How can I serve others? This isn’t my version of philanthropic, obligatory self-questioning. SOMEthing comes naturally to each of us. At an early age, I noticed the kid sitting alone at lunch, and would “move my tray” to be in proximity to him/her. I had a strange sense of others’ moods, even in childhood. I didn’t know this wasn’t something everyone experienced, the detection of energy. I have felt immediately unsafe in seemingly safe scenarios, but knew I needed to leave, quickly. I have asked a random person, perhaps sitting in a lobby waiting for an appointment, “Are you ok?” Because I knew they weren’t and needed another human, in that moment. More than once, the tears were instant and they spoke, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, of a deeply personal grief they were carrying. It seemed to hit them only after the fact that they’d just disclosed that heavy information to a complete stranger. Unless, of course, you believe that we truly are all the same, in more ways than not. Then, we’re not really strangers, at all. We all seek validation. We all need purpose. We all need to feel loved and significant in the life of another human being. Denying and believing these things to be untrue is one of the saddest of states for a soul. When the need to be nurtured in life has been neglected so harshly and for so long, the heart callouses and imprisoned is a woeful sadness turned anger or depression, a predictable result from the lack of the most basic unmet needs. Often beginning in childhood, this nightmare eventually becomes a reality that is accepted as unchangeable truth. I have worked with large, challenging populations. From active addicts and alcoholics in their most desperate and broken states to hardened felons having spent years behind bars. These demographics are but two examples of the often forgotten, shunned, invisible, scorned. For them, there is little empathy. No coming back. No chance at forgiveness. And, they know it. So, whatever strides they may make in bettering themselves is done without pageantry or encouragement from the people whom they would most seek love. Instead, they cross paths with someone like me. A light carrier. I have been at the bottom of life’s cesspools. I have struggled publicly and alone. I couldn’t blame anyone for walking away from the likes of an alcoholic that was myself, but isolation was one reason I drank…it wasn’t that drinking didn’t make me feel so alone anymore, I simply didn’t feel. It isn’t uncommon to hear recovered addicts and alcoholics refer to the need to “just make their brain stop.” I don’t know what a non-alcoholic mind feels like. I know that, in recovery, I still can’t fully relate to a way of doing things that the non-addicted do. As for the felons once in my charge, I could not fully relate to their pain, as I have never had a need, desire or impulse to hurt another human being in a way that would land me behind bars. It doesn’t make me better than them. It makes my calling to be a light carrier all the stronger. I don’t have the answers to the questions people often seek from me, but when I can manage to get “self” out of the way, and solidly tune in to an individual, responses often come THROUGH me, as they discover their own epiphany. I am quick to share what has helped me through various complexities, and what didn’t. It is not my job or desire to decide if it may or may not work for another. I cringe at the lack of grace and plethora of judgements spewed between humans, amongst humankind. When light carriers cross paths, we know it, instantly. And, there is almost an audible exhale at the other’s recognition… sheer solace…unspoken portions of a dialogue that would seem incomplete to some. So, what if all of this talk of light and energy is utter nonsense in your world? Whether the one in the dark or the one with imprisoned emotions, or one who believes in nothing you’ve read in these paragraphs…what about you…I would humbly ask you to unmask what’s buried your ember. We are all born with it…that infinite light in our being. It may be masked by unimaginable cruelty, intense suffering, a feeling that the world would go on and never notice your absence. On behalf of those who hurt you, I am sorry. I am sorry you were dealt blows you never deserved and missing is a shoulder to rest your head, a hand to hold your own, the comfort of another to lean into. I am sorry that you don’t feel safe. Or made a priority. To you, I especially ask…beg…you to do the hard thing and carry your light, once more. That you have been battered, emotionally, physically, mentally and you vacillate between numbness and the icy, black existence makes your light all the more important, vital, needed. The light carriers walking among us today didn’t choose that role, but survived the fire of our own hell and will always return carrying buckets of water to those still engulfed. We need you. You may not ever be the person you were before, for a very magical reason…your magnificence awaits. Seek and claim it. You are worthy. You are precious. You are still here. That makes you a badass. A badass with a light. You know the feeling of being engulfed, too well. If no one was there to help you, use this very reason to choose to show up for others also suffering alone. It may save a life, even your own. To each of you, I bow, and I lift my light. I’ll see you out there, as thousands of new, twinkling sparks shine in the darkest of nights. We cannot see the stars til the sun goes down…we see them clearly, when all around, there is a lack of light. Peace, Warriors.