As we draw closer to the longest night of the year, this precious time of preparing for and surrendering to what is waiting to be birthed, I have been reflecting on this question:
What does it mean to be a light in the darkness?
Often in the Pathwork we speak of exploring our darkness….our negativity, defenses, misconceptions, and cruelty. We learn that when we expose our darkness to the light, healing happens and unknown gifts and talents are revealed. Through the gateway of experiencing whatever we most want to hide, we find transformation, fulfillment, and joy.
And yet, there is another kind of darkness that we must walk through if we are to bring the fullness of who we are to this world.
The darkness of the unknown.
When you hear the call of Spirit to embody a new aspect of your light, it can be a bewildering, vulnerable experience. It often isn’t understood or welcomed by the ego-self. It may come as a whisper, an urging, or a half-delivered message. A road map that has the origin and destination clearly marked, but the route and mode of transportation is not so easy to discern. Sometimes we are called when even the destination is unclear.
And so we are invited to carry our light in the dark, to take that next right step without knowing where the staircase leads. It takes courage and perseverance, but along the way we grow in faith, trust, and integrity. There may be some stumbling, a few wrong turns, and various obstacles along the way, but it is the willingness to say “yes” to this mysterious journey that brings meaning to life.
This past Saturday evening the Richmond Pathwork Community celebrated the Holiday Season as we contemplated what it means to be a light in the darkness, and how our lights shine so much brighter when we come together in spiritual community. After a delicious potluck dinner, we enjoyed a sacred walk to the Medicine Wheel at night along a path lit by luminaries, and sat in silence as the darkness spoke to us. It was a beautiful, soulful gathering hosted by Julia Jensen and myself — an annual event we offer as a gift to the community each year.
In my own life recently, I have been listening to that call. It was leading me to travel to Standing Rock to support the Native Americans protecting the sacred water against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. My heart was so clear that this was the place to go now. Inspired by prayerful, peaceful, non-violent action, I was fully immersed in my “yes,” despite concerns for my safety and the cold North Dakota winter temperatures. Many of you wonderfully supported me with donations for Standing Rock and with prayers and well wishes. I feel so grateful to have been held in this way by my spiritual community.
The day after our sacred candlelit walk in the darkness at the Holiday Celebration, the Army Corps of Engineers denied the permit to drill under the Missouri River — a huge victory for the water protectors at Standing Rock — and the Sioux Tribal Chairman asked all non-Sioux people not to travel to Standing Rock, or to go home if they were already there.
My non-refundable airline tickets were bought and paid for. Hotel booked. Insulated clothing purchased. My heart had already been in North Dakota for some time. And it became clear I had to cancel my trip.
Umm…I’m really glad they won this important victory, but what about that call I heard?
Was that real? Was it my ego tricking me? What am I supposed to do now — blow out the candle?
Actually, while I was quite disappointed and a bit surprised at this turn of events, I already knew the answer to that question.
I just need to keep walking, keep carrying my light in the darkness.
I need to let go of where I think I need to bring that light, how I need to bring that light, and who is supposed to receive it. I just need to be willing to keep showing up as that light, and trust the peace that lives amidst the darkness. Sitting at the Medicine Wheel during our Holiday Celebration, that peace was screaming in the silence.
As I reflect on the light I long to bring to the world, Pathwork Lecture 138 reminds me to meditate on these words:
“Whatever I already am, I want to devote to life. I deliberately want life to make use of the best of what I have and who I am. I may not be sure at this moment in what way this could happen, and even if I have ideas, I will allow for the greater intelligence and wisdom deep within me to guide me. I will let life itself decide how a fruitful interchange can take place between it and me. For whatever I give to life, I have received from it, and I wish to return it to the great cosmic pool to bring more benefit to others. This, in turn, must inevitably enrich my own life to the exact measure that I willingly give to life: for truly life and I are one.”
So I will keep walking. Keep trusting. Keep carrying that light. It’s a beautiful thing really, to have the honor to participate in this thing called Life, even if I can’t always figure it out.
