I spent the weekend catching up with a dear friend. A long overdue catch up as we both live busy lives now and don’t see or speak to each other often enough.
For the first time in a very long time her light was dim. And she’s not the kind of girl to lose her sparkle. She is the bright, loud, loving and effervescent kind of person that usually lights up others. To see her so dim made me wonder, what are we doing in our lives to blow ourselves out?
Where did the sparkle go? Our modern lives are cultivating large groups of people so exhausted and disillusioned by working life they have literally had their fire blown out.
It’s like we are hit by a wall of expectations that somehow have become completely beyond what is realistic and human like. We are all donning our super-hero capes and shields and going to battle every day. If not against others; against ourselves. Fighting to find the energy, the passion and the drive to power on and get the job done. This, at the expense of everything else that means we are human. Relationships, emotional health, physical well being, sanity, often being traded for our working lives.
We are caught giving out to such an extent there is nothing left to burn. The drive, the fire, the yearning all just ceases because the embers have gone cold. And so the spark goes out.
It’s strange to sit with someone and watch them relay their story and think, I was there, I was exactly where you are and now I am sitting on the other side of the table and you are looking back at me with those big beautiful brown eyes crying out for help. And I know there is a way to the light.
A few years ago when I was at university I recall sitting on a park bench in Wellington botanic gardens. I sat there for 4 hours, staring into space. There was nothing left. No drive to get up, no lust for anything, numb, because the spark died. I had simply reached the point where the flame had burnt out. It actually took a few years to remember what it felt like to be alive. To have passion about what I was doing and relationships that made me feel love and connectedness. But it took letting go of all the expectations, it took time to get to know myself again. To reflect on what my spark was in the first place.
We are all put here with a spark, a special imprint that allows us to contribute something to the greater good. And giving that gift to the world is our real purpose. But you owe it to yourself and the world to find your spark and cultivate a balance where it isn’t weathered by exhaustion. Your spark is unlike anything, no-one else has it, and for that very reason it is your responsibility to render its light. Build a tent around it, stoke it with love and tenderness, feed it with good food and give it time to breathe, your light is your precious gift, one you cannot share if it isn’t strong enough to help brighten someone else’s.
Instead of looking for the light, be the light. You might just spark a change!