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As living creatures, we thrive on light. Our most treasured source of light is the sun – and without its precious nourishment, all human, plant and animal life would wither. We depend on it for warmth, for food and water. Sunlight has positive effects on our circadian rhythms, too, triggering hormonal reactions in our bodies and keeping us happy and healthy. With the discovery of fire, our ancestors found a new source of light – one that became an important part of ancient ceremonies, guiding them through the darkness, literally and metaphorically.

Inner glow

We all have our own special light. Inside each of us is the gentle glow of who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. This ‘light’ within us can represent several things. It can be our soul, our innate goodness, the glow of inner joy, our compassion, our love and courage, our life force, and more. So, how do we celebrate and share our inner light with others, and make it glow even brighter?

Let it shine

Before we can let our inner light shine, we first need to connect with it, rekindle it and discover it for ourselves. Regularly taking time to reflect on ourselves – physically and spiritually – can help us do this, letting us create more space for light and lightness. Here are a few small things we can do each day to bring our inner light out from the darkness:

Smile at yourself. When we stop judging ourselves and start accepting who we are, our light shines a little bit brighter. A good rule for living is to be self-aware, but not self-conscious – as self-consciousness can strip away our confidence and stop us from enjoying life. Be a good friend to yourself.

Practice gratitude. Take a moment each evening to think about the things that happened that day, or that exist in your life, for which you’re grateful. This focus on positivity works wonders on our well-being, rekindling our inner light. It’s also how we share our light with others, showing gratitude for their presence in our lives.

Practice good karma. Doing good for ourselves, as well as for others, affects how our lives will take shape. It nurtures our souls, it makes us feel good, it gets us out of our own head – and allows us to shine a bit brighter. Try to live with good intentions and celebrate the small things; be the spark in others’ lives.

Choose to be happy. Try to choose happiness over annoyance and anger – even if it feels impossible, crazy and wrong. Remember that you can’t change other people, but you can change how you react to them. Allow yourself to be happy and notice how your glow comes to the surface.

Remove the negativity from your life. If you’re often around negative people, sometimes it can be a battle to stay positive. Friends are those who should encourage us, who bring us joy, who are there when we feel our light has gone out – they believe in us. Sometimes letting go of negative people or habits is the answer.

Spreading our own positivity and light and encouraging our friends helps their light to shine, too. Making these changes will help your light shine all the brighter… and once you’ve seen what you’re capable of, it will be hard not to share it with the world!

Reflection

Once you’ve acknowledged your inner light, it’s time to nurture it. One way to build upon the glow of our inner light is through reflection. Reflection is the art of thinking deeply. It’s the ability to reflect on our thoughts, feelings and actions, as well as to consider the thoughts and feelings of others. Call it meditation, being conscious or even just sitting quietly. It’s time for you. Practicing reflection goes a long way towards helping us make good, thoughtful decisions. It’s not easy, since our lives are increasingly crowded with electronic distractions – smartphone, Facebook, Instagram and the rest. These objects and apps have also taught us to rely on quick – often visual – gratification rather than on slow contemplation. We bombard ourselves with distractions: we think we’re multitasking but what we’re really doing is not being present. It doesn’t have to take long, but the benefits of reflection are many.

Practice looking inwards

The short exercise below can help guide you through the art of reflection…

Relax. Find yourself a lovely private spot – indoors, outdoors… it doesn’t matter. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, slowly bring your focus to yourself.

Relive. Take yourself on a journey back through the events of your day. What did you do? Who did you see? Focus deeply…

Reflect. Think about how you felt: What made you happy? What brought you unhappiness? Was there any conflict in the course of your day? What could have been better? Trust your instincts, which will help you improve your emotional intelligence, too.

Taking a moment to reflect each day can help us think about the decisions we’ve made – or that we’re about to make – and it can help us to discover the positive changes we need to make in our lives. If you only make one change, consciously showing appreciation and gratitude to the people around you is a great place to start. This gratitude then reassures and supports others – hopefully bringing light into their lives. So nurture your light – and share it with those around you – and maybe make the world a little brighter.

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