Reading this newsletter brought me a sense of peace. My heart sings every time I read the words of one of our graduates and other like-minded souls sharing from the heart of parenting and/or caregiving. I love the transparency we share with each other – the challenges, the joys. I genuinely appreciate the offering of immense talents. Congratulations, Paulie, on your book!
Perhaps what I appreciate the most is the consistent striving, the reaching for the light. It is a gift to realize that our imperfections are not deep scars or permanent potholes in the landscape of our caring. Rather, I think, they may be reflections of learning contracts or agreements, if you will, that we made with our children, our partners, and others in our care before we descended to earth to attend this high school of learning we call physical life! We didn’t sign on for perfection; that is much further down the road!
Sustaining this remembrance, however, is not always easy. How do I nurture my inner light if I feel mostly darkness surrounding me? Finally “Loving Yourself” (as proposed by the FLYLady) is one way. Also remembering–even in our unworthiness, our less-than, our on-our-knees moments of supplication to do better–our fellow travelers (in particular, our children) chose, quite specifically, to journey with us.
More importantly, and particularly at this time of year, it is helpful to remember that Spiritual Beings are intimately and eternally interested in our well-being. As I write this on Three Kings’ Day, I find solace in remembering that these three bearers of wisdom sought to find greatness in an innocent babe. To me that story has always represented Wisdom bowing to Love. And they were given a bright cosmic light to follow in the surrounding darkness until they met their goal.
I remember one of my darkest hours. I was fifteen and fraught with the concern that I might be an atheist. I was on vacation with my parents and sleeping in a room with my sister. When I awoke her to share my fears, she sleepily suggested I needed to pray; then she fell back asleep. As paradoxical as it seemed (“Pray to whom?”), I gave it a shot. Almost immediately the room blackened. I literally could not see my hand before my face. In my childlike way I worried I had been struck blind! But my fretting was only momentary, as suddenly the room became absolutely illuminated! The light was almost blinding. And a peace filled my heart like no experience before or since. Years later I read Rudolf Steiner’s description of this type of experience, this gift of Christ Light that will continue to be experienced firsthand by more people in the coming stretches of time. It has nothing to do with whatever religion that person does or does not practice. It is a gift for all humanity, all individuals.
One would think that after such an experience, life would be a piece of cake. In relation to the tribulations in the world, certainly my life has been cake! Yet, as I read these articles about challenges, self-doubts, moments of beauty, and such, I realize how much each of our stories is a shared story, carrying a common thread of humanness. Every year we are reminded of the Light that lifts us to our highest meaning and purpose. I encourage us to take it in, deep within. Once we have it, it is never lost. It just gets overshadowed now and then. And even in that, there is a gift. My favorite moon is the newly waxing moon, that little banana sliver that first appears after the darkness of the new moon. While the full moon is enthralling, that little crescent of light, that sliver of hope, fills me with a sense of possibility, of forgiveness, of renewal. In many ways, surrounded by cosmic darkness, that little sliver seems brightest of all!
Speaking of shining lights, I am thrilled to welcome Mary O’Connell as a working partner. She has always been a beacon of light to me and to LifeWays. Along with Rahima and all of our marvelous part-time employees and exquisite Training Teachers and Student Services Directors, we are heading into a year full of promise. We are planning some new things, so please check in now and then to see what’s going on. As always, we thank you for encouraging others to join us in one of our trainings or workshops. We continue to hear spirit-lifting stories of how such experiences have changes the lives of individuals and whole families.
May you experience the Wonder of Light in the coming year,
Cynthia Aldinger is Founder and Director of LifeWays North America