Friday, December 11, 2009

Let Your Star Shine!

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? 
Actually, who are you not to be? 
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. 
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people 
won't feel insecure around you. 
We are all meant to shine, as children do.**

~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love


Believe it not, as a young girl, I loved doing homework.
I know, call me crazy, but there were payoffs:


~ I loved the feeling of getting something accomplished (still do)

~ I had an innate love of learning that was never quite satisfied (still have it)

~ I liked getting gold stars.

Do you remember getting those small foil gold stars on your papers in school? Gosh, how my heart danced with glee when there was at least one gold star at the top.

What would you give yourself a gold star for today? 


What did you do right? What are you proud of yourself for? 

As human beings we may focus more on what is going wrong in our lives than what is going right. As women, we often self-deprecate, self-criticize, and turn down compliments. We do not toot our own horn. Many of us were taught that doing so, in fact, was unladylike.

As we embody our truest selves more and more each day, it is good and wise to focus on our brilliance. Not from an ego standpoint, mind you, but as a stepping stone to embracing ourselves as the women we are meant to be. 

Giving ourselves gold stars is an important act of self-affirmation, self-acceptance. It says, 'Good job, lady, keep on keepin' on!

So, this is my challenge for you today.

What can you give yourself a gold star for?

And while you're at it, why stop at one? How about 2 or 3, or a whole paper full.

I'm eager to hear how you are shining!

I'll begin ... 



(**To read this poem, "Everyday Grace" in its entirety, visit M. Williamson's website: www.marianne.com)

22 comments:

Jan said...

I am proud of myself today because last night I worked through a very big emotional pattern: Expecting people to act in a certain way.

I'm realizing more and more that I have certain expectations of how people should behave. (No, I am not a Buddha yet!) Someone didn't respond the way I'd hoped so I got myself in a mini-tizzy. Until I realized what I was doing and kicked myself in the patootie ever-so-gently to say, 'Give it up, girl. Let him be him.'

Boy, did that feel good! So I'm high fiving myself on that one.

And I get a second gold star because I am not going to be a worker bee today (another pattern I am working on.) I am leaving my desk shortly to be with my granddaughter who is 8. I am picking her up from school and we are going to have tea at the Serenity Tea Room. Then we are coming home to play Christmas-Opoly.

So 2 ** for me! (I am sure there are more if I'd take the time to think about them, but, hey, tea time calls...)

rebecca said...

I'm giving myself a gold star for having changed my spending habits considerably within the past year. I am functioning on all cash nowadays and it's liberating.

I am also giving myself a gold star for having changed (once and for all) my eating habits (they weren't too bad to begin with but needed tweaking) bcuz of a condition that forced me to and, actually, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I am finally losing those extra 20 lbs. and feeling much better.

This was a terrific post. I had read Williamson's quote a few years ago and it stayed with me because it is very, very true. We are not afraid of our dark, we are truly afraid of what we might ever become.

Thank you and may love and peace surround you and your family during this blessed Season....

see you there! said...

I'm giving myself a gold star for getting to the post office today. All my holiday packages are in the mail. All my cards are in the mail. Usually I'm doing all this with only seconds to spare.

I'm mighty proud of me today!

Darla

Julie G said...

A gold star for me for holding my new kitten in the rocker and rocking in the sunshine today instead of cleaning the house. We were "shining" as we both fell asleep in the chair.

I feel like a gold star after the morning phone conversation I had today. Some people just know what to say to make me radiate from the inside out :-)

I love the quote by Marianne Williamson too. "There is nothing enlightened about shrinking...we are all meant to shine, as children do"
Great post Jan! Thank you for your presence here and in my heart!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jan .. a gold star for making my mother have a good belly laugh .. she has an aerdale fox terrier toy dog as her companion in her bed .. and Hardwick is extremely special! I asked Mum if she thought Hardwick should have a Santa Claus hat .. and yes - was the answer --- so off to search .. to my amazement I found one .. and now Hardwick looks resplendent in his hat .. a bit hangdog, with it covering his ears and half way over his eyes .. if I didn't know him I'd say he'd been drinking .. but actually that's fine - he also has a red bib, bound in gold, and with the words "I believe in Santa Claus" on its front .. and that is spectacular .. the staff thought he was brilliant, as did my mother and she'll laugh every day now .. great!!

