Being a light unto ourselves in cancer recovery

Yesterday was a really beautiful day, with a deep blue sky and warm sun shining down. The kind of sunshine that just warms your soul. And maybe I was feeling extra good because we had just gotten some good news on my nephew, who is going through a health situation. But as I was driving to the grocery and enjoying the beauty of the day, this George Harrison song came on, and it was like a scene out of a movie, when the soundtrack is just so perfectly on point. Here comes the sun, do do do, here comes the sun and I say, it’s all right…. It also happens to be one of my favorite songs to start out a yoga playlist!

Anyway, it got me thinking about just how much some simple warm sunlight can change my mood. Especially during the winter, when cold dark days can be a little bit of a downer. I’m fortunate now, to live in a place that is really pretty warm and sunny all year. But I grew up in Indiana, where the winters are dreary and cold, and I definitely had a case of seasonal affective disorder as a kid. And boy, during some of those stretches of darkness, the warmth of the sun could do so much to lift my spirits. Even still, in Puerto Vallarta, sometimes we have weather patterns that bring days of cloudiness and more chilly air, and we had a bit of one of these recently, which is maybe another reason the sun felt so good yesterday.

But one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t control the weather. Duh, right? Sometimes we are just going to have stretches of cold or darkness, and periods of difficulty or challenge, that make us long for the light to come back in. The same is true in life, of course. We are all going to have periods of relative darkness, no matter how much we resist them….and no matter how much we go on vacation 😉 So when those periods of darkness and difficulty come, we need to be able to light our own path. And the Buddha (or Krishnamurti depending on where u look) encouraged us to do so, saying “Be a light unto yourself”. This is one of the places where yoga and yoga philosophy can really help us, as we traverse these cold and dark periods in cancer treatment and recovery. We can learn to find our own light to warm and guide us through difficult times.

Yoga teaches us to turn inward, to connect with our bodies and our inner light. Yoga teaches us to find contentment and joy, despite external circumstances, to be less attached to whatever might be going on around us. Yoga trains us to remain peaceful and at ease, even in the midst of challenge (be it a long hold in boat pose or a life challenge off the mat). Yoga helps us find and strengthen that inner light, empowering us to find our own way out of the darkness. Of course it is awesome when a little sunshine joins in and gives us a boost. But just in case the sun in the sky is obscured today where you are, do what you can to find and fan that light of your own. Trust me. It is there and it is brilliant.


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