I call it your Daily Dose of Shine, and it's not in the attention-grabbing images, blurbs or rants you post on Facebook.

It's not the day your hair stayed put, or the moment someone congratulated you on your well-deserved promotion, or when your kid decided to grace you with a compliment - even the hard-earned "I like the way you boiled the hot dogs Mom!"

Real Shine is the essential stuff of you, that sacred and rare elixir that resides at your core and animates every cell of your being. It's not your unique fingerprint, but the force that makes your fingerprint unique. It's the light and the energy and the creativity at the very beginning of you.

 

Why Shine Matters

There are many reasons your Shine matters. But we'll consider a few.

  1. Your Shine matters because it can be a tremendous source of vibrancy for you when you align with it. Think fountain of youth, that endless source of energy, enthusiasm and regeneration. Your Shine is your well-spring.

  2. Your Shine affirms who you really are, not in some other-dependent congratulatory way, but in a seeing-yourself-in-the-mirror kind of way, and seeing not just anything, but seeing the bright light of your essential nature. Catching a glimpse of this is always profoundly validating, simultaneously soothing and stimulating.

And that's two that directly benefits you. Now on to the rest of us.

  1. Your Shine matters to others because it affects both what you do and how you do. Aligning with your most energized, authentic self has a way of instilling confidence and contentment. Moving from this place of security vs. the graspy-feel-of-scarcity we see everywhere these days often moves people in the direction of generosity and openness. And you all know what the world needs now...

  2. Shine exists in us all, and when you live yours, and she lives hers, novel ways of approaching the challenges and pleasures of the day multiply. Our innovation is maximized and with it the likelihood that our future will unfold safely, even brightly,  and with all of us in tow.

That's two for us all.

 

The Difficulty of Shining

Tapping into your Shine is not an automatic thing. In fact it's just the opposite. It's a radical thing. 

We've been taught, in so many ways and from so many directions, that the correct and noble action is to hide our light and go along for the good of others. Because of this other-focused narrative, many of us have lost a fundamental and intimate relationship with our Shine. The act of getting in touch with our essential selves has been re-purposed as some lost and esoteric art. We've fundamentally lost the ability to listen deeply to our own truth.

Even more subversive, we've been conditioned to appraise our value in "alienated" terms, meaning we've been taught to measure our worth by standards and within parameters that may suit others, but don't always relate to who we are and what we need.

From these perspectives we will always fall short. When we value ourselves by "foreign" standards" we are made strangers in our own land.

 

Why Shine Daily

Tapping into your Shine and living from its light is not only radical, it's restorative. Connecting with your Shine on a daily basis can bring you back to life, the life you were born to live.

  • Connecting to your Shine is validating: You get a daily reminder that you're unique and worthy. Reconnecting with your Shine both affirms and strengthens this idea.

  • Connecting with your Shine is vitalizing; it's tapping into a personal source of endless energy that's always available to you.

  • Connecting with your Shine is orienting; when you touch base with who you are, what's important naturally follows. 

  • Connecting with your Shine is calming; getting a dose of your inherent value and purpose has a tendency to quiet the external noise and put things in perspective.

  • Connecting with your Shine is centering; when you act from who you are you place yourself at the center, the position of authority. This is the surest place from which to take action. 

 

But the most important value of Shining daily is this. You will slowly but persistently begin to awaken the dormant connection to your vital self.

Through finding and exercising what's weak, but always there, you will discover something. You will uncover the thread of your vitality, your authority and your truth.

In other words, you will find your way home.

 

Building a Life with Shine

Everyone I know wants the keys to success; to be where they want to be with relationship, career, financial security and health.

And while there may be many keys to accomplish those goals, there is a master that will throw the bolt on all the locks, simultaneously. That master key is living from your Shine, from the unique brilliance at the core of you.

Big claims I know, so let's dig in.

Most of you have, at least once, had the experience of living from your Shine. It's the moment when you were "on," on your game, in the flow and moving from your innate knowing. You felt the sureness and you saw the rewards.

After a Shine moment you likely felt energized, connected, deeply satisfied and well, and your actions were spot-on, transcendent even. 

These descriptors capture some of the afterglow of moving from Shine, and if you think back, you've likely experienced it.

Given that Shine feels so good and creates such impeccable results, it really is curious that we don't choose to live from it's aliveness more regularly.

 

Elusive Shine

In working with folks interested in tapping their Shine, I've found one persistent and significant barrier. Shine can be difficult to distinguish from the room full of circus mirrors that continuously surrounds us.

The shiny bling-bling is everywhere.

Who doesn't want the adulation of their peers, the glitz and glamour, the power and control? And not because someone told us we should want them, but because we just do. We all like the shiny, however we construe it for ourselves.

No judgement over shiny really, but there is a problem. Shiny can blind us to our real Shine.

 

Shiny vs. Shine - how to tell?

And it only gets more challenging from there, because those living their Shine often become shiny, meaning they attract the mundane trappings of success. Shining brightly can also mean sparkling brightly, despite the sparkle being a by-product vs the thing pursued.

If we throw in the house of mirrors, our obsession with multiplying and magnifying all things bright, you have a blinding glare reflecting off every possible surface. Who can think, or perceive well in such a visually overloaded environment?

 

The Path to Shine

Instead of trying to discern and follow the right bright light, you can take another route entirely. One that actually works. You can shift the direction of your gaze from an outward one to one trained inward. 

Shine can only be discovered with an internal focus.

