There are some days when we just don’t feel like ourselves. Or maybe we wake up one day and realize that years have gone by and we still haven’t discovered that spark within. Could it be that there are layers of marble covering our spark? Maybe it’s just tight muscles and stiff joints. Or maybe it thoughts weighing us down.
Before we beat ourselves up over how long our spark has been hidden, ponder the idea that there may be a very legitimate reason that your spark is covered in protective layers. A reason why it is hidden from the world. Ask yourself what the benefit is in keeping that bright light hidden - this becomes empowering information. Acknowledging the reason is an act of validation. You’ll find by simply saying hello to this reason the blocks begin to dissolve. Now you are in a place where there is greater receptivity to uncovering your spark.
No longer is it about the how and why. Now it becomes an adventure of self discovery.
On this adventure, you realize that the more you hide, the more invisible you become, even to yourself. That spark within you is locked away and the world is less because of it. One of my all time favorite quotes about this is from Martha Graham:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.
It will be lost. Forever. Growing up, I remember hearing my mom speak about the innate gifts we are given by God and how we do a major disservice to God and the world by hiding that talent or spark. Not only that, but we also lose those talents if we don’t use them. It’s the good old, use it or lose it.
What is this Spark?
This spark is our unique expression of the inspiration we can catch. We tune into the universe and translate these ideas for others. It’s what makes us who we are; our authentic voice. When we share our expressions, we feel at home in our own skin, we feel joyous, and we connect to the peace that passes all understanding. There is almost a feeling of flying or balancing because we’re “in the flow”. In sync with something bigger than ourselves. “Tuned in.”
There is a wonderful story of inspiration riding in on the waves of wind as a poet works in the field. The wind comes rushing towards her and she feels the words of a poem building. She runs as fast as she can to her home to capture this poem and write it down. If she doesn’t move fast enough, the poem will pass right through her and move on to someone else. Elizabeth Gilbert goes into great detail about this here:
This truth struck a chord with me. Are we like an antennae that can tune into inspiration all around? Can we become a clear channel for this beautiful expression? What happens when we are covered in layers of marble? How will we tune into our spark’s station?
We All Have a Spark
We can act as a mirror for one another. On those days when your spark has found a great hiding place, watch someone who inspires you. Simply by being in the presence of an enthusiastic and inspired person our spark has a moment of recognition. Our heart beats a little faster. We see their eyes sparkling and the passion they exude rubs off on us. Our own spark becomes a little brighter.
The spark is always there. We just put on layers and filters as if we were bundling up to protect ourselves against the elements. Like Michelangelo revealing David in the marble, we need to release and let go of those things that are not us.
Discover Your Spark
Here are some great ways to discover your spark through movement and thought.
My most favorite spark discovery method is through yoga. Yogis understood that our outer physical state of being can affect our inner state of thoughts and emotions. And vice versa, our inner state of thoughts and emotions can affect our outer physical state.
A simple sun salutation can give you a whole new outlook on life. It was a lifesaver for me as a college student doing temp work. I’d come home from a 20 mile, 90 minute commute. Yes, that’s right 90 minutes for 20 miles. I was a true grump! The first thing I did was go straight to my room and do 10 minutes of sun salutations. I felt the physical tightness begin to leave my body, my breath calmed my agitated mind, and the simple movement after a day of sitting brought me great peace.
To see the changes in yourself you can do a quick and fun experiment. Simply look at your eyes in the mirror before a yoga practice and then look again after the practice. You will notice a shift and sparkle there in your eyes. Your skin is glowing and not just from all the sweating! But because you were moving - opening pathways for the breath, for life, to move through you.
POWER OF THOUGHTS
“I LOVE ...game”
A fun spark discovery game is Sonia Choquette’s game of “I love…”. Sonia will get a group of friends together, gathered by the fire with their cups of tea or flutes of champagne and play this game. One person starts, “I love fuzzy slippers!” The next person joins in, “I love soft blankets!” And the next, “I love hot chocolate!” I love sparkling snow! I love seeing red cardinals in the snow! I love warm beaches and soft sand between my toes! I love the sounds of the seagulls! I love the wind through the trees! And on the game goes between you and your friends. Notice how you feel before and after you play this game. Is there a vibrancy and excitement when you finish playing?
“WOULDN’T IT BE NICE....game”
The other game I learned is from Mary A. Hall. The “wouldn’t it be nice…” game. The objective of this one is to get into the feeling state of your heart’s desire using imagination. For example, “wouldn’t it be nice to get a full night’s sleep.” Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up feeling refreshed. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel energized. Be aware of how you feel with each statement.
Imagine roots growing from the soles of your feet deep down into the earth’s center, anchoring you. Take a moment to recognize all the thoughts and emotions in your space that are not yours, nor are they serving your highest. Just like a bathtub, pull up an imaginary stopper from the drain, and allow all those thoughts and emotions to drain into the earth. The earth will recycle them into something of beauty. Take the time to send gratitude and blessings to the earth for her help. Then imagine the sun, warm and bright, shining down on you and filling all the spaces you’ve emptied with a beautiful golden light.
Listen to or make music! As Robin Williams says in the movie, August Rush, "You know what music is? God's little reminder that there's something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars." When the spark within me, sees the spark within you, we are one.
Feed Your Spark
How do you know your spark needs feeding? Check the eyes!
The eyes are the windows to our soul. If the spark is hidden, the eyes will have that empty and haunted quality. You’re not quite all there.
If we don’t feed the fire in our soul, it will reduce to embers. It is through consistent practice and feeding that we grow. Those amazing talents we see in life worked hard and consistently to get where they are. Michelangelo says it like this, "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." Sparks need to be tended if they’re to grow into great fires.
Connecting to the Sacred is vital. We need quiet time, even 5 minutes worth, to sit and tune in to inspiration. To be. To cultivate a relationship with our guidance.
Creating a “Medicine Bag” is a great way to feed your spark. I’ll go into more detail in my next blog about this. For now, imagine you have a go to list of things that help light up your heart. Here is one that always works for me:
66 (Old) Movie Dance Scenes Mashup (Mark Ronson-Uptown Funk ft.Bruno Mars)
Share Your Spark
You can be creative in your spark’s expression. It doesn’t have to fit into a neat package. Remember that timing has a large influence over how your spark reveals itself.
My mom’s path as a musician wasn’t what she had originally envisioned. She trained from childhood, attended Julliard, and put her heart and soul into music. This was her gift and she nurtured and tended to it diligently. She was sharing this gift with the world and inspiring others. Although, when she started her family her life path shifted and changed. Circumstances made it such that she could no longer share her gift as she had been. What to do? She knew if she didn’t continue to nurture this precious gift she would lose it. So instead of pursuing a career as a professional artist she channeled her gift into others. Building into tons of little musicians, teaching them, guiding them, and inspiring them. Her spark still found a way to come out and shine.
May your spark shine brightly for all the world to see!
“This above all: to thine own self be true.”
William Shakespeare, Polonius, Hamlet I.3