When you fully shine the light of your true nature, you give others permission to be fully themselves.

As a child and early teen, I was always shy.  I didn’t really like to speak up, didn’t really want to be seen or heard, and didn’t feel like I had much to offer in a group setting.  Because I was quiet and people knew I was smart (because I got good grades in school,) I had somewhat of a reputation of being “stuck up.” Apparently some kids thought I didn’t talk to them because (they thought) I thought I was better than them.  Quite the contrary!  I felt unworthy, like I couldn’t measure up to their bright, popular personalities.  When I first went off to college, while still not being the most social person, I made a conscious effort to talk to other students who sat alone in the cafeteria, who didn’t hang out in big crowds –people who seemed shy like me, and by doing so I think I gave myself and these other kids a gift of being able to be comfortable being our quiet selves.  We never really all hung out in a group, but we appreciated the friendships that were formed, where we could truly be ourselves around each other.  For me, it was a turning point where I realized that I had the power to inspire others to choose to step away from staying small, and to step into the light of friendship.  To take a step away from fear and towards a place of empowerment.

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are approaching the Spring Equinox, the time of year when the days are getting longer and the light is brighter.  We are moving out of the darkness and stepping into the light.  We all go through cycles of light and darkness, and this is the natural pulsation of nature- night and day, winter and summer.  May this coming bright time of year inspire us to move away from what worries or scares us, and step more fully into the light, where we can expand our hearts and shine out in a way that inspires others to do the same.  A favorite quote by Rumi says: “Don’t hide your heart, but reveal it, so that mine might be revealed, and I might accept what I am capable of.”

When you stop playing small and shine out brightly, your heart opens and expands into your true nature, which is joy and freedom.  This recognition is the highest purpose of the practice of yoga.