Shine Bright! has been my personal mantra and my sideline cheer for others. But, oh, has this been a hard-won lesson to live into!
I’ve learned to honor my gifts and skills, and the contributions I make within my circle of loved ones and within my community. Still it continues to be a practice around “enoughness”– giving enough, learning enough, being compassionate, understanding, open, patient, skillful enough.
Doubt knocks on the door. Yeah, that’s right — Doubt has finally gotten some manners and no longer shuffles in uninvited while I scramble to push it back over the threshold. Now, I choose when to answer and welcome it in for deep inquiry where I skillfully sit with the questions it has delivered. What is this? Is this true? What can you see clearly?
Turning toward the aspiration to “shine bright,” I realized through several recent experiences (either as witness or participant) that we fear shining brightly means we’ll cast a shadow over others. We worry that expressing our full selves with unapologetic radiance, confidence, and vision is an act of vanity, ego, or arrogance. We’ve been taught that humility is a virtue, so we play small to make others feel less insecure.
At the same time, we receive a million messages about the importance of self-esteem and self-love. This is the crazy-making cycle our culture perpetuates that gives rise to lingering Doubt, which breaks in, refuses to leave, and becomes an indignant squatter in our hearts and minds.
So I appreciated reading an article years ago in which the writer reframed “humility” as being grounded and connected. To him, being low to the ground (as the eytmology defines it) in no way suggested self-deprecating acts of meekness or inferiority.
Rather, he embraced an understanding of humility that drew upon a sense of strength and stability from the Earth in the very same way that worshippers of various faiths will offer their full body in prostration during prayer. Bringing our body close to the ground is an expression of gratitude and wonder for the Power that makes life possible. It is empowering and energizing — a reminder to stay connected in body, heart, and mind to our capacity to love, create, inspire, teach, lead, serve, empower, heal, and thrive. And to thrive requires fertile soil…and light!