Open the shades and let the light in

“Take off that gloomy mask of tragedy, it’s not your style.” - Bye Bye Birdie:  Put on a Happy Face

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During the holidays it is easy to succumb to feelings of gloom and unworthiness.  There is something about these times of year that brings the temptation to compare ourselves to others or note the ways that we are not living up to ideas we have about who we should be.  When this happens, it is easy to shrink back into ourselves and lose our enthusiasm and inspiration.  While this sounds tragic, it does not have to be.

Recently, after leading a group of first-graders in guided mindfulness meditation, something became clear for all of us.  When our minds are tired and become clouded with fear, doubt and worry, we become like sunflowers whose flowers are closed for the night.  We walk around grumbling or holding all of our beauty inside.  We miss out on connecting with the world around us in meaningful ways.

It is in those moments that we can set aside time to breathe.  This allows our minds to settle and clear.  We tap back into the light that exists within all of us.   As we do, our minds bloom like brilliant sunflowers.   Our energy is renewed as we remember that life is good.  Then, as we go about our business, this energy radiates out.  We bring forth the best in everyone we encounter and notice the good wherever we go.

There was a third-grade student in one of the lunch groups who walked around with a serious look on his face.  He tended to keep to himself and did not seem very interested in connecting with others.  Then, one day, an interesting thing happened.  I sat next to him and asked him what he dreamed of doing.  He lit up when he heard this question.  He then shared how he fantasizes about being the ultimate cubicle worker.  He delighted in sharing the details of his peculiar vision.

Besides the uniqueness of the dream he shared, the amazing part was seeing him light up.  The joy and giggles bubbled up from within him.  As he opened up more, he naturally started interacting with the other group members.  It seemed as though my question, as well as sincere interest in his response, had flipped a switch within him.  His real self was just waiting for an excuse to shine.

If you find yourself feeling gloomy, open the shades and let the light in.  More importantly, let the light that is inside of you out for the world to see.  Share your true self with the people in your world.  Spend some time remembering who you are and then go about the business of enjoying being you.  Nothing is important enough to squash your spirit in the process.  If you have been allowing something to steal your thunder, now is the time to take it back.

Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District and the cohost of the inspirational podcast “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed”. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org