We had a light in the kids’ bathroom flickering the other day and I did what I always do when there is a light flickering, I ignored it. Why? Because 1. it was just here and there flickering, not a constant seizure inducing studio 54 strobe light flicker and 2. that is my husband’s area. And before you go all full bra burning feminist on me, it's because duh, he’s an electrician and bonus! he applied for and has had the ceo position of fixing all the things in the house and outside on our property.
But, back it up, I didn’t write this to explain how we subcontract out household adulting duties in our family. I wrote to tell you what happened when he saw the light flickering for the first time (I had noticed it for 3 days) and promptly changed the bulb.
It took him 2 minutes.
But that’s still not the point of me sharing this. The point is, he replaced it with an LED bulb, and oh yeah, one of the lother lights was out as well, so 2 new led bulbs were put in and my bathroom was LIT PEOPLE.
And you could really, really, really see. And I mean, it was bright and it looked like a different place! But then I noticed something else, with all of the “light”, I could also see everything that I’ve been ignoring about that bathroom. And I exhaled as the song of “whatthecrapisgoingonwithmybathroomandwhyhaveibeenignoringthislong?” spun through my head.
I saw it all: The swelling baseboard at the edge of the tub from the kids spilling water too much. The 10 year old paint job that needs to be re-done. The grubby hand prints on the shower curtain. The bathroom vanity has chips of paint missing all over it (are my kids eating paint?). And what.the? The faucet doesn’t match the light fixture? I mean I SAW ALL THE FLAWS.
But here's the cool part, I didn’t judge myself when I saw all of these things. Do they need to be fixed? yes. Did I even know this before? Not really. I mean, I did, but I didn’t. Because hashtag priorities: when you are dealing with other stuff, paint chips and swollen baseboards aren’t on the top of the “to do” list. And before I really didn't value what I wanted or needed, so ignoring things like this with our house was super common, because I ignored things in my head and life as well.
For a lot of years my to do list was to never have a to do list. Why? Because whenever there was unhappiness within me, whenever there was upset, whenever there was a an undercurrent of unease, I could swiftly pick something that “wasn’t right” and “out of my control” to blame it on.
Voila! Problems solved. Lights turned off or dimmed. No LED's here peeps. I don’t have to see anything I don’t want to! Yay!!
Does this sound familiar?
Have you been living your life like this? It’s usually because there is a fear you aren’t STRONG enough to fix your problems. That you are a VICTIM to your circumstances. That things are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL so what’s.the.point?
But those little buggers are all big FAT LIES. When you choose to stay in the darkness because you are afraid of what’s lurking in the dark, you are choosing to NOT CHOOSE YOU. You are choosing excuses, you are choosing suffering, you are choosing allthethings you say you don’t like over and over and over again by not choosing to just do that dang thing already.
“But Annie! I don’t have time to meditate.” You screen yell at me. Sorry, but yes, yes you do. You have time to have a 3 hour migraine every other week, instead choose 10 minutes of meditating a day for two weeks and that is still LESS than 3 hours of numbed hell under your blankets y’all.
But I truly believe the real fear isn't that we aren't strong enough to face what's been hiding in the dark. Because I found out, that's not what I was really afraid of either. I was AFRAID OF THE LIGHT. Because I didn't know who I was, I was afraid if I really flicked the switch and showed up I would still not be good enough. I would be too much. Or not enough.
It made me think of my favorite Marianne Williamson quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others. —Marianne Williamson
So as much as I just randomly went here and there about why we choose not to turn on the lights, I hope you can see it’s ok if your’e afraid of turning them on. But just know, they are fixable. And we need you fixing and walking away from the things that don’t work so you can shine even brighter. You got this, and you’re even gonna do it with LED’s because we love Mother Earth and saving cheddar.
AS WE LET OUR OWN LIGHT SHINE, we see that what we thought were flaws, were strengths, what we saw as mistakes, were miracles, what we saw as problems were possibilities.