‘Borrowing Light’ – How to Stop Taking & Start Creating
This may not be a term you are familiar with but it is a concept your inner self knows well. It is a moral you were likely taught when you were young and deep down you always know when you have crossed the invisible line.
Is illuminating yourself with light from another. It may be for personal or professional reasons. Claiming, using, borrowing … a little bit like white lies and half-truths, they are still lies. Be it to your followers, viewers, email list, community, colleagues or yourself. ‘Borrowing Light’ and passing it off as your own may seem like a good idea at the time, especially since “that tagline is so clever, and that concept is attracting so much attention and the way they wrote that would fit nicely right here…”. But the cost of taking from someone and not creating authentically yourself will need to be paid sooner or later, and often in many ways. I want to explore this with you here and give you some tangible and practical insights and some love wisdom to check in with yourself and see how this may relate to you and where you are right now.
After speaking with one of my teachers about this concept, I remembered when I was around eight I discovered what I thought was ‘the clever art of tracing’. Oh, this was going to take my drawing next level! I found drawings of animals, characters in storybooks, plants and flowers to place my white paper over the top of, and draw what I was able to faintly see come through. I filled page after page with my drawings. Yes, “mine”. There was a sense of pride when I first admired these artworks. I recalled showing my dad with a look of ta-da! Take a look at my talent right here, Dad! painted all over my face. He questioned me if I drew these, but I stood by my version of truth that I had drawn these. After all, I did take that pencil in my hand and make those lines you see right there on the page. But in a very short time my pride deflated and my heart sunk. I realised I couldn’t keep doing this as it made me feel empty and, I wasn’t telling the truth – which I never avoided. Back in my room I saw something else. I knew no matter how many pages of drawings I did none of them looked like my work. My style, though be it developing, wasn’t present. These drawings didn’t capture and show how I would interpret an eye or a stem with a budding flower. Not one drawing radiated my essence. I may not have known it then but I was Borrowing the Light; taking from another artist, dishonouring my truth, ignoring my integrity, not acknowledging the real creator of the original work and thus not allowing my original style, my unique essence and quality to develop and blossom.
Perhaps you have your own memory when you too felt this ah-ha moment of realisation or perhaps I’m here to gently remind you if it is something you are facing right now.
You and I aren’t children anymore. There are adult choices and consequences to be faced with borrowed Light. This is not just in the new age circles or amid the aspiring conscious path walkers, it is all around us and can appear very tempting when you are not standing in your own truth and aspiring to connect with your essence. It is something I have seen and experienced many times. I have had sessions with people who have then gone off and written or spoken on international platforms about the wisdom and teaching I would share, as if it was their daily way of life which they embody and live by, with no reference to where this insight of theirs came and no integrity in regards to the fact it is actually something they have just been taught and are at the very beginning stages of integrating and exploring. Others have begun to change the language they use on their websites and social media to appear to convey more wisdom than they may currently carry, all because it sounds more ‘real’ and ‘conscious’ – though they don’t understand or embody what the words they use mean. They are just ‘the new black’ to be seen using or the shiny tool to entice with. My teachers too have had their work directly ‘borrowed’ some even have had their work plagiarised and reused. Their students believing that since they were taught by a teacher they are free to use the teachings shared with them as they wish, allowing their readers to believe it is an offering of their own direct wisdom, not something they are training in or now practicing as a result of a teachers’ wisdom. While it is important to acknowledge there are seldom ‘100% original and new’ creations in many ways, especially when we work with ancient teachings and wisdom, we still have to bear in mind creative ownership and the barer of the Light from which we may be tempted to draw.
*This also includes acknowledging that likely, even if your latest fabulously clever and innovative podcast, article, workshop, Facebook post, design, creation is authentically ‘yours’ it was still a co-creation with Source. Acknowledging this to self if no one else is a humble place to come from.
What is Borrowed Will Crumble
Keep in mind, if you are borrowing or leaching light from others you will continually need other sources to take from. And, what you create, build and grow will be a construction made on and of borrowed Light, meaning it can be removed and leave what you made to disintegrate at any time. Eventually it indeed will.
