Mindful Mondays: Finding the Light

False Light  \fols lit\   Seeking spiritual illumination from false sources.

Life is stressful.  And when stress hits, it’s easy to find solace in food and Facebook.  Here is the story of my August and what I learned about seeking false light. 

August was a month of dichotomies for me - split between truly savoring the moments with my family and then conversely, seeking false light.  In so many ways, the month of August for me meant pulling inward, listening to the whispers of my soul and the desires of my heart.  EXCEPT ... my friends, August is a hard month, especially for a mama whose baby just stepped foot in kindergarten last week.  And then there's a lack of routine.  A lack of productivity.  And sibling fights and bickering that escalate as the summer wears on.  So, instead of always relishing the moments, I sought some false light.  I struggled to put language to this until I heard Barbara Brown Taylor state it so eloquently -- that so often we seek false light when in fact nothing can illuminate us except the one, true light.  The LIGHT.  

Some ways that I found myself seeking false light in August:  

Eating all. the. food.  Summer has some GOOD food, friends. Yes, there is healthy food from the farmer's market like tomatoes and cucumbers but also ice cream and barbecue and did I mention ice cream?   Food can be fuel.  But food can also be used like a drug to numb us, to stop us from feeling.   

Shopping for all. the. things.  It’s easy to justify purchases when they are "such a great deal on super extra clearance!" or "It's a back-to-school necessity!"  But in reality, shopping can become a form of false light, a way to light up the dopamine center of our brains and make us feel happy for a few milliseconds in anticipation of the latest package landing on our doorstep. 

Scrolling through all. the. feeds.  Enough said.  Scrolling through social media feeds often does not serve us.  Too often, it creates dissonance and distractions for us.  Eventually, it can dim our authentic light.

And yet, my candle still burns brightly.  I fed my soul with so much nature and family and goodness in August that I can barely contain my gratitude for how it illuminated my soul.  We hiked.  We swam in waterfalls.  We held butterflies in our bare hands and collected shells from the shore.  We sang until our voices were hoarse at concerts.  We witnessed the beauty of Lego artwork painstakingly made with thousands of pieces.  I found tiny moments of magic amidst the mundane, like a clear babbling stream that arose from nowhere on an ordinary hike on an ordinary day.    

With September at our doorstep, I've found myself drawn to candles.  I can't help but feel that the candle is a literal metaphor for the illumination of the truth that resides within my soul.  I’ll be relishing the beautiful fall leaves and sipping on pumpkin spice latte this month.  But above all else, I’ll keep lighting my candle.