What Lights You Up?

The 4th of July always brings back vivid memories of my childhood in Bayside New York. I remember the anticipation we felt before the big day. My brother, sisters, and I would be out of school for the summer, and toward the end of June, we’d be on the lookout for the small, flat, cardboard boxes that held sparklers. My mother would pick them up at the fireworks stand, and we could barely wait till the day came that we’d be able to hold the magical wands in our hands. My father would carefully light them for us, and we’d run around, writing our names in the sky and admiring their golden glow.

It’s funny how such a simple thing could bring us so much joy!

The sparklers were just the beginning. After they had spit out their last spark and been safely extinguished in a bucket of water, my mother would hand out red, white, and blue popsicles, and we’d all walk to a spot in the neighborhood where we could see the big firework displays. We’d watch in awe, commenting excitedly on our favorites.

“I love the gold ones!”

“Is that the finale?”

“Oh wait –it’s not over – there’s still more!”

It never got old. It still doesn’t. I have a bench situated at the highest point in my back yard, and from that vantage point I can sit and watch fireworks from across the county. It always makes me happy!

Thinking back on hand-held sparklers and the dramatic firework displays in the sky that delighted me as a child brings to mind a question that I often ask my students.

What lights you up?

We’re all on this earth for a relatively short time. While you’re here, there are lessons to learn, bills to pay, people to care for. But what makes life worth living are the things that excite and inspire you. It’s different for everyone – and just like 4th of July, there are sparklers (small pleasures)  and fireworks (big, dramatic events). Living your best life means experiencing lots of both with people you love.

It’s possible to get so wrapped up in the everyday worries and responsibilities that the things you enjoy get pushed aside. If this goes on for too long, you can find yourself forgetting that your natural state is one of joy and love. Don’t let that happen!

If you’ve gotten out of the joy habit, here are some ways to reignite your spark…

  • Take time to reflect. Ask yourself, what makes me feel most alive? Consider how you would spend your time if you had a week with absolutely no responsibilities or obligations. Think about the hobbies and activities you loved as a child. Capture your insights in a journal.
  • Try a positive affirmation. Each morning and throughout the day say to yourself “I am on this earth to experience joy and to share my light with others.” Affirmations are a powerful way to shift your energy and attract positive things!
  • Appreciate the good things in your life. Push negativity and worry into the background by acknowledging the positive. Keep a gratitude journal, write thank you notes (or texts), and be kind and grateful to the people who help you throughout your day.
  • Take the leap. Don’t let fear hold you back. Take a class, change your job, reach out to a new friend, plan a trip, prioritize joy and fun. Life is uncertain. The only thing you can count on is love – and that starts with loving yourself.

If you’re in the USA celebrating Independence Day, or anywhere else in the world, I challenge you to seek out those things, big and small, that spark joy in your heart and fulfill your soul. If this blog inspires you, I invite you to join my Facebook community to receive daily inspiration, and share your comments with like-minded souls!

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