Lead with Love: ‘You are my sunshine’
Every night before bed, I sing my kids this song: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
When I sing this and hold them close, I feel connected to something far greater than myself. It is a bond that transcends time and space. These two girls bring light to my life. They are my sunshine. I feel so grateful and blessed to bask in their light.
It seems like kids bring this light without thinking about it or trying. They are the light. They have a purity and innocence that radiates. They have a laugh that is authentic and unbridled. Same with their cries, too! It is something special to be surrounded by a constant reminder of now. Whatever is happening right now is the most important thing, and it creates a feeling of delight or can seem like a disaster. As a mother, we must be ready to comfort or celebrate at any moment.
After listening to this song so many times, I’ve been thinking: How can I be the sunshine for the people in my life? Often, I feel that I do this very naturally, as I was blessed with a sunny disposition. But, sometimes, with those I care about most, I am critical and judgmental. If I am tired or hormonal, I can be downright bitchy. I think it is so important to feel my feelings, so I am not saying I want to be happy all of the time. That’s not natural; it’s contrived and often excessively obvious when people are trying too hard to be happy. I can always choose to be kind.
I want to be real with myself and others and share myself authentically.
How can I be fueled by something deep inside myself that gives me a sense of peace and joy, so that I can radiate out light and love naturally and effortlessly? The only way I can do this that I’ve found in my 46 years on the planet is to be connected to a source greater than myself that guides me, to be here now, and to be grateful. In the present moment, there is a quality of noticing little things, things that may not seem so important but are actually the most important thing: the smile on my child’s face, the breathing of my dog next to me, the light through the trees that seems to sparkle, snow falling, a passing thought of a friend or relative whom I love makes me smile or giggle — these things. I notice them, and if I do, it means I am slowing down a bit. It means I am here. Now. That is where God lives and where magic happens.
I have a nightly reminder to be the light as I sing my children to sleep. What an incredible honor it is to hold them and let them teach me how I want to be in the world. A light, a rainbow, a person who notices things and radiates love.
Sadly, for many people it is not easy to radiate light. There are hundreds and thousands of neglected and abused kids in the U.S. alone, millions in the world. Not all kids are the light of their parents’ life, and some people are in a very dark place. If we know this, we can do something. We can find a way to bring light to others. I feel all the sadness and heartbreaking things in the world, and yet I trust there is something to this whole thing called life more than buying stuff and celebrating holidays with the people who made us. What is the work that needs to be done to get to the place where we naturally and easily radiate light, help to uplift others, and be of service? Can we get to that place with an epidemic of depression, anxiety, suicide, drug addiction, poverty, and pain? I think we can, and it’s up to each of us to make choices. It’s a choice what we focus on each day and the work that we choose to do in the world.
What if we all woke up each day to ask how can I shine like the sun today? What do I need to do to get to that place? Even when it’s cloudy, the sun is shining. Even in your sadness, feel your light, too. It’s always there, and we have to trust that if we have this light in us, other’s have it, too.
I dedicate myself to seeing the light, being the light, and sharing the light. Can you?
Gina Murdock is the founder of Lead with Love, an Aspen, Colo. based non-profit org dedicated to shifting culture from fear to love and a board member of CASA of the Ninth dedicated to advocating for children who are neglected and abused. More info at www.ileadwithlove.org
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