of rain.  We are all shining like the brightest sun.  We are part of the Great Being.

This is the truth!

For a moment, imagine what the world would be like if we all saw through the dark, shaded barriers of our small egos to the light beyond, the light that is us, the light that is the whole of this creation.  How we would love one another!  How we would reach out to one another with help and hope and compassion!  How different this world, this one world we are given, would be!

We look at one another and at the world, ordinarily, through the lens of our small selves, our ego-selves, the part of us that is harsh and critical and demanding – of ourselves, and then, of others.  What we see “out there” is only a reflection of that wounded, small self we so often identify with.  And so we miss – we actually do not see – the light, the whole person, the little bit of beautiful we each are.

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.” – Max Ehrmann, 1927.

And that “little bit of beautiful” is all-beauty, all-whole, all-loving, all-kind, all-compassion, all-connected, all, all, all, all, all – complete.  Whole.  Light.  Love.  Truth.  Peace. Hope.  Joy.

As the world seems to become more and more unkind, it is going to take some of us to turn around, turn toward the Light, to let go of our small selves, to identify with our Whole-ness, our True Selves, to change the world.  This doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you are doing.  Whatever you do is important.  What it does mean, though, is that you will have to stop identifying with your small self, moment by moment, letting-go by letting-go…

This is the true work.  This is the work the world needs us to do.  If you’re too busy doing other things, other important things, then you’re too busy to do this work, this work of letting-go, of dissolving the barriers in yourself that have clouded the Light.

You are shining, like the brightest star!  Yes – you!  Yes – now!  Yes!  Yes! Yes!


Into the Darkness


The days are still growing shorter, people in colder climates are dressing with warmer clothes, winter-proofing cars, and carefully navigating days when the temperature hovers around 32 degrees Farenheit. Here in the warmer climates, those of us who come from colder places have a longing for colder days!

This time of waiting – of waiting for the light, the longest night and shortest day, which will relentlessly move into longer days, one moment at a time – is a time, as I wrote in an earlier post, to go into the deeper, darker places of ourselves.

Maybe we do this naturally, without guidance. Many women in particular confide that as the days grow shorter, they do some “cocooning,” going inside, baking, cleaning the dark spaces in the house, taking care of things that in the sunshine days did not seem important. In this season of darkness, there is time and space for taking care of these things.

What do we find in those cobwebby, shadowy places in ourselves? We often find tears there. We discover grief, even grief that has been forgotten, or set aside. We may find things we didn’t ever want to see again. We find things we didn’t want to remember, perhaps. We see the faces and the memories of those who are no longer with us – how we wish we could see them again, one more time! Words may arise in us, things that were said; perhaps those unsaid things arise in our thoughts, as well. We have carried those unspoken words with us, hanging in the air between us and another.

When we go into the darkness of ourselves, we may find things we don’t want to find – or to see! We may discover some feelings we wish we didn’t have: jealousies, hates, fears, terrors. We may remember someone who abused us, someone who tried to keep us from becoming our truest selves, because their own dark places were never explored.

Or we find confusing things, things we will never understand.

Sometimes when we go inside ourselves, we may discover something with complete clarity, something we’ve always known. There, touching it again for the first time in many years, our knees on the hard wooden floor of our memory, we begin to see it glimmer. Maybe that clarity is something we need desperately, now. We are grateful.

During this season of this year, there is much talk about the system of racism that pervades us as a country, as a people. Liberal or conservative, socially progressive or longing for values that don’t seem to exist anymore, we seem to be having a conversation we have needed to have for a long time. We may be hopeful, we may find hope as a people in those under-belly places of our collective psyche, or we may find even more hopelessness than we have now. As you think about the happenings of these past few months, I invite you to listen to the Bill Moyers’ interview of journalist Ta-Nehisi as he frames the nation’s history of slavery and white supremacy in challenging terms.

Sometimes when we go within – as a people, as individuals – we may find unresolved things that cannot, will not be easily resolved. We may cry or shout or rage again and again, and this may never end.

It is interesting that this season of darkness that brings us face to face with the light is associated with hope. Maybe it’s more appropriate to call it Hope, with a big H. We all need this hope, and it’s something we can’t buy at the stores, at the busy malls. I think maybe Hope arises from that journey into the darkness.

“All shall be well, all shall be well, all shall be well.” Julian of Norwich, mystic.