Follow Your Star, Let Your Light Shine

(Read in :04)“Champion the right to be yourself; dare to be different and to set your own pattern, live your own life, and follow your own star.~Wilferd Peterson

So what exactly do we mean when we say “know your why?” One of the things this word nerd loves about our English language is the sheer number of ways we can say precisely what we mean. And yet we don’t always manage to do that. Instead, we express it in a bunch of different iterations. We might say “discover your passion” or “uncover your purpose” or “find your true north”. Be clear, however, the very fact that there are infinite ways to say it would suggest it’s definitely something worth pondering. Human beings have been ruminating on it since we first sat around a fire and stared at the coals.

Luceat Lux Vestra” is another expression, this one in Latin. It translates to “Let Your Light Shine.” You’ll find the words in Matthew 5:16. While researching the phrase, I discovered it’s also quite popular as a tattoo. However, from what I saw, it’s not always placed where it can be seen. Hmmmm. Interesting. It was the class motto at the parochial High School in Sydney, Australia where author Matthew Kelly graduated. The words have remained a powerful influence on his life to this day.

How can I recognize my why, my light, my star?

Kelly tells us that it takes time and patience to know ourselves well enough to notice it when it appears. It won’t show up too early or too late. It will arrive at the perfect moment in our personal journey, exactly when we’re ready. And, he assures us we don’t need to worry that we won’t recognize it because our purpose is looking for us, too. You can read more about following your star and finding the meaning in your life in his book The Rhythm of Life. My copy is highlighted, dog-eared, underlined and has comments in the margins. Yes, it’s that good.

Jeff Goins is another young author I really like. In his book The Art of Work, he suggests our why resides at the intersection of what we know, what we love and what the world needs. In his words, we find it by listening to our life for the times that make us feel alive.

Another way to search is to read the stories of other people’s lives and of the unexpected ways they discovered their passion and purpose. You’ll discover that you have to dare to be different in a world that celebrates uniformity. That in itself takes a willingness to be vulnerable. Even the hardships and suffering we experience can lead us to discovering our purpose. I love Robert Schuller’s encouragement to “turn our scars into stars” and Oprah Winfrey’s, too, telling us to “turn our wounds into wisdom.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Shine

Way back in 1992, Marianne Williamson suggested an interesting possibility in her book A Return to Love. Nelson Mandela is said to have incorporated some of her words into his inaugural address. I’ll paraphrase here but you can easily find the quote in its entirety with a quick Google search. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…..And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

The search, no matter where it takes you is worth it, my friend because once you find your why and begin aligning yourself with what matters most deeply to you, life becomes sweeter and lighter like nothing you could have imagined. You’ll find reminders of your most worthy values everywhere, like breadcrumbs sprinkled on your path leading you further along your way. Incredibly, the most amazing people will find their way into your life. Finally, and most important is the journey itself. Knowing your why is so much more about what you are becoming that what you acquire or achieve.

“Do not let your life be like a shooting star that lights up the sky for only a brief moment. Let your life be like the sun, which always burns brightly in the heavens, bringing light and warmth to all those on earth. Live the life you were born to live! Let your light shine!”~Matthew Kelly


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