I am, at heart, an uplifter. I’m a hopeful and optimistic soul. It’s what I do – personally and professionally. I turn people toward the light – in themselves, in others, in challenging situations. And I love to do it. It brings me huge pleasure. It feels worthwhile and meaningful. I love nothing more than witnessing someone I’m working with discover a new, more resourceful perspective. I love watching a client as they discover that what once seemed impossible, is absolutely possible. It’s exciting beyond measure.
Not because it’s always easy.
Because it’s not.
Resistance pops up. Old stories will try and send you off on unhelpful detours. Sometimes the hard feelings have to be felt, right down in your bones, in order to release them and make way for something new and better. And every day I have the privilege of taking this journey with remarkable individuals ready to do this work.
It’s nothing short of a delight.
And when I’m immersed in the realm of these relationships, I’m in my comfort zone. If a client feels stuck in their life, I willingly hold space for them to find a way through – even if I have no idea what form that might take. I’m signed up to this way of being in the world. And it works well for me.
But when I start to look more widely than the people I interact with on a day to day basis, I get uncomfortable. Overwhelmed even. I find myself pondering how my hopeful optimism can possibly interact with the fear-inducing forces at work in the world right now, the tone with which the news media reports it, and the way politicians flail about reacting to it.
I find myself wanting to turn away on a regular basis. Not from what’s happening, so much as from a narrative that feels so at odds with my own convictions about the world. The tone of fear that permeates the discussions. The false divisions between ourselves and others that we cling to so tightly when the chips are down. Our willingness to look away from our common humanity if it suits us to do so, giving us a false, flimsy sense of security. Our unwillingness to recognise that, on the most basic level, we all share the same planet. We are all the same species. No one group of people has any more inherent ‘right’ to the land masses we inhabit than any other. Yet in our determination to cling tightly to an external sense of our own ‘identity’ we completely lose sight of this bigger, more truer truth.
And sometimes it seems that we’re so completely attached to our version of the ‘way things are’ that we can’t see the wood for the trees. We become so enmeshed in our discussions of scarcity, austerity, and in small places like the UK, our lack of physical space to home those who have nowhere to go. We overlook the abundance with which we are surrounded. We lose sight of the fact that moment by moment we are blessed beyond measure, abundant in the extreme and enjoying a sense of safety and wellbeing that others in the world could currently only dream of. We could do well to remember what Bob Geldof and Midge Ure reminded us in their sardonic ‘Band Aid’ lyric back in 1984 “Tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you”.
This time of year in the UK is externally dark and gloomy. And as a nation we use Christmas as an opportunity to get all lit up. In spite of the inclement weather, and the all too fleeting appearances of the sun – we decorate wildly. We hang lights, and accentuate them with shiny, twinkly decorations. We decorate our homes, our front gardens, sharing some of our own light with others. Some of whom we know, and some of whom we’ll never meet.
Some of the challenges facing our global community are equally dark and gloomy. And like England in the winter, it sometimes feels like we’ll never see the sun again. However, we can still choose to find ways to light up from within. In fact, as anyone in the Northern Hemisphere knows, this is the only sane response to dark, gloomy, cloud filled skies. We don’t deny the darkness, but we respond to it by consciously creating a twinkling beauty that’s certainly not apparent when we look out of the window.
This Christmas season, seek ways to light up from within. Cast your internal glow widely. And let those out in the gloomy darkness bask in its warmth.