Holding the Light

There’s an Indian parable about blind men and an elephant. Each person touches the elephant in a different place coming away with a description of the elephant. A tail, an ear, a leg, a trunk, their descriptions all varied because of their limitation.

This parable demonstrates the power of belief because it’s so easy to believe what we see, feel or were taught when there is so much more.


When my children were toddlers, we lived next to a horse farm and down the street from a goldfish pond. A friend came over with her toddler for a playdate. I was excited to share with them the goldfish pond, as my children loved to feed the bright shiny, orange fish. We headed out the door while the little boy was saying “fishy fishy.” On our short walk, the neighbor’s horse was at the fence welcoming a visit. We stopped on our short walk and said look at the horse and the little toddler said, “fishy.” So begins a belief system.

As adults, we are good problem solvers. We didn’t just wake up one day and realize our problem-solving skills worked like a charm. It is a process we live through day by day, struggle by struggle, honing and refining, one step forward, three steps back—a process.

Life is challenging and messy. My life was challenging and messy. I was hopeless, depressed, suicidal at times, drug dependent, struggling to raise my kids, cope with my chronically-ill daughter, survive a divorce, recover from childhood abuse, my list goes on and on.

As humans we feel heartbreak. We feel confusion and doubt. We feel anger because life should be fair. We suffer with physical and mental illness and we feel helpless and hopeless when we have a loved one suffering from physical and mental illness.

We learn something through every experience, and that something often leads to wisdom for the next challenge.

We do the best we can with the heartbreak, loss, disappointment, confusion and injustice. We fight for rightness against the backdrop of a world full of pain and competition.

I was once told by a healer, after sharing my despair and hopelessness, they believe I will be okay. They acknowledge I’m doing the best I can and that I will get through my challenges. I will survive. My comeback was, “It’s easy to say, hard to do.”

I heard the words and didn’t believe them. I felt the intention and dismissed any comfort from it. Life moves so slow while living in despair. Every day a new struggle for solace and ease. I didn’t believe I was okay because I was in the middle of my life. I was the goldfish in the pond painfully searching for the water. I couldn’t see beyond my own circumstances.

We are innocent of blame when life goes wrong. I blamed myself for my daughter’s illness but I couldn’t find a plausible cause. Something I must have done but I wasn’t smart enough to find it. It must be my fault though. I was in an endless loop searching for the answer, when in reality anything I did could not have caused her physical illness. Even if I missed a clue. She came in with her own life journey.

I never forgot the healer’s belief in me. In time, it helped me cope.

When we share our heart with others we trust, when we take the time to be kind and listen, when our intentions are true in our actions and our beliefs, we are held by others because they see us. When we hide, we feel alone because we are hidden.

While I questioned and doubted, they held the light high and steady. While I felt hopeless and helpless, they believed I would find my way back. And I did. It’s an honor to hold the light steady. It’s an honor to speak wisdom from life’s lessons. It’s an honor to believe for you. It’s an honor to be with you.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Such a full session, so much to be grateful for from all of you.