The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: “Be the Light”

Lately my spiritual journey has involved a lot of “Why am I here?”-ness.

Not the classic question of “Why am I here?” like, on the planet, though. Mine has been the other classic question of “Why am I here, ‘stuck’ in this place in life when I feel like I have a higher purpose and no matter how much action I take to try and fulfill that purpose NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING, AND SO WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE?

And then last week two of my awesome #SpiritJunkie friends and I had the honor of meeting the wonderful author/spiritual teacher/sassy guru Gabrielle Bernstein, whose new book Miracles Now is (a) like a big ol’ cup of chai tea for your soul, and (b) available here.

The energy in the theater during Gabby’s lecture was, in and of itself, a miracle. It was loving and open and just good and yes, I’m being sappy and trite right now because I can.

When the topic of feeling stuck in one’s current place in life came up, Gabby’s advice changed the game for me. She simply said, “Your job is not to be a [fill in the blank with your professional title]. Your job is to be the light.”

Be. The. Light.


Girlfriend is walking the walk.

I didn’t realize it until that moment, but this has been my mission statement in my writing (where I ultimately feel a higher calling) since day one. Whether it’s by sharing a funny story, opening up about something that really sucked for me, or simply making a weird/corny pun – the goal is always to inspire/heal/entertain/make someone’s day a little less shitty. In other words, the goal is to be the light.

While Gabby spoke, I realized that I’ve been saving so much of my light for some future moment that involves the title of “Published Author” that I’ve been missing out on opportunities to be the light in the present moment of my day-to-day professional life – because at some point I had declared the corporate/media world I work in to be totally void of meaning (which it kind of is, but that’s a whole other Oprah) and therefore decided that I didn’t need to show up with my best self every day.

But the problem there is that by sitting around thinking, Ugh. I’m destined for something greater than this, I was doing a few sabotage-y things to myself and those around me:

  1. Getting lost in anxiety over the future rather than cultivating gratitude for the present moment.
  2. Focusing on where I’m not rather than accepting where I am.
  3. Forgetting that every second is an opportunity to spread love.

In fewer words, I was basically an asshole.

I’ve learned that being discontented with the present moment is a sure sign that the ego is in control. Rather than setting aside personal concerns and doing whatever you can to enhance the lives of those around you (in other words, creating ripples of good energy, in other words, being the light), you’re focused on your own self-importance (in other words, creating ripples of crappy energy, in other words, being the darkness… and not the good kind).

So. I’ve been putting this whole “be the light” thing into practice since I heard Gabby speak, and I have to say that the change in my energy since has indeed been a miracle. Yes, I’m still working toward my long-term writing goals, but I’m also not tripping over the future anymore.

Instead I’m doing whatever I can to be a source of love and positivity for those around me right now. If that means addressing a work situation that I find to be ultimately purposeless in the grand scheme of life, I do it anyway purely because (a) it’s my job, and (b) not doing it would really make someone else’s day shittier – and do I want to be involved with making someone else’s day shitty? No. That’s not very light-y.

(Side note: I feel like normal people probably just stop at (a), which is a valid enough reason to do one’s job, really, but I’m obviously not normal. And if you’re reading my blog, chances are you aren’t, either. Which is a fantastically wonderful thing.)



Gab + Nic = #Light.



  1. “make someone’s day a little less shitty” – amen.

  2. Good work dude, I like it.

  3. Oh now that’s just awesome! I had chills reading this post and (a) I’m very proud of you for putting it in practice and (b) Even more proud of you for sharing it for the rest of us and shining your light!

    • Thank you so much, love! It’s not always easy but I SURE am glad I put it out there in the blogosphere now to hold myself that much more accountable!! 😉

  4. Checking out that book right now 🙂 Awesome post

  5. You are me. I am you. We are the same. Great post 🙂 Let’s spread the love, corny puns, and amazingness that seeps from our brains.

  6. Love this! I also need to work on not being an asshole to my self via #s 1-3. It’s a process. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Sidenote, being the light kinda reminds me of that episode of Friends where the girls were reading the Be Your Own Windkeeper book. I always wanted it to be a real book so I could read it, but obvi it’s not, so I might have to read this book instead. If that made sense.

    • OMG I’m so with you!!! To this day, if a girlfriend of mine is in an unhealthy relationship with a dude, my go-to line is “HE’S STEALING YOUR WIND!” Hahaha. Thank you so much for bringing that reference up; I too wish Be Your Own Windkeeper was a real book!

  7. Thanks for the reminder. ❤ you.

  8. CHEERS to no longer being an asshole 😀

    I’m glad you’ve found the true light. Now hopefully that light will illuminate the future …

    Oh wait, did I just misinterpret that whole post?

  9. Awesome post, very inspiring. I’ll check out her book as well

  10. If everyone made an effort each day to make other people’s lives less shitty, think of how much better the world would be? Because I’m an optimist, I’m pulling all of my shares in Nice n’ Soft right now…

    All kidding aside, what you said about living more in the moment rather than in anxiety of the future is so very true. Great stuff, Nic. By the way, I found you through our mutual friend, Ross. Glad I did.

    • Nice n’ Soft is always the answer. Thanks so much for stopping by, Ned – I’m glad Ross connected us as well, I’m loving your stuff! See you on tour! (…Wow, that was way too fun to type and made me wish there was an actual tour–book, maybe?–to speak of.) (…Judging from that last parenthetical, I might need to re-read this entire post again.)

  11. Ok. Brace yourself. I am going to say two serious things before I become my normal commenty self.
    1: Even though this, your blog, is not your profession and it’s not what is being addressed in the post – and I am being sincere here, so you must take this seriously – your posts are quite often my lights. If that makes sense. I look so forward to the moments when I have time to sit and read what you’ve written because I know it’s going to evoke a positive response in me, whether it’s just laughter or that same feeling I get when I feel like I need to torment my siblings a little bit. What I’m saying is that you already know how to be the light so it should be an easy transition from here to there, right? SO MUCH LIGHT!
    2: I’m having a similar problem at work – the whole “WTF am I DOING here?” though I’m seeking help via different avenues and have been assigned to read the book Change Anything
    So far, it’s a little cheesy but I can see how I can make it work for me if I ignore the sales pitch and just listen to the basic message.

    And now back to our regularly-scheduled program.
    Gah! You have some love for chai?? Sweetened or unsweetened? Black or green tea based? I may have an amazing recipe for you! Because I make chai all the time and then my teeth turn brown and rot out of my head due to the excessive amounts of honey I use but honey is medicinal, so it’s ok.

    • 1. THANK YOU!!! That means so, SO much for me to hear. And it’s so funny because YOU have been the light for me on more occasions than you know. So really we’re both very bright and reflecting off of each other. Especially now that there’s been a flaming tourch exchange. (Do you love how I added “flaming” into the mix?)
      2. I am checking that book out ASAP. I’m always looking for a good self-help read, of course.
      3. Chai is heaven, UNsweetened black or green, and! By the way, OPRAH has a new one available at Teavana and in latte form at Starbucks! It’s called #OprahChai and here’s a selfie of me with it (you’re welcome):


  1. […] The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: “Be the Light”. […]

  2. […] Well, it doesn’t really. (See “comic novel” above.) As with my humour writing, I’m not breaking ground here, just trying to project the world through the cracked prism of my brain. As recently expressed by my blogger friend Nic (who you’ll meet shortly), I feel my job as a writer is to “make someone’s day a little less shitty.” […]

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