The Light Within
It is an unexplainable feeling each year when the air thickens with new big-budget movies, a hint of cool weather, and childhood memories of new dresses, money from aunts and uncles, the smell of warm Kesar and cardamom-scented homemade gulab jamuns, gaajar ka halwa, and boxes of nuts and sweets. Yes, it’s that time of the year again, time for Diwali – The festival of lights.
My favourite Diwali ritual was lighting up earthen diyas outside the main door of our ground floor house in Bahrain. I always had to be careful not to burn my new clothes or my chunri. There was something so special about lighting diyas (lamps) both inside and outside our homes. According to mythology, this was how the Kingdom of Ayodhya celebrated the return of their king, Lord Ram, after he completed a 14-year exile in the jungles. It was a celebration of the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
Movies and books have told stories with these very themes over and over again. Tales of victories, overcoming struggles and finally seeing the ‘light’ after going through a dark period in one’s life. Why, one could ask. Well, because stories like these inspire us and make us feel like, we too have accomplished victory over something in our lives. We thrive in the fictitious story, no matter how momentary. Daily in our lives, we all face struggles, and every day we work to overcome them. As we work towards our goals and dreams no matter how small, crossing each comes our way feels like a victory. What helps us get past our hurdles is the ‘light’ within us—that light which is the inner strength that we all possess. The spark, the drive, the will power that we all have to push us towards our goals.
What ignites this inner light is something most people I come across lack – Self Love. As an example, I want to tell you about Kamal Ravikant, the author of “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”. Only a few months before he released his book, he fell very sick. His company, which was once well enough to raise a significant amount of money, was faltering, and perhaps failing. He had recently broken off a relationship, and one of his closest friends died. The doctors couldn’t help him, and he was infinitely tired, feverish, in pain, and getting worse. In his own words, he had reached “breaking point” and was done dealing with life. That’s when he got himself out of bed, opened his notepad and made a vow to himself that read “I love myself”. That changed everything. He began to heal himself, and within a month, his life had transformed.
An old client of mine in Hong Kong worked over 12 hours each day, away from his family, visiting his wife and daughters in Singapore only every other weekend. His days were consumed with work with his finger on the pulse of the finance industry. His company had significant shares in international airlines and banks. He had a similar “wake-up call” to finally look at his life when he lost his boss, who was also his mentor. He then lost someone close to him in his family to cancer. The shock of losing them so suddenly, made him question his life choices. He “woke up” to himself, and started addressing his life from a place of ‘self-love’. He then quit his high-profile job as the CFO of a Fortune 500 company job that kept him away from his family and was taking up every ounce of energy he had. I vividly remember one of our last coaching sessions together in the IFC mall. He showed up as a different man. Relatively quiet and reflective. All he wanted to talk about was the realisation he had of how precious life is, and how important his time with his family is to him.
These are not fictional characters, but real people and just two of the many I’ve met who overcame their hurdles by finding their inner light. It is their light, ignited by the love they developed for themselves, observing what truly brought them happiness, that brought them home (literally and figuratively).
And home is where we all want to be, during Diwali or any other time living our lives in peace with our loved ones. Live in love and light. Happy Diwali to all!
Neha Sonney is a contributing writer to Thrive Global. She is an amazing friend, proud mother of a moody teen, happy girlfriend to a life editor, great cook, zouk and personal development enthusiast with a green thumb. Currently, she’s working on her first book on the topic of self-love.
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