I’m writing this because a tea bag told me to. Of course, it didn’t actually say, “Go write a blog post.” Or even, “Go write.” But it did send me here to my keyboard when it said, “Live light, travel light, spread the light, be the light.” (Yogi tea, Lemon Ginger)
I am a writer. I write. That’s how I can spread the light — be a light.
Recently, as I crawled out of my post-election stupor (even if you’re elated with the result, please be compassionate), I began seeking light. As my frozen brain began to thaw and my still open heart pulled me forward, I found comfort in the words of others. I found hope. I found light.
Synchronicity played with me as I searched. As I watched a tv series (rather than the “news”), a character resonated with me. Her name was Lucy and she was a Quaker. As a witness to a crime, she gave a vivid and precise description of what she’d seen. When asked how she could be so exact, she said that she tried to live her life with presence. Whenever she entered a scene, she became a still point in the chaos. And over time, she became a refuge for the world-weary, on-the-edge detective. I wanted to see more of her. I wanted to see a series entirely about her.
Because of her, I thought about a Quaker Elder I’d come across in the past — Parker Palmer. I googled him to see if he’d written anything lately and up came a column of his at www.onbeing.org with Krista Tippett. It was entitled, “Start Close In” after a David Whyte poem (which was included in the column). Palmer’s response to the stunning events of the past months, together with Whyte’s poem, was just the balm my grieving heart needed. He offered up some light and I received it with deep gratitude.
As I sat absorbing this, I looked to the pile of reading material beside me. On top was my latest Lion’s Roar (formerly Shambhala) magazine open to an article I had intended to read. It was entitled, “On Being, Krista Tippett, VOICE OF AMERICA”S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY.” (I am embarrassed to admit I was unaware of her or onbeing.org until that moment.) I stopped to read the article and was again comforted and uplifted. My body, mind, and spirit felt lighter as I reread it, underlining passages that seemed written just for me to find. More light.
A friend likened my experience to finding a “thin place” — a concept from Celtic spirituality that I will further discuss in a later post — and I must admit, I longed to stay in that place. In keeping with that desire, I now have begun a “Start Close In” daily practice. It’s something I fashioned for myself by listening to Parker Palmer and David Whyte, and by gathering all the light I find in the words of people I admire like Garrison Keillor and Anne Lamott and Mary Oliver.
In addition, I’ve developed a “Where is the Lucy in me?” practice. I look each day for ways to be the still point, the refuge, the Lucy for someone else. I look for ways to keep her story going in and through me.
I encourage you to read Palmer’s column(s) along with the words of others who inspire you. Therein you will find bursts or flickers of light. Then I hope you will spread it around in your own creative way. And hopefully you’ll share some of your resulting stories here.
Along with my cup of tea and its message on a dangling string today, I found a friend’s rendition of This Little Light of Mine on Facebook. And so I am inspired to sing as I let it shine. Join me, won’t you?
Blessings of the season to you and yours …