Happy times .. love to all for enjoying their families and collapsing with laughter ...
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Jan said...

Rebecca,
Hooray for you. Two GIANT gold stars for you because these are very big issues to work with. Money and eating. I commend you for your courage and persistence.

I, too, read this passage (and the book that it is from) many years ago and it opened my eyes in marvelous ways. For one, it helped me to stop apologizing to others for my success, or my health appearance, or my intellect. It felt to me at the time like a woman was not supposed to have all those blessings at once, so I would hide my light under a bushel. Many of us do this.

Thank you for the blessings. May these days be glory-us ones for you as well!

Darla,
A stellar achievement, especially if your usual pattern is to put things off. It does feel very good to be ahead of the game, doesn't it? Now, perhaps, you can sit back and savor the season? Blessings!

Jan said...

Julie,
Your time in the rocker sounds so lovely, for the kitten AND you. (I didnt know you had a new wee one in your house!) Time spent with soulful anamcara friends is always the best, isn't it. Glad you liked the Williamson quote. I think you would love her books, the one mentioned here and also "A Woman's Worth." Marvelous...

Hilary,
I can just see the dear pooch now in all his glory causing plenty of glee for Mom and others. How kind of you to take the time to find what she needed to give her a seasonal lift. You have such a generous heart! I think I would like to give you a whole row of gold stars! xo

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Gold stars! What a great, life-affirming idea, Jan! I have that same strip of stars in my file drawer right now.

I've always loved that quote. "Your playing small does not serve the world." I was always taught to be humble and not toot my own horn, but I've learned to embrace the gifts I've been given and to feel comfortable with sharing them. We should all acknowledge what we are good at, I feel.

I give myself gold stars for feeling "strong like bull" after yoga class this morning and for being creative in this year's gift giving on a very tight budget (unemployed 8.5 months now). I've ordered the last of the supplies I need to make some gifts, I'm re-gifting and re-purposing some items that I know others will enjoy, I've bought on discount, and I've used an Amazon birthday gift card to buy the remainder. I'm so happy with the gifts I'm giving! Have to do some creating next week, which will be fun!

Sharon said...

Thank you for sharing this quote, Jan. It's one of my favorites, too, and is at the heart of the gold star I would give myself. I am peeling away the fear I have around taking the risk to do what I really want to do. Two years ago I heard myself say that I was more afraid of success than I was of failure. In the time since this particular quote has come to mind as I have questioned myself about what I gain by staying small and not stepping into the world to shine. Gently, and ever so slowly, I have worked some things through. My gold star is to recognize the changes I've made and encourage myself to keep going.

Jan said...

Rose,
Love your words here: learning to embrace the gifts you have been given, then using them in the world. So true! And I celebrate that you are doing that. That is exactly the meaning I hoped someone might take from this post! You get a gold star!

And more for all the creative ways you pulled Christmas gifting together this year. Believe me, I have done what you just described for so many years when I was single parenting and had very little money. It was quite gratifying to pull upon what few resources I did have and come up with a sense of plenty. Good for you and enjoy your gifting. xo

Sharon,
My heart is just so happy after readying your comment. What a journey this has been for you and I am so glad you are not playing small anymore. To uncover that big pattern is profound. Your light is definitely shining through. I think you deserve a whole strip of gold stars!

Rose - The Center of My Self said...

Thank you for your kind words, Jan. You're so right about it being gratifying to find abundance where before I might have found lack. A true gift this has been for me.

I meant to comment on your gold star moment: Expecting people to act in a certain way. That's something I've had to really work on, too. Constantly reminding myself to stay on my own mat and allow others their own journeys. Gold stars for you! I hope you had a wonderful time at the tea and playing Christmas-Opoly.

Cheryl Wright said...

As I've gotten old, I have developed a dogged determination to finish whatever I start.

I'd give myself a gold star for pushing forward with whatever task or project is at hand although the pull to give up is just as strong on the desire to accomplish the goal.

