During a vivid meditation I was mesmerized by several burning candles (Getting to Lights in My Life). A voice explained, “These candles represent the Lights in your life. They are what is really important.” This concept led me to explore the idea of Lights in my life—a task which at first seemed straightforward, but that was not the case.
When I began considering the idea of Lights in my life, I realized I had to establish what that meant. I recalled how I felt during the meditation—warm, joyful, safe, cared for—and concluded a Light is someone or something that invokes the feelings you most desire to experience.
To get started, I needed criteria against which I could judge whether or not someone was one of my Lights. While working on that list, it dawned on me that a Light in one area of my life might not be a Light in another. For example, someone who is a Light in my work life might not be a Light in my personal life. To complicate things further, a Light might be a thing, not a person.
To help identify and organize Lights, I settled on the categories Mind, Body, and Spirit. People, things, or activities can be part of any of these. Regardless of the category, a Light invokes the emotions you most want to feel. These emotions are the judgment criteria.
To discover the Lights in your life, start by brainstorming all the feelings you most desire. For the first pass, don’t hold back. List everything that comes to mind. (Some may not be feelings, but you can translate them into feeling words later.) As an example, here is my original, brainstormed Feelings List: happy, childlike, good tired, connected, loved, energized, unburdened, rested, clear, satisfied, filled with spirit, bright, fulfilled, believed, supported, confident, light, safe, helpful, strong, connected/in my body, trusted, worry free, energetic, creative, timeless/time bending
Once you’ve created your Feelings List, review it to make sure it is complete and all the words are feelings. Either cast out those that are not feelings, or change them into feeling words. Eliminate any words that don’t really describe your desired feelings.
Next, group similar feelings together. For each group pick the one word or short phrase that most accurately depicts the feeling you truly desire. Be aware the best word might not be one on your list, but instead be a more descriptive word. Be thorough, painstakingly honest, and dig deep. This can be trickier than you think. For instance, one of my feelings was “loved,” but when I pushed myself to examine what I really wanted, the feeling was better described as “appreciated.”
Narrow down your list to between 5 and 10 descriptive words/phrases. Then, rank your desired feelings from the most important to the least. This is how my final Feelings List looked:
Choose words with the most impact to you. They may have different meanings to someone else. For instance, my feeling “safe” means (to me) I do not have to be guarded, watch my words, or hide my authentic self. On someone else’s list, it might mean to be without harm. I chose “safe” because of its intense impact on me due to my unique, personal experience of not being safe.
My Lights in Your Life series will describe creating three things:
- The criteria to determine Lights in your life (Feelings List)
- The types of Lights needed in your life (Mind, Body, and Spirit Types Lists)
- A list of people, activities, and things from which your Lights will be drawn (Potential Lights List)
These will be used to identify the Lights in your life.