How about you….how have you been called to bring your Light to this world? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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My calling: To continue to love/care (light) inspite the set backs and the hurts. That is a gift God gave me and the one thing that I offer the best (both professionally & in my personal life). The journey surprisingly is sometimes painful as not everyone reacts to what I offer the same way. I guess, sometimes people change/ or are detoured/ or have darkness in their heart that I cannot penetrate which cause conflicts and pain. But, its my aim to continue to be the light (love & care)in the hopes it will ignite the light in the darkest heart that I come across. I look forward in God giving me strength and guidance and these days by bringing Pathwork teachings in my life to help me muster up strength when I am down and feel broken. I have realized in these past few months, I am not a super women and sometimes I too need help. So, inorder for me to continue spreading/sharing/giving light, I too need to heal & be energized.
This is beautiful, Richa, and thank you so much for sharing. Yes, we all need support and healing in order to bring our Light to the World in its fullness.
Hi Beth, I want to honor you for your courage and send gratitude to you for the monthly messages you send. I look forward to the spiritual nourishment I receive from reading your posts. Your words help weave us all together and remember that we are all part of the same fabric of humankind. I have also been waiting to be led to action, wondering what is the right action, the right intention, the right speech. The Path to human happiness and liberation requires intentions that are free from greed, hatred and cruelty; speech that is true and helpful, not harsh, not vain, slanderous nor abusive; and actions that are free from causing harm, killing, stealing and sexual exploitation.
Now is the season to stand up for what matters. To stand against hate. To stand for respect. To stand for protection of the vulnerable. To care for the natural world. I am going to the march in Washington January 21st. It has been years since I felt led to join in such an event. I long to stand with others and to stand up for what is right. Thanks for shining your light and challenging us to do the same. Blessings, Mary
Mary, thanks so much for your kind words. I believe we all support one another in some kind of beautiful web, and I’m glad my words have felt nourishing to you. And yes, it is time for action, I feel it. And I will be at the march in Washington on January 21st, my first protest in my life! Maybe I will see you there!
I don’t know for certain how life works, whether the intention of you and your daughter and many others to travel north in support of a just cause effected a shift in the decision to move the path of the pipeline. I do know that I am responsible to show up each day and to take the next right action to bring my light forward the best way I can. Thank you for sharing this!
Your welcome, Buddy! Thanks for showing up and shining your light!
Thank you, Beth, for this beautiful reminder. I needed it right now. That excerpt from Lecture #138 is actually one of my favorites, and I think I need to post it somewhere so it can serve as my daily reminder. Many blessings to both of us as we continue to listen to our hearts and bring our lights wherever we feel called.
Many blessings to you too, Pauline. You are bringing so much light where it is so deeply needed. Merry Christmas!
Thanks for your sharing, Beth. Yes, finding our true calling takes time, even a lifetime, or perhaps lifetimes – and often has many surprises and dead ends it seems. My story had many twists and turns before, at the ripe age of 58, I was sent to the Sevenoaks Pathwork Center in August 2000 by a BBSH teacher who lived in Cincinnati. I fell in love with Pathwork and took all the programs leading to helpership. While I got involved somewhat in teaching and practicing as a helper, these roles did not fit. I got heavily involved in administration – serving on the Mid-Atlantic Pathwork Board and the Pathwork Council. These administrative roles also did not fit. But I knew I loved the Pathwork Lectures and from this love made the effortless effort to record all 258 of them – a six year project from 2006 until 2012. Then I discovered a tool that really helps me absorb and put into practice the Pathwork Lectures – something I call the Devotional Format of the Pathwork Lectures. This project of rendering all 258 lectures in the Devotional Format is likely to take the rest of my life. As I shared these Devotional Formatted lectures with helpers, one of them saw me as “The Happy Monk.” I would add the word philosopher to this title simply because I am drawn to philosophic writings because of their broadening contextual framing of the lectures. So let’s just say, now in my seventy-fifth year on the planet, that I have found myself to be a Happy Philosopher Monk. It’s been quite a ride, with many dead ends and restarts – before and after finding Pathwork in 2000. Perhaps “finding one’s calling” is itself a “life-long calling.” Thanks, Beth, for sharing your own ride and inspiring me to contemplate my own ride in this broader perspective.
I am so grateful for all your contributions to the Pathwork, Gary. And it is so beautiful that you live your passion!