It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
One day I realized that I was not happy. A feeling I felt inside that hurt me to the depths of my soul. It was at my workplace the Coffee Bean that I came to this realization. I took a step back and actually looked at my life. Questions started to form in my mind. How many times have I put on these clothes? Walked in these shoes? Put on this act? Wore this burden of sadness? I started to question everything that surrounded me. Where am I? Why am I here? Am I happy? Does my life have purpose? Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? Who am I? As these questions started to flood into my mind I remembered suddenly a passage I once read written by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. [Thesis] It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. [Thesis] We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
As I recalled this passage I meditated on its meaning. Am I afraid to shine my light? Do I let my light shine? These questions compelled me to find a path to happiness. No longer would I place my happiness second. It was to become my first priority. I came to the conclusion that it was my “job” that was the cause of my unhappiness.
I looked back to the days when work didn’t feel like work. Back to when the days of work were fun and enjoyable. I thought long and hard and realized it was the day our manager Kalen left us that I found work was never the same. We were given a new manager in her absence. His name was Scott. Scott was a completely different person from Kalen. He was a person who wouldn’t treat others how he wanted to be treated. He had almost no respect for his employees and management position. To compare Kalen and Scott is to compare night and day.
Over time I noticed a difference in myself as I started to work with Scott. There was no more laughter. No more memorable moments. Only silence. I began to wonder if I still knew how to smile. If I still knew how to laugh. Or what laughter once was. How to not take life so seriously everyday and live in the moment. Ultimately I lost touch with myself. With who I was as a person before these unforeseen changes came about. I was not fun anymore. Slowly but surely this feeling began to spread throughout the store. Touching each person and creating change in them as well.
With these uncomfortable feelings being felt throughout the store it was only a matter of time before we all broke free from it. One by one each of my dear friends and co-workers quit the Coffee Bean. Fed up with all the mistreatment and disrespect felt every week. I stood by and watched as our entire team not only disappeared but fell apart. Some wrote letters of disgust to Scott, others reported him to the CEO of the company and a few didn’t bother to show up at all. One after the other compelled to break free and pursue happiness. To let their light shine in the world and in turn inspire others to let theirs shine too.
I gave every one of my dear friends that I could a lei on their last day of work. This was a symbol of my love and appreciation for them. But also inside it was as if I was celebrating for them. Thanking them for breaking free and pursuing their own happiness in life. Although it hurt me deep inside to let them go, I knew the moment they left, the burdens in which they felt would be left behind.
I decided it was my turn to break free. No longer was I going to stand by and watch as others do right by themselves and settle for all the negativity that surrounded me. It was my turn to go and leave it all behind. Search for something else that is fulfilling and brings a sense of purpose into my life.
I started to search high and low but could find no jobs. I applied, interviewed and followed up on everything I found. Still I was left with nothing. Days turned into months. Months turned into a Year. But I didn’t give up. I knew there was something out there that would save me.
Finally after a year and a half I was saved. I was named Coffee Bean’s employee of the quarter and got the opportunity to go to a special luncheon with all other Coffee Bean stores. It was at this luncheon that I was reunited with my old manager Kalen.
I poured out everything in which I endured throughout the past year and a half. All the blood, sweat and tears I shed to make it through each day. She heard me out and immediately offered me a position at her store in Manoa Valley. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind at all. To still be a part of the company just transfer to a different branch. Genius! I got right to work and set up a meeting to start my journey to Manoa.
The week following the company luncheon I sat down with Scott and started to discuss my transfer request. Hearing of my plans to transfer made Scott very upset. I could tell he wanted to hold on to me as long as he could. In the weeks after our meeting he started doing things behind my back to keep me from breaking free from his store. He started deleting e-mails that would come in regarding my transfer. If I mentioned anything he would completely change the subject of conversation. He also would avoid giving me a final day of work at his store. location.
Enduring all these actions I decided to take matters into my own hands. I called our district manager and told her everything that I had been going through. She was in shock of what I had gone through and took immediate action. She had apologized for the problems in which I had been facing and confirmed that I would be transferring immediately. At the end of the week I would be in my new home Manoa Valley.
At the end of the week I was set free. On my last day leaving the store behind I left the person I didn’t recognize behind. The version of myself who wouldn’t smile. Who wouldn’t laugh. Who over time forgot what either of those words meant. A person who suffered inside and settled with mistreatment and disrespect. Whose light almost went out.
I now am a proud member of the Coffee Bean store in Manoa. Since my transfer it has been nothing but amazing. No mistreatment or disrespect from anyone. Everyone treats me how they would want to be treated. It’s a real family atmosphere there. I smile and laugh more than I ever did during my year and a half with Scott.
Slowly but surely I feel my light growing brighter. I find myself laughing, singing and enjoying myself every minute. I see myself again for who I am not what I didn’t want to be. Putting my happiness first and letting everything else fall into place.
Over the past year I have let my light almost go out. But through positivity and self persistence to pursue happiness I have risen above what forces tried to put my light out. This has been a big life lesson for me. It has helped me become stronger in mind and spirit. It’s amazing how an experience you go through can create who you are and teach lessons that will help you thoughout your life. After all that I had endured, when I was finally free of my unhappiness, I thought back to the passage written by Marianne Williamson. I remembered how it had come to mind when I I questioned everything in my life. I decided to write her words as if they were my own to complete my journey and to heal my heart, mind and soul.
My deepest fear was that I was inadequate and not powerful beyond measure. I’ve discovered that [Thesis] It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. [Thesis] I used to ask myself, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? But through this experience and enlightenment I’ve changed that question to: who am I “not” to be? I discovered that my playing small does not serve the world. I’ve learned to let my light shine and that this light I shine is not just in me, but in everyone. As we let our own light shine in life, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” And so it is…</