The sparkler effect
The sparkler effect
As a kid growing up in America, the typical 4th of July Independence Day celebrations consisted of an array of small fireworks that offered us a plethora of dazzling lights, pops, zings, and kapows! Basically, this is where we learned what the word onomatopoeia[*] means.
The one baby firework that brought me the most joy as a little boy was the common, yet amazing sparkler. Twirling and spinning them around gave the impression to any onlookers that there was a continuous circuit of light being painted in the air, as the after-image seemed to hover in space like some trick of a magician, and we were the ‘Merlins’ behind it all! I loved watching the intense star-like sparks emanating from the centre of the rod and shooting off like miniature meteors; a fleeting glimpse that leaves a lasting impression, just like seeing a real meteor in the evening sky when you least expect it.
But the one aspect of playing with sparklers that to this day deeply touches my heart is the ephemeral moment where someone would hold their unlit sparkler up in a gesture requesting it be lit as mine was still going (or vice versa) and we would touch the tips of them together. There was always a pause of anticipation and then voila!, the previously dark sparkler was brought from a state of potential to fiery and glorious light and life.
Even at that young age and very strongly now, I can see how I felt a kind of symbolism in this action, whereby when one person may not be feeling very ‘sparkly’ themselves, but instead depressed, withdrawn or contracted, they can be inspired by another who is shining their inner light brightly for all to see.
It’s not that one person is ‘giving’ the light to another, but that we may observe how someone is bringing their all to life and thus emanating that vitality. In that moment we can decide to re-connect to that same inner spark within us which can never be extinguished, no matter how difficult life may seem to be. And we can then choose to ignite that spark and let it fire up within ourselves and emanate it out to all.
This effect can manifest itself in many ways, from someone showing up to work in a joyful and purposeful way, ready to dive into whatever job is needed without hesitation or judgement, to simply placing one’s hand gently on a friend’s shoulder in a gesture of love and understanding. All of these gestures offer the potential of setting up a chain reaction of movement within our lives, of igniting and emanating light that spreads that ‘sparkle’ from one person to the next by the reflection of that light that is shown without reservation.
Of course, we also have the choice to do the opposite – holding onto our hurts and associated anger, bitterness and resentment and then carrying that over into our conversations, workplace, and relationships. But I’d venture to guess that most of us can relate to the fact that this never really results in anything other than misery and thus offers others nothing but to stay in the same circulation of negativity and emotional whirlpool of suffering.
Beginning with a foundation of deep honesty that we have been hurt and still feel hurt and a willingness to heal these hurts (which are not in truth ours, but emotional disturbances we have taken on), can be the catalyst to true and lasting change. It can create an opening to be inspired by others who have done the same, rather than continuing to buy into our old stories of suffering. It’s at this point that the light expressed through and from another can be ‘passed on’ by reflection to the one who is ready to live it within their own life.
Just as the operation of ignition in an internal combustion or turbine engine involves the precise proportions and pressures of fuel and air to be combined before a spark is introduced to set this mixture ablaze, we can see this process playing out in our own lives between people. When we hold people in love, understanding and an offering of space for them to make their own choices without judgement, we observe that these qualities can provide the perfect environment for them to come to these understandings in their own time and there is then an igniting of an inner fire of purpose within them that can then inspire others do the same.
Observing how the full moon acts as a giant mirror to reflect the light of the Sun to us here on Earth reminds me of the power of reflection by the way the Sun bathes us with a ceaseless source of Light that is ‘passed on’ to provide not only all life to flourish, but symbolically exposes anything that may have been hiding in the shadows that is not serving humanity (all of us) to evolve in a soulful way.
Similarly, when a person is living their life in a way that is in alignment with the qualities of love, truth, joy, harmony and stillness, and thus with their Soul, this is reflected to others and can either inspire an equal alignment to that joyful way of living or expose the fact that we are choosing to align to a way of living in resistance to this reflection, with all its resultant behaviours that are not in line with the way the rest of the Universe moves.
There also exist ‘sparkler effects’ within greater cycles of Light in the Universe. I know that whenever I go outside under a brilliant star-lit night sky I can attest to the feeling of being showered by the magnificent qualities of the stars and constellations that ceaselessly display their majestic light to us every night. The reflection of light the stars offer reminds me of the light that lives within. It feels like being wrapped in the arms of God during these moments, as this loving expression many times triggers within me an ignition of sorts, reminding me of my true home – amongst the stars and within the body of God who has created them. I then can’t help but carry this feeling within me to everyone I interact with in my life. And the sparkler effect continues.