 

Looking Inward

Now most of us associate looking inward with meditation, with stopping external engagement and being with our internal experience. And when we look inward, most of us experience one of the following:

  • nothing
  • mind chatter
  • discomfort
  • boredom

It's hard to imagine Shine emerging from such a ground.

And actually the pursuit of Shine does requires a little something different than the usual inward gaze. It does require an inward focus, but it also requires motion and feel.

 

The Motion and Feel of Shine

Shine is animating, is alive, and thus itself is discovered through motion and feel. To know Shine you have to be tuned to its essential nature.

Shine is discovered through movement and resulting experience, through action and the feel of what comes from that action, from tuning into your internal response. 

You take an action and you observe your internal experience. Did that action make you feel more alive, more grounded, sure, satisfied, elevated, energized? Or did it make you feel the opposite? 

The true story of whether an action aligns with your Shine is told by the way it makes you feel.

 

Questions, Actions and Responses

As you can see, discovering your Shine has a lot to do with posing questions, taking actions and reflecting on the internal responses you get. Shine is discovered by tracking your internal landscape and whether your actions activate your aliveness, or not.

Your vitality is where your Shine lives. Learning to find your way to your aliveness will put you directly in the heat of your Shine.

 

Shining Internally, Shining Externally

Concrete actions happen in the external world. And because Shine is discovered through action, Shine has an external face as well as an internal one.

As you track and follow your Shine by reflecting on the internal experience of your actions, your external actions over time begin to align more and more with your Shine.

Tracking your Shine internally is then how you build your Shine externally, how your external life comes to reflect and embody and be elevated by your Shine.

 

Sustaining Desire - Part 1

Desire exists behind all that drives us to do, and do well. As we know, desire is essential to our success. 

So today we have the first of two posts on getting to the root of our desires, and what specific abilities we should be cultivating to keep them fueled.

Today we also uncover two essential questions related to the care and feeding of desire.

 

Now, on to Part One of What it Takes to Sustain Desire

 

Most likely you respect the fiery nature of desire and how it gets you to both do and achieve. But desire, like any fire, dies without adequate feeding.

 

Our desire, as fire, lives on ember and air; the ember being who we are and what matters to us most deeply, and the air being our inspirations. 

 

I said it all in one sentence, but these are weighty concepts, so let's go back and break it down.

To keep our desires charged, they must be in contact with a hot bed of embers, those embers being the accurate knowing of who we and thus what really matters to us.

And when I say know who we are and what matters to us, I'm not talking about a superficial, copy-cat cultural expectation kind of knowing. The kind of knowing that says "of course I want to get into the best school, or make a zillion by the time I'm 19, or achieve the model relationship, etc."

 

I'm talking about the knowing that emerges from an intimacy with the self, and results in highly specific, often unexpected and sometimes very simple truths about who we are and what we want, truths that just feel right. 

 

When our desires emerge from this kind of knowing, they blaze with a sustained force because they are fueled by the truth of our existence and thus purpose.

 

Question #1: How do we create the kind of intimacy with ourselves that feeds desire?

 

And as everyone knows who's knelt around a fire, huffing and puffing your last breath to coax it into being, fire takes air, lots of it. And the air of desire is inspiration. It keeps our desires going.

Inspiration is easy. It can come with exposure to things and ideas, situations and moments.

The fact that inspiration is everywhere at all times, and we're not everywhere and at all times inspired speaks to a critical and often missing factor in the inspiration equation.

 

Questions #2 What is the missing factor, and how do we incorporate it to keep a steady stream of inspiration fanning our desires?

 

These are the questions and the important actions we'll be exploring in our next post, part 2 of Sustaining Desire.

 

Sustaining Desire - Part 2

What keeps your desires alive so the passionate life you so long to live can be known and sustained?

Last post we looked at two critical factors needed to achieve a sustainable desire: doing what truly matters to you, and keeping on being inspired in that doing.

 

But how do you really know what matters to you, and how do you find the inspiration required to keep it all going?

 

Put more deeply and perhaps more directly, how do you create intimacy with yourself so you can perceive what matters to you, and how do you create intimacy with what’s outside yourself to receive needed inspiration?

The answer to these questions can come from many directions, but as I like to keep things simple and actionable, I’m going to focus on just one attitude you can nurture that will increase intimacy in both directions.

And that attitude is hopeful anticipation.

Think about when you’re expecting a call from someone with the potential for great news. Don’t you check your phone more often than usual, think about getting a call more often than usual, and perhaps even keep your phone closer than usual so you can hear it ring more easily?

 

You are tuned in to the possibility of good news, and this creates a focused attention on the carrier of that news.

 

Now, if you were tuned in to yourself with similar hopeful anticipation for news of what mattered to you, or outwardly, to receiving inspiring impressions, your senses would become more alert.

You might scan your body or emotions more frequently for information about what made you happy or otherwise, or the environment for what moved you or brought you joy.

You would be training your attention on the carriers of the information you sought, and would be exponentially more aware of the information when it arrived.

 

Caring, paying attention, receiving, responding are all actions related to intimacy, whether trained on yourself or on things external to yourself. This attitude will best position you to hear what’s coming your way, and puts you in the best position to take advantage of it.

 

You want to know what truly matters to you? Listen. Pay attention to what your body and emotions are saying. You want to be inspired? Stay open to the flow of impressions that surrounds you, and allow yourself to be moved by them.

 

The life of passion, of desires expressed, is first a life of desires known. A life of passion sustained is a life where passion is fed and inspiration nurtured.

 

Listening inside, listening outside, allowing the vulnerability of hopeful anticipation and the intimacy it generates. These are sure paths to the sustained passion and desire so many of us long to experience in life, and really can.