by Carol Glassman

Light is an interesting concept, partly because it offers so much to consider. To some, light is exactly that — a bright spot on a dark background; however, others see light as a metaphor for many positive things. Think of white in opposition to black, of good as opposed to evil, of  purity as opposed to dirt, of learning as opposed to ignorance, of love as opposed to hate, of weightless as opposed to heavy. Although you may not have considered them all at once, you can see the strong impression one could easily get about light in all its forms, especially when contrasted with its opposites.

As it is being said frequently, we are living in stressful times. Stress is often associated with darkness and depression, and is it any wonder? The media is filled with first of all, analyses of all the different factions that could be causing this stress.  Pay attention to them and you will no doubt end up more stressed than before. Then you will find the analyses that offer a full slate of solutions but — and there is always a large “but” here, the people to bail you out of your misery, will no doubt be the only ones who read this. How soon does it take for ‘Analysis Paralysis’ to take over?  Are you doomed? Do you just dig your hole deeper in the sand and ostrich-like continue to bury your head further in darkness?

Wait a minute! Who is the captain of this ship? Who is responsible for its direction and itinerary? When did you assign the responsibility of your personal happiness to someone else? That’s not how it works! You, and only you, are responsible for your own happiness. Once you accept that, which should be pretty darn fast, you should quickly realize the truth: only you can determine how unhappy and dark you want your life to be. I am not suggesting here that every case of clinical depression is as easy to solve as a snap of the fingers or a wave of the good fairy’s wand over your head. However, I am referring those who react to a daily dose of the news with a cold, clenching of the stomach followed by a tight band being wound around the forehead: the Doomsday Duo. Who rented them space in your mind? Evict them now! Replace them with light!

Look around you. Breathe. Inhale right down to your lungs and further — hold it, then exhale. Is there a scent of roses? Cappuccino? Freshly mown grass? The perfume of the clean air rolling in off the ocean? When is the last time you allowed yourself to be enveloped by a light, teasing aroma rather than affected by a heavy smell?

Look up and what do you see? The sky is an amazing clear blue, fringed with marshmallow white wisps – look at that one!  It almost looks like a fluffy rabbit. The one beside it – a man’s head. When did you last bother to look at clouds and see something other than a gloomy weather prediction? Do we take these lovely white cushions for granted?

Listen: what is that crackle you hear? Palm fronds waving in a slight breeze, playfully batting against each other — the older drier fronds sounding much like the muted rattle of an ancient drum. Or perhaps it’s the clatter of bamboo stalks nudging each other. The scree of the red-tailed hawk who likes to sit on the drooping mangrove branch. The distant call of another winged aviator.

Let the gentle breeze of a changing tide caress your cheeks, cooling the kiss of the sun. Revel in what you are, who you are, and momentarily forget where you are and all the warnings of surgeons general, health risks, and other mind benders sent to warn us for our own good and resulting in mind-boggling, paralytic black fear. Let it go just for this moment. I’m not suggesting you permanently ignore every safe and healthy warning about sun screen and insect repellant you have had, just to suspend them for a moment.

If you could wipe the slate clean and start over, what would be the Number One building block of your life?

It would be unhealthy to create ourselves in a limbo, totally independent, without need or care for others. For this reason, what we create is as important as those we create to inhabit and share our space. We get to choose. That is the operative word here: choice. In some way, we always have a choice — that is what makes us human. Whether or not we take advantage of those choices, and which ones we select, will ultimately guide the direction of our lives and those best-suited to accompany us.

When we were very young we may have been told that our lives were directed by a kindly shepherd-type or godly figure who would protect us, or perhaps that we were simply on our own to travel down the path of life. As we mature and make choices as to what we believe, that might change. However, whether we believe in a Higher Power who leads us to our choices and destiny, or our lives are just a result of random selection, we know that when the options are displayed before us, we and only we have the power to select our direction. As much influence as those entities who accompany us may exert, perhaps invisibly nudging at our elbows or perching on our shoulders, we make the ultimate selection in choosing whether to stay in the tunnel or head for the light, the learning, and the love.