If you’re at all involved in the new age/spiritual movement (and if you’re reading articles on this site, there’s a good chance you are), then you’re undoubtedly familiar with people known as lightworkers.
In fact, you’re more than likely to have come across several people who describe themselves as such. These might be people you know from your social groups, those you follow on Instagram and Twitter, or friends-of-friends whom you’ve hung out with after your hot yoga classes.
Here’s the thing: people who spout off about how “woke” they are, generally aren’t. If they only talk about love and light and refuse to even acknowledge the shadowy aspects of the human psyche, let alone delve into them, then they’re likely afraid of something and are hiding from it by any means necessary.
Lightworking isn’t merely about sharing unconditional love in the form of glittery memes full of positive affirmations: it’s about shining light into the dark corners most people would rather not peer into… but it’s in those very shadows that true understanding and growth occur.
Truth Can Hurt Like Hell
Most people will do everything in their power to avoid pain. They’ll create false worlds to live in and delve into countless different forms of escapism rather than face and accept truths they’d rather not contend with.
By doing so, they often don’t truly realize the havoc they’re wreaking in the lives of those around them. They’re so focused on protecting themselves from any risk of discomfort that they take whatever steps they deem necessary to stay “safe”… and it’s only in retrospect that they may, possibly, realize the ramifications of their actions.
Many never do. They just keep repeating the same cycles over again to avoid looking into the dark boxes that hold the truths they’re afraid of facing because they know damned well how much it’ll hurt to do that.
We need lightworkers to teach us how to lean into that pain instead of cringing away from it, because denying our darker aspects leads to negative actions that affect everyone around us. It’s only by facing that pain that it loses its power over us.
What the pain-avoidant people fail to realize is that when and if the day arrives in which they do face their fears, and open themselves up to their personal truths, that’s the day in which they will find true peace and freedom. Repression and denial are very powerful self-defense mechanisms, but what do they really end up defending a person from? There is remarkable calm and joy to be found in acceptance, but it takes a lot of courage to get there…
…and that’s where lightworkers come in.
Step Into The Shadows
In a recent article, author Doc De Lux shared his thoughts about lightworkers:
“…true lightworkers don’t talk most exclusively about light and fluffy things. They talk about the shunned and forgotten things, because by sharing their understanding of the heavy, the painful, the dark, they bring light to where there was little to none.”
Most people don’t WANT to peer into their darkness.
They’re comfortable keeping the shadowy, damaged, unwanted aspects of their lives in convenient boxes, tucked away in closets and under beds… but tucking those away doesn’t make them go away. When these aspects aren’t looked at and dealt with compassionately, they don’t heal. They just suppurate and spread hardship in all directions, dragging us further down the rabbit hole.
When we don’t deal with our shadows, they overwhelm us. They can cause everything from depression and anxiety to nervous breakdowns and psychotic episodes. When the shadows of our reality encroach into our fantasy projections, we may lash out at those around us in a desperate attempt to keep the walls up, but the walls never stay up permanently, do they? Truth finds a way to seep out whether we want it to or not.
The world needs lightworkers now more than ever because we’ve become a world full of petulant children who are seeking distractions and finding comfort in outright lies; tendencies that will doom us more quickly than any alien cataclysm.
The entire world is being wracked by growing pains right now, and we seem to be nearing a tipping point that could very well lead to another global war, along with climate change, water shortages, and food insecurity.
It really is up to us whether we open ourselves to our personal truths and become the best versions of ourselves that we are capable of being, to share real love, respect, and kinship with everyone else on this planet, or fall into the same self-centered, blinkered negativity that has plagued previous generations.
So many people make their choices based on fear, that freedoms are placed in the hands of those who will abuse their power, but will make those under their control feel “safe.” Ignorance can indeed be blissful, but is running away, hiding, and indulging in escapist tendencies really living?
What kind of legacy are we leaving behind with this kind of behavior? What will the world look like a century from now? What will future generations think of us, if this species manages to survive at all?
“I don’t want to think about it” is a total abdication of personal responsibility, and stagnation of personal growth. “I want to feel safe” results in xenophobia, alienation of the Other, and overwhelming apathy towards those who are suffering. All of those uncomfortable topics and situations that make us feel ouchy are the very ones that we need to be peering at; that we need to sit with in order to understand why they hurt, and what we need to do to make things better.
Lightworkers hold up mirrors before our eyes and force us to look into the places we usually choose to ignore because they make us uncomfortable.
True Lightworkers Will Likely Unnerve You
Some of the most powerful lightworkers out there are those who have lived through an extraordinary amount of hardship, but worked their way through it to attain growth and wisdom. They may have struggled for years with everything from self-destructive tendencies to addiction, but then turned and walked their own dark paths through the maelstrom of their pain and found the flickering spark that drew them into the light. Into truth, and peace, and power.
It’s that power that will draw broken and damaged people to them, but may also push those same people away, in time. Those who are repressing and denying true aspects of themselves may feel incredibly uncomfortable in a lightworker’s presence, because their very energy may force light into dark places that people would rather keep hidden. The vibration they hum with may be akin to the sun at midday: it can be overwhelming, and even burn those who aren’t prepared to face it.
Those who spend time with lightworkers but who aren’t ready to immerse themselves in the shadow realms often lash out and run away, back to the places where they find safety and comfort. Back to places where superficial growth and “wokedness” can take place, because it’s easy to wear rose quartz and sip bespoke kombucha and “send light” to far-away people.
It’s easy to go through the motions of living and breathing light. It’s damned difficult to look into that mirror and acknowledge our own hypocrisy, our cowardice, our mistreatment of others, and even more difficult to put real effort into the process of changing all of that; an experience that may very well skin and eviscerate us in the process of setting us free.
We need lightworkers now more than ever, but we also need to let their light in.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.