Life can be cruel. It can beat you up. It can take away that sparkle in your eye. It can also uplift you. It can make you feel like you met God. It can create a moment so spectacular that it feels like a movie. If you lived a life you know that it has extremely high highs and extremely low lows. Amid those extremes, you have to hold onto something pure, untouched, godly, or untainted to keep you going in those moments. One phrase that I use to help me tap into my source is the phrase, “it’s only temporary.” It’s only temporary helps me understand that life moves around me like the sun. Like the sun, the planets move around it but the light stays the same.
When life beats you up, you have to remain light like the sun. Not light like what is often described as toxic positivity, but the light meaning you keep yourself centered and grounded when life is chaotic around you. For example, you lost your job and you are worried about what you are going to do to survive. Your fear about the instability of your life is valid and true for this moment. As a solution, you can worry yourself into inactivity and give up. Or you can take a deep breath, understand that life has ups and downs, and realize that currently, you are in your down moment but it won't be forever.
The light helps you keep hope when you look at your reality and see none. The light helps you survive. It is the thing Oprah talks about when she states she is connected to something higher than herself. It is the energy or source that Audre Lorde talked about when she wrote about the erotic. It is the tears you see when black folks are giving glory to God. It is the feeling you feel when you smell something that reminds you of a pleasant moment of your childhood. It is something inside of you that keeps you seeking the light and you have to be purposeful about protecting it.
So, how do you protect your light in a world that thrives on diminishing it? You do the following:
1. Don’t disclose your plans to people who won’t support you
You know who will encourage you, discourage you, or compete against you. Your friends, co-workers, or family’s personality did change once you started getting things. It’s always been that way, you just looked the other way because it wasn’t about you. If you want to keep your light, choose the right people to nurture it.
2. Listen to your inner voice
Most of us have adopted the language of the people who were most cruel to us. Become a researcher and study yourself. Listen to what you are saying to yourself, and see the results of it. See the way your mood changes once you say something bad to yourself, and believe it. Sometimes, you don’t need people to take you down a notch because you have yourself.
3. Do things to keep your innocence
When you transitioned from elementary school to middle school, the first thing they took away was play. Schools saw it as something unnecessary, but it is necessary. Play is a life force. It keeps that keeps us seeing the best part of life. Play is something adults need to incorporate into their lives. They need to learn how to be silly again, to live freely, to giggle in the corner.
Not only play but incorporate practices that made you extremely happy when you were younger. When I down, I will watch a Disney movie because it makes me feel free and hopeful again. I also watch cartoons to keep me giggly and light. If you played with a yo-yo when you were younger, buy and play with it around the house. Do small things to help you remember what it means to enjoy life.
4. Monitor what you are consuming
Some studies demonstrate our body's reaction to visual media. The study showed that people react to film in the same way they react to a lived experience. So, if you are consuming black death, black pain, black anguish, women hurting, women being hurt, trans folks being harmed, queer folks being assaulted, then your light is being chipped away. After way, army veterans come home a bit hallow because seeing death is unnatural. So, monitor the amount of pain, anguish, and death you are consuming.
5. It’s temporary
Everything in life is temporary. Everything in life has an expiration date. Think about the time you felt heartbreak. At the time, you thought there was no way to recover from that. You believed at the time that you would feel this way for life. You may have tried to feel better or you may have given up, but even when you gave up life pushed you along anyway and without effort, you felt a little bit better. That is the essence of life, without much effort, things naturally change. So, when you are in it remember, this is temporary.