Where do you find light in your life?
Authenticity is a collection of choices
that we have to make every day.
It’s about the choice to show up and be real.
The choice to be honest.
The choice to let our true selves be seen.
In order for connection to happen,
we have to allow ourselves to be seen,
– Brené Brown
We have just celebrated Epiphany, a day that in the Christian tradition celebrates the inbreaking of light. It’s one of my favorite holidays as it also marks the return of the light here in the Northern Hemisphere. The days are getting markedly longer. We are picking up an extra minute of daylight every day since Solstice on the 21st!
The Theme of Light
The theme of light has been big for me this holiday season as well. I was blessed to take part in a pre-Christmas trip to Vienna that fed me, body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Light was a theme for me in Austria, too: The streets were filled with lights—different colors and different lighting schemes for various areas or streets of the city, the glittering lights of the Christmas markets, and the lights in the several concert halls and venues where we heard and saw performances, including the amazing Lipizzaner horses!
Trip of a Lifetime
Mine was a touring group of nine. An entourage that small afforded the opportunity for us to get to know each other well, and we had a blast! On the itinerary were five separate musical offerings ranging from Gregorian chant to the Imperial Chapel Choir and a 16th-century sung Mass by the Vienna Boys Choir during Sunday Mass at the spectacular Imperial Chapel, the private chapel of the Habsburgs, who reigned over Vienna (and often the entire Holy Roman Empire) for centuries.
The baroque organ and trumpet concert held in a little gem of a Baroque church in downtown Vienna was glorious, and the chamber group from the Vienna Philharmonic featured gifted soprano and baritone soloists on site in the splendid St. Stephen’s Cathedral. If all this wasn’t enough, we were in the audience for the “Christmas in Vienna” concert, the internationally televised performance that included the Vienna Boys choir, stirring music from a variety of times and places, ending with José Feliciano performing “Feliz Navidad” and “Silent Night” with the orchestra and combined choirs. If you see it on TV, our group is in the fifth row!
Visiting the Christmas markets was high on our list, and we went to several where we drank Gluhwein (hot spiced wine) and ate hot chestnuts on the streets. Yes, they are still roasted on an open fire!
To cap it off, I fulfilled a lifelong dream: watching the Lipizzaner horses perform their “Airs Above the Ground.” We had front-row seats and the horses passed so close to us that we could have reached out and touched them. Magnificent!
Fold into this the city tours and delighting in wonderful Viennese food, and you have all the ingredients for a trip of a lifetime!
Meditating on Where Light Is
I am reflecting on my time in Austria, where I spent the waning days of winter, and am looking at the slow return of the light to the Northern Hemisphere. Coupled with the season of inbreaking light in the Christian tradition, I am drawn to meditating on where light is, and is not, breaking into and illumining people, situations, and our world. As I do, I admit I am humbled and dismayed.
In my country alone, many in Puerto Rico are still struggling for basic needs more than a year after a devastating hurricane; US troops are shooting tear gas at children and injuring them, and two little ones have died in immigration detention camps where families are still separated. I never thought I would witness such things in 2018/2019 here. Then there is the dire situation in Yemen and other war-torn places around the world. My heart breaks as I see how little light is truly breaking in.
The Message of the Season of Light
Here is where the message of Epiphany and the various festivals of light from many different religious traditions rings strongly. Some of you are in such darkness that you need others to bring the light to you and hold it for you because you can’t do it yourselves. Others, perhaps the majority, have the responsibility to bring light into the situations in front of you, personally and globally.
And so I offer you these questions to consider in the next days and weeks of emergent light: Where do you find light in your life? What gifts do you bring that you can share to bring light to others? How can you be a light-bringer, a light-bearer, in the way you treat others and how you act in the world?
Where do You Find Light in Your Life?
If you need light yourself, I encourage you to reach out and ask for help, perhaps booking some individual sessions with me. If you are in a place where you can bring light to others, I encourage you to meditate with these questions and then act. As Brené Brown writes in the quote at the beginning: Make choices which bring light to yourself and others.
With love and appreciation,
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