The Anne Lamott Lighthouse

lighthouse-lamott_quoteDo you have a word of the year for 2016?

If you’re like me, you’ve probably experienced the power that comes from setting an intention (for a year, a day, or even the next few minutes) — whether it’s a specific goal or just a general theme. One of my favorite ways to set a general intention for the coming year is to pick a word of the year.

This year, my word is “lighthouse.”

Unlike my words for the past few years — finish, here, and flow — this one may require a bit of explanation. It’s inspired by one of my favorite quotes:

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” ~ Anne Lamott

This resonates deeply with me and serves as an important reminder in several ways:

  • It’s a reminder that, even when we have something of value to share (and all of us do!), we don’t have to live like door-to-door salesmen pushing our wares (or beliefs, lifestyles, etc.) on others.
  • It’s a reminder to simply be yourself.
  • And it’s a reminder that, simply by being yourself, you provide a valuable service to others — not necessarily because you’re trying to, but because your true essence shines, it illuminates everything around you.

The Anne Lamott lighthouse quote also encourages us to get our own “house” in order — reminding us that we serve others through our living example: by being our true self and by glowing!

Most of all, it encourages us to shine!

(The one area where the metaphor ceases to be literally true is in the area of attraction: When a lighthouse shines, it helps boats to steer away from it — whereas when you shine, you attract others to you who resonate with your gifts, your essence, and your glow!)

An interesting, personal note about this word: Less than a month ago, after deciding on “lighthouse” as my word of 2016, my wife and I moved to a new house — one that is filled with light on many levels. It also happens to be located in Florence, Oregon, a city known for its iconic lighthouse (the one pictured at the top of this post, under the quote)!

This new house and the entire area really seem to embody the energy I’ve been inviting into my life. Aside from being near the literal lighthouse, it’s also near the ocean, which epitomizes the “lighthouse” principle.

Today, after spending time at the beach (admiring the lighthouse and the ocean), my wife pointed out that the ocean isn’t trying to give anything or help anyone — much less save anyone! But just by being itself, it offers so much to everyone: it gives beauty, energy, power, serenity, inspiration, and so much more (including the seashells we admire and sometimes collect)!

And, like the lighthouse, the ocean doesn’t have to run around seeking people to help (or “save”). We are drawn to it — and we draw nourishment from it simply by being in its presence.

So, in 2016 (and beyond), this is how I intend to live: I intend to shine, to glow, and to be myself, feeling confident that simply by doing so, I will provide value to those who resonate with my essence and are naturally drawn to this glow. And if living this way happens to inspire anyone to find and express their own authentic inner glow, that would also be wonderful! :)

May this be a year when we all allow our true selves to shine.

Photo by Anita Ritenour

A New Year’s Eve Ritual (for ANY day)

What’s your favorite New Year’s Eve ritual?

Do you watch the ball drop at Times Square? Do you wear silly hats and blow noisemakers? Do you kiss your sweetie and sing “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight? There are so many wonderful ways to ring in the new year — and no one way is right or wrong (although certain rituals may be regretted the following morning).

This year, my wife and I are going to celebrate with a new ritual (which you can feel free to try for yourself, adapting it in any way you’d like to fit your personal style). Throughout the day, we’re […] Continue Reading…

365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul

TODAY’S THE BIG DAY!

Back in April, my wife, Jodi Chapman, and I got the idea to create a collaborative book. Now, after over seven months of planning, preparation, writing, editing, connecting, and behind-the-scenes work, this brand-new book has been “born” into the world! So, it is with great pride and joy that I introduce…

365 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR SOUL!

This special book is filled with over 400 pages of soulful practices, offering one tip for each day of the year from over 200 contributors — including me, Jodi, bestselling authors Arielle Ford, Peggy McColl, Christy Whitman, and many others — from […] Continue Reading…

Inviting the Vampire (or not)

Each year around Halloween, our thoughts (and decorations and kids’ costumes) often involve ghouls, goblins, and monsters. And the monsters that seem to be enjoying the greatest vogue in recent years (due in large part to the Twilight series) are vampires.

Although I’ve managed to avoid the most recent wave of vampire-mania, there is one bit of lore I’ve somehow picked up in this area: Vampires are only allowed to enter your home if you invite them in.

Now, before I go any further, I should clarify: No, I do not believe in actual vampires. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I have not been “bitten” […] Continue Reading…

What Are You Becoming?

Entelechy is a Greek word that means “the fullest realized essence of a thing.”

I love this word. Even more, I love this concept. And I especially love this concept when it’s applied to people.

I love the idea that within each of us lies the potential to become fully realized, fully ourselves.

The analogy that’s frequently used to illustrate this idea is the acorn. And yes, this is a great symbol of how much power and potential can be locked inside even a very small seed (or person or project). It’s a great reminder that even if we feel like we’re at […] Continue Reading…

3 Inspiring Quotes by Wayne Dyer

On August 30, the world learned of a profound loss: the passing of Wayne Dyer.

As one of the biggest, most influential, and most loved figures in the world of personal growth and spirituality, Dyer touched millions of people with his teachings. Over the past four decades, he wrote dozens of books and released numerous video and audio recordings. To summarize his life and teachings would fill many volumes (in fact, it has!). So, as a more succinct tribute to this great teacher, I’ve decided to pick three of his short quotes that inspire me.

“YOU DON’T GET WHAT YOU WANT, YOU GET WHAT […] Continue Reading…

It Hurts When I Do This

Imagine that you know someone who has injured their arm. You ask them if it hurts, and they say, “Only when I do THIS…” and proceed to lift their arm as high as they can (wincing in pain as they do so).

What would you say to them? Most likely, “Well then DON’T DO THAT!”

It seems like an obvious solution to a rather silly scenario, but this actually happens fairly often. (In fact, I think I’ve even done it myself — stretching a hurt arm or leg to see how far I could push it until the pain returned.)

In a way, this makes sense: you […] Continue Reading…

Dream Small

Dream Big!

You’ve probably seen or heard this advice many times — from friends, colleagues, social-media posts, and personal-growth blogs: Dream big! Dream bigger!

And yes, oftentimes, this is great advice! After all, you want a dream that’s big enough to inspire you, to get your blood pumping, or at least to get you out of bed in the morning! And if you have a minuscule dream — for instance, to chew a piece of gum — that’s probably not exactly going to fill you with buoyant enthusiasm and zest for life. So, in this case, I would agree with the multitudes urging you […] Continue Reading…

Life Lesson from Steven Wright

There’s an old joke by Steven Wright: “Somebody stole everything in my apartment and replaced it with an exact replica.”

I always loved the surreal humor of this one-liner (and dozens of others from Wright’s seemingly endless supply, made all the better by his deadpan delivery). Recently, though, I got to thinking that this bizarre hypothetical scenario might contain an important life lesson.

As strange as it may seem, many things in our lives are repeatedly replaced with “replicas” — relationships, possessions, and situations in all areas of life:

You get out of one relationship only to have it replaced by another with the same dynamic.
You […] Continue Reading…

Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of Love

The Lie of Self-Criticism…and the Truth of Self-Love
Have you ever seen the Dove Soap commercials where a police artist sketches women based on verbal descriptions?

The artist (who doesn’t see the women) makes two sets of drawings: the first set is based on each woman describing herself; the second set is based on other women’s descriptions of them. The differences are staggering: The drawings based on others’ descriptions show beautiful women, while the drawings based on self-descriptions are ugly—almost deformed—with every so-called flaw grotesquely magnified.

This experiment illustrates (quite literally!) the extent to which many people suffer from poor self-image—an issue […] Continue Reading…