Natural gifts byron katieI know a brilliant designer, Nar Bustamante. His work makes the world  more beautiful in so many ways, but that didn’t matter to him on this particular day.

Recently, he posted on social media, “I don’t understand war. When I see children hurt, bleed, confused, helpless, innocent, my soul feels deep pain. All the greatness I surround myself with seems insignificant. I love people. I still think this world is awesome…” He went on to express his disgust that we don’t acknowledge and address this suffering. It was obvious his soul was very raw. There’s truth in his words, and we often wonder, what can we do, individually, to make a difference.

It’s nearly impossible not to feel helpless in this world. So much happens that’s out of our control. (Actually, it’s all out of our control, but that’s a different post). There are tragic occurrences, natural disasters, personal challenges. All these things create suffering in the world.

Yet, there’s a magical energy when life goes well; when we’re not gobbling at the trough of commercialism and basing our happiness on material things. When we slow down and are present for one another things change. There’s a aura of exquisite mystery that springs from the act of our hearts truly touching. (Click to Tweet) We often underestimate the value of simple acts, such as sharing our natural gifts or extending a hand to help a stranger.

In the 4 Noble Truths, the Buddha explains suffering is inevitable. He gifts 4 noble truthsalso gives guidance and tools for dealing with suffering – our attachment to ideas and desired outcomes lead to our suffering.

When I was working towards my coaching certification I worked with an incredible peer coach, a mystical, Irish woman. She was able, in the space of 20 minutes, to regularly tap into my essence and crack my heart wide open. After one of our sessions, I went out into the world and suddenly saw everything differently. My vision had totally changed. Judgment dropped from my vernacular and I simply observed. I had the realization, I had no way of knowing what other people felt without asking them.  I understood my judgment was fueled by assumptions;  imposing how I MIGHT feel in another’s situation, and it was simply a “guess.” So, I stopped guessing.  As I observed the world this way, I was free to shine my own light. It opened me. It made me love more, accept more. It was the most liberated I’ve ever been. This phenomenon lasted nearly a month and eventually fell away. I’ve spent years trying to get back to that space – seeking a replay. This search is part of my spiritual practice.

What if we were to approach life as observers? Stepping in with the healthy curiosity and open-mindedness of a child? What if we were to hold a space in our open hearts, approaching life with the giving of love and compassion – living in the moment?
shine-your-light-picWe’re all given gifts. Perhaps they’re our blueprint for our lives. Yours might be designing spaces for people to live their lives in more comfort and beauty. It might be healing, listening, teaching, sharing stories, entertaining, guiding or feeding others. It seems, when we focus too much on misery, our own vibrations drown in the sorrow and we dampen our offerings. Really, these simple gifts are one of the most powerful tools we have – and we must use them to bring light and joy and help heal the world. (click to Tweet this) Tucking them away and spending too much time in a dark place is a disservice to the world.

Here is a beautiful song, written and performed by my incomparable peer coach, Mary McLaughlin.

As we approach the season of the rebirth of light, I encourage you to find your own light, shine it bright, don’t hold back. You’re too powerful to tuck away in sorrow or shame. The world needs your best self.

Shine Your Light and Spark a Fire!




Michelle Andres is a writer and artist who cultivates her own Well Lived Life by drinking in the beauty around Writer, Artist, Coachher, following her passion, respecting others and doing her best to own her own dookie.
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