I will not allow
my life's light
to be determined
by the darkness around me.
~ Sojourner Truth
There are many experiences of darkness, inside and outside each of us, that can obscure our sense of our light, our freedom, our true self. You may have had a difficult or traumatic childhood. Your life may have been impacted by poverty, illness, abuse, sexism, racism, homophobia. Or you simply may not have been seen or acknowledged as you wanted or needed to be. Your light, your true self may not have been seen or encouraged and you may have felt diminished, not good enough or unworthy. Your true self consequently may not have had an opportunity to truly develop and shine its light as your life.
And there is the current political darkness in this country and in the world that can feel threatening and scary. This regressive political agenda threatens many hard-won freedoms and agencies that protect or try to protect people, animals, the environment, and is trying to intimidate, silence, ban and deport many of us.
How do we courageously continue to develop and be more of our authentic selves when faced with the inner fears and anxieties from our personal or collective history, and the external darkness of this administration? How do we continue to shine our light and be true to ourselves? Many people are asking these questions now; Sojourner Truth's quote from the days of slavery is equally relevant today as we face the dilemma of being who we truly are in the face of darkness which threatens to eclipse our light.
But just as any eclipse is only temporary and the moonlight and sunlight continue to shine, our internal light cannot be permanently eclipsed by internal or external darkness. We must continue to courageously be our light, facing the darkness and not allowing it to determine who we are and how we live our lives.
if you would like help in shining your light.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley