A Year In The Light
Years ago I had the idea to create a book merging photography and inspiration, a collection of portraits of people whom I knew and respected accompanied by a quote from them next to their image. The plan was to ask them to identify one thing about life, spirituality, love or general knowledge that they wanted to know more about. I wanted to inspire them to ponder over their own life lessons and experiences and perhaps target one aspect of the human experience that they were afraid of delving deeper into, or simply discuss where in life they believed their knowledge was lacking. I hoped that it would draw them closer to paying attention to the nudges of intuition that they've experienced in their lives that were meant to guide them in specific directions, but which were ignored for one reason or another. I meant to title the work What We Don't Know, and I wanted to instigate a revolution of thinkers to set their intentions to fess up to the potential sources of their fears and uncertainties so that readers could start identifying with them. I believed that by identifying what the subjects of the book felt they wanted to know more about, the possibility of setting an intention to explore the unknown existed, which would lead both subjects and readers to start pursuing their own individual passions. I wanted to inspire people to bond over what is not commonly discussed and offer the opportunity to pursue that which would bring them closer to their own path of fulfillment and purpose.
I thought the idea was genius. Turns out I was alone. Cut to me sitting down with interviewees and asking them to talk to me about what they didn't know. "How can I know what I don't know? If I don't know it, then I can't tell you I don't know it, because I don't know it!"
Shortly after hearing the same response verbalized in different forms and languages, I let the project drop and began working on my first book, The Examined Life. But the concept of setting intention by identifying what we don't know stayed with me over the years, and as my life took unexpectedly turbulent and exhilarating turns, I began to feel the coming together of this book. And so here we are.
I have always been fascinated by the realization that regardless of how many experiences we've lived through and whatever we think we know, we are quick to forget whatever core values and principles we know will bring us peace. We easily get pulled into the crazy, the chaotic and the dramatic. In an age where cockiness reigns, where entitlement and instant gratification run rampant and social media serves many as a tool to spew diatribes drenched in opinion, judgement and everything we think we know, I want to throw a spoke into the collective wheels. I want to instigate people to look beyond their reflexes of reaction and inflated moral high grounds to dig a little bit and start getting honest and real about what matters. I want to remind people of the basics, the fundamentals, to bypass distraction entirely and spend time on that which I believe is worthy of our time. I truly believe that when future generations and historians look back on this moment in time, it will be seen as a dark age. I want to instigate a new enlightenment of purpose, intention and mindfulness. I want to remind people of what they once knew but allowed to fall by the wayside. I want to offer a collection of reminders and intentions that readers can practically apply, day by day, as a tangible, inspiring tool for empowerment and inspiration.
Amongst many other things, I am a yoga and meditation teacher. I've said repeatedly that I teach these mind/body practices because they are the platforms through which I best communicate what I believe needs to be shared with the world. If I could sing anywhere near melodically, I'd be a professional singer. If I could act, I'd choose roles that allow me to inform and educate the same way teaching allows me to. And while I do not physically practice yoga every day, I do implement the philosophies of yoga at every possible opportunity. Yoga has been defined as being the end of identification with pain. And so I go out into the world every day with the intention of not identifying with pain. This means not identifying with doubt, fear, judgment, blame, accusation, criticism, and most of all, hate.
I am also a writer. Writing has become another one of those platforms through which I communicate, allowing my thoughts and insights to be disseminated through different avenues and channels using the written word. The insight in this book is the same as one would find in the yoga classes I offer, so consider this a year's worth of yoga classes without the physical practice.
Within this book you will find daily thoughts, insights, reminders and intentions to help you heal, respond to life's challenges and changes with wisdom, and ensure you have the tools you need to begin to create the behavioral patterns conducive to living the rest of your life with as little chaos and drama, and as much peace in your thoughts and body as possible. What you'll find within the covers of this book is what we need to be reminded of, and remind ourselves of, when life does that thing to us that feels like we're being sloshed around in the spin cycle of the washing machine. Call them touchstones, beacons, reminders, lighthouses, lifesavers or cold hard truths; what you'll find in these pages are whispers of what you need to hear, what you need to remember. Pick this book up when you need to hear them and even more often when you don't. Whispers, repeated often enough, will resonate way louder than any yell or cry. Focus on one whisper at a time, one page at a time, one intention a day for the next 365 days, or pick the book up whenever you feel like bringing some intention and mindfulness into your day. Let those whispers sink into your psyche so that what you forgot, what has eluded you in the race to simply keep up with the franticness and freneticism of a modern life lived in distraction, becomes what you're reminded of. Come back to what you already know, over and over, until it becomes what you inherently know. On a heart level. On a soul level.
Some entries intentionally echo others, as common themes (with different languaging) have been used for the sake of getting the message conveyed. There will be pages within these covers that will resonate with you and others that may seem of little use. Regardless, commit to living your life with intention, perhaps committing to live the next 365 days with a daily intention. Go page by page, and even if that day's intention means nothing to you initially, read it, absorb it and take it with you into your day. See when and where it applies to you with relevance and insight.
This book is a labour of love. I never would have thought that as an adult I would be talking about love as I work, but here I am. When I was a child I needed love badly, and I got it from my parents, brothers and family. As I've grown older it has become blatantly obvious that not everyone was as blessed as I have been in that respect, and so I have made my mission to pour love into my work and send it outwards with no specific destination, knowing it will land where it is needed.
Let this labour of love do what love has always done: help heal the wounds that keep us isolated and afraid, bring people together with shared intention and laughter, and convey lessons that may not always be easy to swallow, but are essential to sustaining well being in all aspects of this human existence. Let it be a conscious return of the love that I am blessed with that I am now in a position to pass onto the rest of the world. Most of all, let this work of love bring peace to you, dear reader. Peace of mind, of body and of spirit.
Set your intention to continue setting your intentions daily. Trust that you will start to notice the benefits sooner rather than later. Choose a life steeped in light, day by day, 365 days a year.
Your Year in the Light has now begun. Enjoy it.