Jan said...

Cheryl,
It DOES feel good to get something accomplished—signed, sealed and delivered—doesn't it? Especially when so many tasks pull at us or our To-Do List is interminably long. Here's a whole strip of gold stars for you for meeting your deadlines and staying true to your commitments!

Jannie Funster said...

Gold star for me today for finishing the copy for your post tomorrow.

For completing my 3-mile walk/run.

And for all the great stuff I've yet to accomplish today, which I'm sure will be scads and scads of wonderful things!

Carolynn said...

Oh goodie! I get a Gold Star because I sent a love letter to a girlfriend this morning who's going through a marital crisis to help buoy her up & let her know she's not alone.

I get a second Gold Star because I didn't allow myself to fall into a familiar pattern of resentment with a colleague who treated me poorly when I got in to work. I chose to breath and just let it go instead. I feels so much better to be happy & forgive, instead of stewing in my juices all day.

Laura Hegfield said...

I had an aha moment this morning at 6am...I was feeling sad, mourning the fact that my parents will be going back to Florida in 3 days...but/and...I caught myself doing this "mourning in advance thing" and realized it...turned it into "gratitude for right now, they are upstairs sleeping and today we will hang out and how wonderful is that!"

So I am learning to notice when I am falling into the future and choosing to steady myself in the present...ok granted I did move from sleeping NOW to Today we will hang out (slightly in the future)....but the main thing is I noticed and turned from WAY into the future (3 days from now) To I feel grateful in THIS MOMENT...that's pretty present.

GOLD STAR for ME!
xoxo
Laura

Jan said...

Jannie,
Yep, gold stars for you! The post is ready to go. But that run? 3 miles?! How DO you do it? I'm afraid that I tried running at various times in my life and did not love it, not even liked it, so I give you a big salute for staying faithful to it. Go girl!

Carolynn,
Hooray, two gold stars! How lovely that you supported your friend in this way. It's so great when we can do that for each other, especially in a handwritten form. As you know, I adore letter writing.

And the other is big, really big. To not fall into the same old patterns is a huge spiritual leap. Congrats to you for making this jump! A giant gold star for this one. :-)

Laura,
Big gold star moment, indeed! To shift our awareness is seemingly such a simple thing, but it isn't. Patterning runs deep, and for you to notice that and make a new choice is wonderful. I hope you have a glorious last day with your parents. Enjoy!!!

mermaid said...

I give myself a gold star for joining the Menlo Park Chorus. I've always loved singing, but was too scared and afraid my voice was weak, not good enough. I don't know how I will swing the Tuesday night practices with work and N, but I know I need to try.

I'm also supposed to lead the singing of Christmas carols at N's preschool Christmas play this Friday. I'm terrified, but will try my best.

cordieb said...

I am giving myself a gold star for having published my first book before my 46th birthday, december 25th.

I am giving myself a second gold star for having found this blog, in serindipity, and your other web presense, "awake is good" - as my mind must have given my hands and eyes divine guidance in finding such such a delightful presense on the web!

Blessings to you and yours, C.

Jan said...

Oh, Mermaid, dear heart, who knew you loved to sing? I am so glad you are honoring this talent of yours. 2 big gold stars for you! I am sure that the kids will just shine under your direction.

Cordie,
Welcome! Such kind thoughts. Glad you found me, too. (I will backtrack to your site shortly.) And congratulations on your new book! Marvelous. I know first hand how big that it so celebrate yourself, definitely! Plenty of gold stars showering down...

Cheryl Wright said...

Jan,

Thanks a heap for that strip of gold stars.

Nina P. said...

Oh I do love this quote. I too get down on myself for "not measuring up" but then I think... to what? And I focus on how I can and do shine. It is Truly Right to Do so!! We are Spiritual Beings and the Light inside each of us Is meant to Shine! Thank you for reminding me of that.
I give myself stars for getting up early and catching up with my blog friends; sending out a letter that's been waiting to be sent, and for just blowing on the ember's of Light inside so they can Shine today!
Thank you Jan for lifting me up today and reminding me it's OK to Shine and Shine Bright! Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P