Back in January I went to see one of my favourite speakers, Lee Harris, and there has been one soundbite that has really stuck with me ever since.
Part of the seminar was about how we make sense of what is going on in the world, and how we manage to stay positive when things are difficult.
It’s not an easy nor a straightforward answer, but there were three words that I thought could help me, and others, find a way through dark times.
These three words are: Slivers of Light.
Before I go onto what exactly he meant by that, I should first clear up the use of the word “sliver”, which is often confused with the word “slither”.
When offered a piece of cake, many people answer, “ok then, just a slither”. Now I don’t mean to be the vocabulary police, but “slither” is what snakes do, a “sliver” is that slice of cake, a small, thin piece broken off something larger.
So a sliver of light is a small piece of light, an indicator of the presence of a something bigger, but in itself, just a part of it. The light, in this context, is all that is good in the world, hope, love, compassion, unity, the universal energy.
When we are in the light, we see the positive in everything, things seems to be flowing, with effortless ease, and we attract positive outcomes in our life. In the darkness, it can feel like walking through treacle, like the world is against us, and we are governed by fear, shame, hate even.
Now I’m a great believer in positive thinking, but I’m also a realist, and the very nature of life is one of duality – we need both the light and the dark. It’s just not possible to have all good times, all of the time, or to be ecstatically happy all of the time.
In fact, I believe we need the darkness in order for us to appreciate the light. The darkest nights produce the brightest stars, and it only through facing the darkness that we are able to see the light.
However, in dark times it can be difficult to find ay light at all, and this is where “slivers of light” come in. We don’t necessarily need to see the big picture straightaway, or to try to convince ourselves that all is peachy-creamy, either in a global sense or in our own world.
But if we look for those moments, no matter how small, those little clues that the light is still there, it gives us hope, and that hope can motivate us to look for more light, and then before we know it, there is more light than dark again.
We take small steps to bring the light back in. Just little moments of magic.
I had one of those this weekend. We had gone camping to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and although quite nice weather during the day, it was cold at night, and the darkness brought even more of a chill. Extra blankets were needed, and I must admit, I wasn’t feeling exactly positive about getting up to take a “comfort break” through the frosty glass.
Then we opened the tent, and we were facing the sunrise. It was stunning. Just a “sliver of light” coming in through that left me awe-struck, remembering all that is beautiful in the natural world. In that moment, everything made sense, and I was reminded that life is magic.
The day ahead went like a dream, and I think I owe that to that “sliver of light”.
When we focus on these little moments magic, eventually the bigger picture emerges, and the world starts to become brighter. I know this having come out of the dark last year. It wasn’t a big overnight change that brought me back to this happier place, it was the little moments of magic, and focusing on all those things I had to be grateful for.
I would go as far as to say that I am thankful now for the darkness. Like a glowstick, I think sometimes we need to break before we shine. Yet when we are faced with the darkness, we don’t need to stay there, nor pretend that everything is bright and rosy when perhaps it isn’t.
We just need to look for the slivers of light, because small lights have a way of being seen in a dark world.