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Light over darkness

We have so many global festivals around light, Candlemas, Christmas, Eid al Adha, Eid al Fitr, Hanukkah, Saint Lucy’s day, Diwali, Bandhi Chor Divas, Karthika Deepam, Katik Purnima, Lantern Festival and others, why do we celebrate with light? What draws us to lights, we also get drawn to things like fireworks, stars in the sky, Northern lights.

According to research, exposure to natural light enhances our mood and cognitive function. Light also has a profound effect on our brains, influencing our mood, emotions, sleeping patterns, and mental health.

We get drawn to things like candles and fireworks because it has a positive effect on our spirit and mood, we feel a sense of calm and peace. Our brain releases hormones such as serotonin and dopamine,

Light gives us hope from the darkness,

When we think about darkness, it can be the winter months where the dark mornings and darker nights make us feel low and empty, darkness can be seen as challenges and struggles with life, the struggles can impact our physical and mental wellbeing. Everyone has a story to tell, from the people trying to make ends meet to the people that have everything financially, but struggle with a purpose.

We all want to feel better in ourselves, we don’t want to feel low and empty, we turn to the light in the festivals that we celebrate, turning to Gods, Goddess, Nature, Harvest, Mother Earth for hope to help us heal, to lift us up, to help us move forward.

Fire is mesmerizing,

From building fires for survival to lighting candles and lanterns for comfort, our ancestors had to master working with fire for survival, that may have been to keep warm, cook food, scare of predators, unlike our ancestors we don’t use fire as a means of survival, but the warm candles and the lighting of lanterns gives us a sense of comfort. Research has indicated that looking at fire, candles and light can increase activity in the part of the brain that is involved in our cognitive control.

The festival of lights for me

Diwali and Bandi Chor Divas for me carry a strong message of trying to fight for freedom, oppression, courage, liberation, and sacrifice. I love celebrating and cooking, making different foods, adorning my home with decorations and rangoli patterns, I love my children’s smiles as they exchange sweets and talk about what they are going to wear, the festival of lights gives me a sense of hope, it allows me to connect with a higher power, with family and friends. This year as I lit my candles and prayed, I was able to get comfort in the stillness connecting with the higher power. I prayed for good health, I prayed for my family and friends, I prayed for the people in Palestine and for their healing, I prayed for Mother Earth that is bearing the bloodshed of young children and adults. A lot of my clients as well as myself have struggled with trying to understand the atrocities happening in Palestine, questioning the silence of world leaders, and as a therapist as I hold spaces for my clients to talk about how they are feeling and encourage them that even the smallest deed such as giving support to one another is a way of not feeling helpless, it gives me hope that we will come out of these difficult times.

If you are struggling, please reach out for support that may be in your support circles, that might be in your community or through therapy.