Do you know someone who shines? Whenever you see them, they exude an inner glow and seem to be effortlessly happy. They are grounded and clear. Maybe that someone is you?
We can’t help but be our essential selves – it is who we are. But sometimes our light gets dimmed. We fall asleep in our lives as well-worn habits take over, and we live in a half-alive fog that makes us wonder, “Is this all there is?”
There is no magic to clearing away the fog. It is not a mysterious process or a set of teachings designed only for the chosen few.
It is possible for you to be happy and peaceful. You can be content and fulfilled. You can express your unique creative self in the world. And you can approach each moment of your life with an open, loving heart.
You know those people whose lights shine brightly? Whether they realize it or not, they consistently make smart choices. You can illuminate your essence – it is more within your reach than you may ever know. Incorporate these choices in your life, and you just might notice ease, clarity, lightness, and undeniable happiness that spreads everywhere.
1. Be grateful
People who are connected with their essence live in gratitude. They don’t believe they deserve what they have, so they are free to appreciate everything that is offered to them.
If you want to be more grateful, investigate your attachments so you aren’t ruled by lack and desire. Notice how life is so generous – giving us exactly what we need. Don’t take one single thing for granted, and before you know it, gratitude will flow from you like honey.
2. Learn to pause
When you feel a reaction brewing, when you have been triggered, as soon as you become aware of it, stop. Press pause. Wake up to your experience in the moment, then move forward with your eyes open.
3. Befriend the unknown
See clearly that each moment is birthed from the source so we can’t know what is going to happen. Sure, we create expectations, and this is natural. But in truth, things simply unfold in ways that are out of our control.
A year ago, a lovely friend lost her husband to pneumonia. She told me that his sickness lasted only a month. “I thought I would have him for 10 more years,” she lamented.
Let yourself befriend the unknown so you are more aligned with the truth of how things are. Face your fears of not having control, and live happily in the moment. Remember the ones who shine? They constantly surrender their ideas of what their lives should look like and receive things as they come.
4. Take responsibility for yourself
Blaming others, feeling like a victim, or walking around with your head in the clouds only perpetuates your suffering. Instead, look inward, as the only way to discover true happiness is to recognize how you get in your own way.
A commenter on a recent post got this message and is benefiting from her insight. She writes, “Reading your blog has made me realize that I am stuck in some pattern here. This is not about him, this is about me.”
Just those words open the doorway to peace. Bite the bullet, be honest with yourself, and you will clear the way for your light to shine.
5. Learn and practice self-compassion
There are many aspects to being kind to yourself. You can slow down, spend time in silence, and do things you enjoy. But at the deepest level, self-compassion means receiving every feeling, physical sensation, and thought pattern without needing it to change or disappear.
We do violence to ourselves when we reject what naturally arises. And we do this often by behaving compulsively, filling our schedules, and spinning in our busy minds. If you want your essence to shine (and who doesn’t?), stop, bring your attention inward, and lovingly let things be as they are. This is the highest form of self-compassion I know.
6. March to your own drummer
People who are connected with their essence are not concerned about what others think of them. They do not seek approval. They become experts at listening to their inner wisdom and letting themselves be guided from within.
Holding yourself hostage to the opinions of others is guaranteed to suppress your light. Fully meet your fears of being rejected, abandoned, or disliked. Then make the smart choice to stay on your unique path.
7. Focus on what is good, positive, and functional
When we are driven by fear and need, it is easy to get lost in worrisome and negative thoughts and forget about what is working. Believe me, I know. I am a master at this way of living, as it was so ingrained in me to be pessimistic.
But if you step out of that pattern, you will see the good in others and yourself. You will notice what is working rather than focusing only on problems. You will see that you don’t have to apply a negative view to people and situations.
Approach the moments of your life with optimism and possibility. You will turn up the dial on your inner light.
8. Consciously recognize when you feel joy, delight, and pleasure
Evidence of our inner essence is abundant, if we notice.
Our hearts are moved by the sweetness of a child. We have a moment of connection as the barista hands us our coffee. We feel at peace in nature. We know the abandon of laughing until tears roll or being so dissolved into an activity that time seems to stop. Our hearts break when we see others suffering. We feel so much love for friends, family, or pets.
In these moments, the fog has parted, and our essence shines. Notice these occurrences – not the story of what is going on, but the state of your inner experience. Feel it deeply. Your essence may be illuminated more than you think.
9. Be silent
Meditate. Stop talking and ruminating. Refrain from filling up every moment of your life. Give your essence the space it needs to shine.
Nothing dims your light more than holding a grudge. If you live in resentment for things that have happened in the past, figure out how to let them go. Our inner light shines brightly when our attention is absorbed in the now. Do the work so you can release yourself from the past, and you will naturally glow.
11. Question your beliefs
Beliefs can make us feel separate from others and the world. They are like a house with many walls, creating division and alienation. Consider that the beliefs you hold may not be serving you, and may not even be true. See what happens as they fall away and you open yourself completely to things just as they are.
12. Know that everything arises from one source
When you look in the eyes of a seeming “other,” you are seeing yourself – the same source from which you emerge. It looks like the world consists of separate people and objects, but when you investigate to their essence, there is only one – purity, awareness, love.
This understanding softens our way of being in the world. You can’t help but tread lightly and lead with your heart. Do you want to illuminate your essence? Know that you are reflected everywhere.
What needs to happen for your light to shine even brighter? I’d love to hear…