I have a naughty dog. She's a sweetheart, but she's naughty. She loves to sneak into the trash, grab food off the counter and steal stuffed animals off the kids' beds. Last night I got home to a real mess. The new houseplant I brought home just hours before had been snatched off the table and strewn across the floor. There was dirt everywhere. She looked at me with guilty eyes, and I thought about my relationship with her.
In the past several years, I've worked a lot on understanding my relationship with myself, with others and with the greater global community. I remember listening to a lecture by Ram Dass who remarked that relationships can be spiritual teachers. Instead of thinking about what is wrong with another person (or animal), if we practice understanding why we are reacting as we are, we open to the possibility of growth.
As I stood there looking at my dog looking at me, I realized how much I've grown over the last few years. I noted that even though it seemed like I should be mad, I felt at peace. Even though I could have been upset about the loss of my new plant, I let it go without even a thought.
All beings can be our teachers. Our colleagues can put us on the path to greater self understanding. Our kids can help us come into consciousness. And yes, even our pets can teach us a thing or two about letting go, accepting how things are and unconditional love.
Benjamin Zander, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra conductor and leadership speaker, reminds us that as leaders of organizations, communities and households (or even just as the leader of ourselves), we have the power to bring light to others. Zander, in remarking about leading an inspired orchestra, says, "If the eyes are shining, you know you're doing it. If the eyes are not shining, you get to ask a question . . . Who am I being that my players' eyes are not shining? We can do that with our children, too. Who am I being, that my children's eyes are not shining? That's a totally different world.”
So as you go about your week, consider who you are being. Are you shining light or casting a shadow? Are you learning about yourself from your interactions or are you judging others for being different than you? If you can be the person who makes others' eyes shine, you lift up everyone you touch. If you can find a place of inner peace, you make room inside yourself to accept others in a way that allows them to elevate. That is what we call, "being the light."
"Be the Light" Community Art Project
On Saturday, as part of our We Live Big initiative to promote human flourishing, we launched a new community art project. "Be the Light" helps people reflect on their greatest gifts and encourages them to share those gifts with others. A huge 26' x 8' shelving unit holds spaces for over 1,000 intentions and candles. People write how they will "be the light" then illuminate a candle to symbolize their light in the world.
The project runs through December 26th on the 2200 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA, USA. We hope to see you there! Not in the neighborhood but want to add your intention to the wall? Visit our Facebook Page and share how you'll be the light. We'll add yours to the wall so you can shine from afar.
Need Inspired Gifts for the Holidays?
Looking for something to light up your loved ones' spirits this holiday season? Visit our Etsy store to find wearable inspiration and tools for reflection.