Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is commencing tomorrow. Described as the festival of "sweets, gifts, fireworks, and firecrackers," Diwali celebrates the victory of light over darkness. I don't think you need to be Indian to be able to appreciate the sentiment here. Check out this site that explains Diwali and scroll down to the bottom of the page. There you'll find a number of suggestions for celebrating this joyful holiday. I love that list. It includes music, dance, friends, shared meals, and lighting candles. Heck, why wait for a holiday to do those things, right?
Unfortunately, it would seem that our society is overly intrigued with darkness. This is sort of ironic to me, as so many people go to great lengths to deny the dark side of themselves (which, in my opinion, only makes things darker in the long run) completely. I suppose the trick is to recognize the darkness without defining oneself by it or letting it consume us. This can be difficult, as our brains just love to dwell on pain, drama, worry, and the like. As I said a few posts ago, it ain't all darkness and it ain't all light.
These days, I'm acknowledging the darkness but celebrating the light. Ignoring darkness doesn't make it go away, but neither does wallowing in it. Isn't this why there's so much talk about gratitude? Being in a state of gratitude invites in the light. How else do you invite in the light?
I have a go to list of things that I can do when my mind gets a little too entranced by darkness (Yes, yoga is on the list). These things elevate me and remind me that there's often way more light than darkness, depending upon how you look at things. So tomorrow I'm going to celebrate Diwali even though I'm not of Indian descent. I love the idea of celebrating light and I think it's something that should be done every day, not just one day out of the year.
And if you'd like to invite more light into your life, here are some suggestions:
- Practice 5 minutes of yoga: Yep, set a timer for 5 minutes and do some movement to breath. It doesn't take long to feel lighter. And don't be surprised if you want to keep going once the timer goes off. Try these simple, can-be-done-anywhere yoga segments to satisfy your 5 minutes:
--Standing Arm Movements
--Standing Forward Bend
--Child's Pose Cat Arch
--Legs to the Roof
- Move: A sure fire way to get your energy flowing and feel like light itself is movement. Try this Osho Dynamic Meditation or turn up some drumming music and dance.
- Breathe: Try two simple breathing methods for about 3 minutes each and notice how you feel afterwards: 1. Inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth 2. Inhale through the mouth and exhale out the nose.
- Be grateful: Shifting your focus to what you're grateful for reminds you of the light in your life. Take 5-10 minutes each day and write/type a list of what you're grateful for or what was great about the day.
- Love: Loving yourself and loving others is a surefire way to light you up from the inside out. Spend time with your family and friends (perhaps you could have a yoga baking party using this yogi kitchen must-have), volunteer and help others, spend some quality alone time with yourself, spend time around animals, play with children, and anything else that involves opening your heart to yourself and/or another.
What are some things that bring light to your life? I'm off to do one of the things that brings light into mine -- African Drumming. Tomorrow when I light some candles in honor of Diwali, I'll be thinking of all of my blog readers -- the light in me bows to the light in you.