Light a Candle

Lighting candles creates sacred space. It is an ancient ritual, and when you light a candle, the atmosphere in the room changes. The gesture elevates us. The ordinary takes on new shape with its new luminescence and the room feels different.

I learned this from a teacher I had in a continuing education class. She always brought in a little tea light, placed it next to her, and lit it at the beginning of every class. Though a small gesture, it changed the dynamics of the room. The candlelight gave us focus and encouragement as the evening proceeded with exploration of spiritual topics.

Lighting candles is a gesture of hope. We light candles to illuminate the darkness, to lift up our prayers, to ask for blessings, to ask for guidance, to acknowledge our intentions, and to remember those who have gone before us. Lighting a candle is sending out a little signal to God. Hey, I’m still here. I’m trying my best. I’m sending my little prayer up to You. Please see me.

When we light candles, it is a sign of devotion. It is a sign of renewed hope. It may be a remembrance, a prayer, a plea, or a humble thank you that we are sending out into the universe. It is our effort to create a little personal light while embracing a bigger one.

How do we bring this candle lighting ritual into our daily lives? Tea lights help. They are portable. They burn out by themselves. They are readily available. It’s easy to find glass holders for them that add brilliance and color. (I’m enjoying crackle glass holders right now.) Of course for those who prefer traditional candles, there are all shapes and sizes available, too.

When we start the day by lighting a candle, we are sending out our own personal light of hope into the world. And when we end the day with the same ritual, we give reflection and gratitude to the day past. It adds sacredness to the ordinary.




Desiderata – Words for Life

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

— Max Ehrmann, 1927


What Dreams Will Come

Anything can happen in dreams. ANYTHING. That’s why dreams are magical, and dangerous, and wondrous, full of hope and full of terror. In dreams, the door to our unconscious is open. Wide open. And anything becomes possible.

Empaths and highly sensitive people experience life with a certain intensity because we can experience other’s emotions spilling into ours. The same is true in dreams. We find comrades or sense danger within our dream companions. Emotions are magnified and personified. Our dreams are also very vivid. They might seem fantastical, but they feel very real to us.

As a child, I had night terrors on a regular basis. I would awake bathed in sweat and too afraid to return to the dream world. I was an imaginative kid, and the line between real and dream state was just too thin.

Yet, dreams are messengers, although sometimes unwelcome ones. They tell us to look, see, discover, and process. Look what happened to you, see how you can get past it, discover the new worlds out there waiting for you, and we will process it all. If you can’t process it during the day, we will do it at night. (My shadow side used to wait for me downstairs in my dreams, and he was a pretty scary guy. Once I dealt with the big issue with help during the day, he stopped appearing.)

On the flip side, dreams offer adventure and fun. You can meet your personal heroes and hang out with them. (I have!) You can visit new places and literally go anywhere. You can have super powers like flying or being invisible. Because in dreams, boundaries melt away and the possibility of encounters is endless.

Dream life is a part of life. We may be tired with the emotion and adventure of it all, but we can also be in awe for the gift of it too.




Why a Mantra?

“Like a seed planted with the intention of blossoming into a beautiful perennial, a mantra can be thought of as a seed for energizing an intention. Much in the same way you plant a flower seed, you plant mantras in the fertile soil of practice. You nurture them and over time they bear the fruit of your intention.” ~ The Chopra Center

A mantra is a spiritual affirmation. It is a sound, word, or phrase that is repeated. Mantras affirm what we believe or what we seek to believe. Mantras are used in prayer, in mediation, and in yoga. Yet, mantras can also be spoken silently or aloud throughout our day. Mantras center us and guide us.

Om is the most used and recognized traditional mantra. Om shanti is what I lift up these days because this mantra is a prayer for peace. We send peace out into the world as we whisper om shanti“Om has no translatable meaning, but is believed to be the sound of the universe, referred to as the cosmic vibration. Shanti is a Sanskrit word that means ‘peace,’ but is also translated as ‘calm’ or ‘bliss.’….The mantra, om shanti, therefore, calls forth the cosmic peace.”

“As a greeting or parting salutation, om shanti is repeated . . . . as a way of wishing others divine peace. . . . . Two typical mantras are ‘om shanti om’ and ‘om shanti, shanti, shanti.’ The latter symbolizes three forms of peace: peace of the mind, peace in speech and peace in the physical body. It is also thought to represent hope for individual peace, collective peace and universal peace.” (Yogapedia)

More modern or Western mantras take the form of affirmations. They feed your spirit as they encourage your emotional well being and spiritual growth. They are mantras too. They are guides and intentions. Think about what you repeat often to yourself. Do the words guide you to a better place? Do they help you to grow in spirit? Unsure? Google mantras. Google affirmations. Seek and use what is good and true for you. Say it often and with intention.

Be brave.