Lighthouses have always fascinated me. They mark dangerous coastlines or perilous reefs and help guide sea vessels to safe harbor. The most famous lighthouse structure was the Pharaohs of Alexandria built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 BC. Centuries later, it was destroyed in an earthquake. In modern times, these structures have become some of the most visited and photographed places around the world and are vacation destinations in their own right. So what is it about lighthouses that grab our collective attention? I’m sure there are many answers to that question but one day during meditation, I saw an image of a lighthouse in my mind’s eye and then received a message about its symbolic meaning.

Photo credit: Josh Munsch

Located on higher, safer ground its light is a beacon to those at sea who are fighting storms and dangerous waves. However, the lighthouse isn’t responsible for saving everyone. It just keeps shining its light out into the darkness and those who see it can use it as a guide to come safely to shore. But if we’re afraid of the night sea and all those fighting to navigate it, we’ll lose our higher ground. The message I received from my guides during this meditation was plant yourself firmly on the hilltop and shine your beautiful light into the night. Embrace your fears and messy heart. Open it wide and allow only love to go out and to come back in. I guarantee that you’ll be a happier person for it.

Most of us, myself included, want to push away negativity and overcome our fears. But by running away from any and all darkness in ourselves and in others, we give it more power. I’m not saying that there aren’t real problems in the world or that our lives can’t be devastated by tragedy and loss. As long as we are living in a polarity universe, and participating in this Earth game is an exercise in polarity, we will feel the effects of both positive and negative forces. But to quote A Course in Miracles, “only love is real.” That might seem like a slap in the face if you’ve recently suffered a betrayal or live in a war torn nation, but the message in my meditation was clear: in order to love fully we must learn to embrace all aspects of life, even the difficult times. Those times are like rough seas when safe entry into the harbor is perilous. Look for that constant and guiding light to safely navigate through the rough times.

My maternal grandmother was my lighthouse. Her unwavering compassion and quiet, but fierce love gave me strength when I felt weak. Even in the midst of family drama, which happened a lot in my family, her light shone out clear and bright. Even when my own light dimmed during many bouts of depression growing up, I looked for hers to guide me home again. After she died, I feared that I would never experience that kind of love again, but I was wrong. The challenge was to be the lighthouse myself. The lesson was to anchor myself into higher ground, stand tall and shine my light out into the darkness. No more hiding. We all have been or will be fighting the rough waves caused by the storms in our lives and we all have been or will be the lighthouse, illuminating our own or others’ fears and illusions. It’s time to embrace this call. It’s time to be the lighthouse by facing our deepest fears and shining our light out into the world.

By Erin Munsch