Light in the Tunnel

August 22nd, 2011

I have whiplash from following news of the economy in recent weeks. One day I read an article titled, “The top 10 reasons the U.S. will not see a double dip recession”. On the same day I read another report titled,  “The top 10 reasons a double dip recession has already begun.” So which is it? Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is so sure they have the truth. In order to keep a little perspective in the madness, here are 10 lighthearted ways to know that we are in a recession.

10. For his birthday last week, President Obama asked for cash gifts….in Canadian dollars.

9. Angelina Jolie and Madonna have begun adopting American babies.

8. You now receive pre-declined credit cards in the mail.

7. Paris Hilton has changed her name to Paris Holiday Inn.

6. When you order your MacDonald’s burger, the server asks “Can you afford fries with that?”

5. When the ATM declines your transaction, you don’t know if it’s because you or the bank have insufficient funds.

4. You take your sales clients for a round of miniature golf.

3. A picture is now only worth a hundred words.

2. Wall Street has been renamed- Wal-Mart Street.

1. The light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off because we can’t afford the electric bills.

The economy is not a laughing matter of course, and many people are feeling its devastating effects. I don’t mean to minimize the difficulties in any way. However a little fun can release some of the tension and offer a little perspective. When you get up each morning, as you eat your Credit Crunch for breakfast and before you watch the so- called news, remind yourself that economic change is in itself a gift. Every economy, strong and weak, creates new, and unforeseen, opportunities. Many jobs today were not even imagined 20 years ago. A recession is an awesome time to get innovative, bolster your resilience and believe in the power of change.

There IS light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s NOT a train). It’s an LED bulb, which incidentally is one product that is selling well this year. This in itself is a sign of optimism. People are making a change to their energy habits after all the focus on sustainability in recent years. Change is happening like it always does and we seem to be finally catching on. Go with change because the light is calling you to make empowered choices and live with optimism. The darkness of the tunnel; your personal shadows, blind spots and forbidden thoughts, are punctuated by glimmers of light. Embrace the time in the tunnel, whether it’s a recession, an illness or a loss. The light is there in the tunnel, waiting for you to see it.

Optimism is the light at the beginning, middle and end of the tunnel. No matter how dark it feels, stay focused on the light which flickers with a reminder of your strength and brilliance. When you stare at light, you still see it when you look away. It’s the same when you focus on your inner light. It colors everything you see with optimism. With optimism, it’s ALL light and no tunnel, just open space and possibility. Follow the light of your intuition and you will arrive at new and exciting opportunities.

Where do you look for optimism? There is an ancient Sufi story about the trickster Nasrudin who loses his keys. His friends find him on his hands and knees under a street lamp. They ask him, “What have you lost?” “My keys”, he says. After a while, one of his friends asks him if he is sure this is where he lost them. He says, “No. I dropped them over in the next street but the light is so much better here.”

As the Zen proverb says, “If you can’t find it where you’re standing, where do you expect to wander in search of it?”

The shimmering new realizations arrive where you are because they ARE you in some new form.

Rumi wrote about light,

The lamps are different.
But the Light is the same.
So many garish lamps in the dying brain’s lamp shop, Forget about them.
Concentrate on essence, concentrate on Light.
In lucid bliss, calmly smoking off its own holy fire, The Light streams
toward you from all things, All people, all possible permutations of good,
evil, thought, passion.
The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.
One matter, one energy, one Light, one Light-mind, Endlessly emanating all things.
One turning and burning diamond,
One, one, one.
Ground yourself, strip yourself down,
To blind loving silence.
Stay there, until you see
You are gazing at the Light
With its own ageless eyes.

Trust the opportunity of change. If we learn nothing else from the ebb and flow of economies, let it be a reminder of the inevitability and opportunity of change. It’s those who adapt best to change who thrive on the waves of life. It is those who are able to stay present to the loving silence of the moment who find the treasures of change.

In recent weeks I have been writing about change that is forced on us by external circumstances- grief, job loss, divorce, physical pain etc. In these situations you can’t change the circumstance; you can only change your attitude towards them. I turn my attention now to a different sort of change, change that you help to create. These are the opportunities that present themselves for you to get active and get involved. They might be changes to your lifestyle or health, they might be changes to your consumption or energy efficiency, or they might be changes to the way society functions. Whichever it is, similar principles apply. The goal is to live and express beauty, truth, justice and love in your own life, and intend those same virtues for the entire planet. When you do this, you transform the world with light from the inside out.

In the coming days I will outline a three point plan for how to be an agent of conscious change, or in other words how to effect change in the healthiest way possible. It’s the AAA plan for change management that involves

1. Awareness,

2. Acceptance and

3. Action.

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  1. shereen says:

    fantastic article,, I will be waiting for the AAA plan. Thank you.

  2. [...] the difference between surrendering to what is and change is awareness. Awareness is the first A in the AAA plan to effective change [...]

  3. Karen says:

    love the Rumi quote as my light has become all complicated and hard to see – so with your inspiration and motivation I simplify and try not make more of what IS but accept that ONE is all I need – change is always, and I embrace it, but not all do. I accept that it might just take time or it might become my reality but not another’s – either way, I have to decide.
    thank you for your consistent messages of love

  4. ian says:

    Awesome Karen. Everyone has their own path through change. Walk yours with integrity and give others the space to do the same. Love and light.

  5. Karen says:

    Thanks you and I breathe a sigh of relief as I feel the light of love wash over me – I am

  6. [...] at that moment, I glanced down and saw my AAA card. It was my own aha moment. It reminded me of the AAA approach to change– Awareness, Acceptance and [...]

  7. Lenor says:

    …and our message to the rest of the world…”We’ll keep the light on for ya!”

  8. Nathaniel Hansen says:

    “Social psychology is more important than economics.” ~Peter Economides, FelixBNI
    “The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works.” ~Joseph Campbel, author and mythologist

  9. Cole Ruddick says:

    We’ve all heard the line that “things will get worse before they get better”. While I’m typically not one to make light of the seriousness of our world & economic situation, it really is important not to lose sight of life itself by getting so caught up in current events. We have to keep a sense of humor :)

    I really appreciate how you put a lighthearted spin on things, teaching serious principles in a fun way! Looking forward to the “AAA Plan”!
    All the best…
    ~Cole 

  10. ian says:

    Well said Cole- turn enlightenment around- its meant to be light. Lightness helps to reframe and refocus.

  11. Al Smith says:

    Love this Ian.  The list up top is hilarious.  My new mantra is:  Influence and Inspire Positive Change.

    It is possible.  Thanks.  Take CARE.

    Al

  12. Bob Pardue says:

    Hey Ian,
    Just what I’ve been saying for a long time but nobody listens. d:-)
    Love the top ten tips and hope people will wake up to what’s really going on in this country.
    Hope you have a Merry Christmas and I’ll do the same (if I can afford it)

  13. Devirose says:

    Thanks for this.    When things are hard, of course there is a very human part of me that wishes that it were otherwise.  But as we all know, wishing doesn’t make it so!  Turning inward and asking what the lesson may be in terms of  opening my heart to life, to love, has been my way through difficulty.  I think it is the Tibetan Buddhists who wake up every morning and pray for just the right amount of suffering that day to aid in their awakening….too much and we fall into despair, too little, and we become complacent.  From the open Heart, I find that the most fruitful action can be taken, while from the closed, suffering part of myself action is only a reaction to the pain.  This really is a daily practice!  Thanks again, this is very timely for me!

  14. […] you find a way no matter what obstacles you have to overcome? (the optimism test) Read more here about […]