I love how the transference of energy works. Sometimes, it comes to us through nature, as we walk along the beach; breathing in the salty, moist air while listening to the waves lap up against the shoreline. Other times, it arrives in the form of art or music, where we can feel totally immersed in its beauty, texture and rhythm, almost as if we are at one with the piece. And then there is light.

There is no shortage of profound quotes on the topic of light, especially from those who’ve suffered great injustice, such as South African Anglican bishop and human rights activist Desmond Tutu, who once said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” 

And these days, there is no shortage of darkness either at home or abroad.

In a recent essay that appeared in The New York Times, clinical psychologist and author of “A Life in the Light” Dr. Mary Pipher paints a rather bleak picture of where we stand today; highlighting the dysfunction of our government, in addition to the utter disregard for human life due to multiple wars, mass shootings, and the continuous desecration of our environment. 

Clearly, the downward slope into darkness she describes is quite palpable, yet it is the hope and optimism that she was sure to include in the following passage that truly resonated for me: “No matter how dark the days, we can find light in our own hearts, and we can be one another’s light. We can beam light out to everyone we meet. We can let others know we are present for them, that we will try to understand. We cannot stop all the destruction, but we can light candles for one another.”

Indeed, that is what I wish for during these uncertain times; to light candles for one another. To not only offer words of comfort, but to convert those words into action. To create a ripple effect that has the potential to grow exponentially, or as author yung pueblo (aka Diego Perez), puts it so perfectly in his book “Lighter,” “If we scale up the healing of the individual and multiply it by millions, it will cause a cultural shift in our understanding of what defines human nature. This will not be driven by what we say, but by how we show up in our daily lives.”

The healing that’s needed in this country is a massive undertaking for sure. For far too long, those who’ve been suffering (however one chooses to define them), have remained in darkness, with little to no light to speak of. Their open wounds have festered for decades, creating a cumulative pain that, unless it is reconciled, will undoubtedly metastasize to the point of no return.

yung pueblo sums it up this way: “The trauma we carry and the ways we have blindly reacted throughout our own lives are often picked up from when we were struggling through the more difficult periods of life, while we were set on survival mode. The layers of human habit are certainly thick, and they are not easy to overcome, but with patience, intentional action, and good healing methods, we can unbind them enough for true human nature to come forward and shine brightly.”

I often think about how many millions of people, not only in this country, but in others, know what is necessary to make this planet a better place for all, yet choose to be spectators rather than participants. I think about the countless people in our electorate who knowingly choose to abstain from voting, yet are the first to complain when “things go wrong.” 

If they do in fact vote, perhaps they select candidates who push agendas that legislate against their own best interest. It’s something that, to this day, I’ve never been able to fully understand.

On so many levels, the world as we now know it looks quite different than the one we grew up with, and I truly believe that’s a good thing. Yet many are stuck in darkness, inflexible and unable to let go of their hardened stances for fear of change. 

As much as certain forces out there would lead us to believe, there’s no security in attachment. We as individuals, in fact, do have the ability to embrace impermanence and welcome change, or as yung pueblo later affirms, “Whatever is happening in the world, whatever is happening in our personal lives, we can find light.”

Dave Davis
Dave Davis teaches preschool for the Head Start program based at the Children’s Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton, NY. He is also a frequent contributor to “Who Smarted?,” a popular educational podcast for elementary school children.

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