You Need to Create and Build from Within
There is nothing wrong with being inspired. You thrive off inspiration of all kinds. I do too – from a book I am reading, to the new flowers popping through on a plant in my office, to a comment I hear a stranger say as I walk to yoga, and lyrics in a song. Inspiration is like a spark that ignites your inner creator and builder. So in order for you to fully embrace the Light and stand in your truth you need to create and build using your own essence from within. This means you are first required to;
When you ‘borrow’ from the Light of another, likely you do not fully understand and comprehend the wisdom or you would not need to rely on their interpretation or creation. Dive deeper, explore, research, question, ponder, study, practice, immerse in what you seek and you may well uncover your own account and experiences to birth your version and complement the tapestry of Truth which exists.
Walking your walk and talking your talk. Not “9-5 Mon – Fri I’m uber spiritual, #blessed and stuff, then on the weekend, well, anything goes #YOLO!” The part time path walker or ‘spiritual’ person is not living in Light, they are living in illusion and glamour. Taking the pretty, shiny and sexy bits and discarding the rest. That being the real work of fully living a life of Truth and Light to your best at every moment, come challenge or smooth sail.
Fully immersed in the Light of the creation you are one and the same, as it is a manifestation of your essence, of your unique quality. There is no polarity, there is harmony. You can manifest, express, encapsulate and represent Light in that which you are creating and building as it comes through you and into your work/service. What you can create is no longer an inspiration driven, empty shell; desperately trying to be the Light but hollow and lacking of authenticity and essence inside, but instead it is a creation filled with Light, emanating Light and sharing your essence as a gift to the world. You are able to serve from your most authentic place. You feel this, it is a knowing and you cannot go back to Borrowing the Light and creating empty shells and replicas of others any more.
Then if you choose you can go forth and share the Light further;
When you fully know; embody, live and understand that which you are drawn to you may choose to step into a role as teacher, mentor or guide. Your authenticity has combined with love wisdom and conscious knowledge from practice, commitment and experience. You can emanate your own quality and radiate Light from within to those around you.
This is also built from;
Let’s lay this down first and foremost, be truthful. Own what is yours (co-created with Soul/Spirit etc) and what is not.
It takes integrity to be truthful and to honour what is and what is not. This is a non-negotiable part of the Path. To commit to this work authentically you must choose complete integrity with your morals and values, being honest with yourself and others at all times, while coming from a place of loving kindness, non-judgment and compassion for all.
If someone ‘inspired’ you from what they have done, said or shared, acknowledge this. State their full name, their website, the book and author, the event you attended etc, share the Light you received from them and pay it forward with your own contribution too. (*Unless they have requested to remain anonymous where by you can at least acknowledge that what you have used is from elsewhere.)
You can’t spend your life individually thanking each and everyone one who inspired you to create everything from your new online course to your latest revised recipe on organic nut mylk. Or can you? Pick up a book and flip to the back and read the acknowledgments. Some people write an essay of gratitude to all the hands that helped ‘birth’ their book. Some refine it to the biggest inspirations and helpers. This is a matter of personal discernment and conscious choice snuggled up with your morals, ethics and values. That said, let’s keep real and authentic. Let’s tune into the inner space that is the Light within you, which will speak very clearly if you create the stillness and silence and it will tell you if you need to reassess what you are doing, saying or sharing if it is not your Light to claim.
*Please note if you are pulling from someone directly, such as using their content word for word with no quotation and annotation and it can thus be interpreted as your own, this is not just ‘borrowing the light’ it is plagiarism. And, likely also copyright infringement. Not to mention karmicaly not cool, let alone ‘spiritual’, no matter the content.
As we live in an age of ‘consuming more’ and packaging it up to ‘be more’ or make us look and feel more exotic, witty, sexy, juicy, intelligent, desirable, the pull to borrow the Light and claim it as your own may be loud at times. If you are a committed Path walker I urge you to be witness and observe yourself here. Observe your feelings and emotions that are bubbling up, observe the thoughts in your mind that may be leading you off track and observe the actions you are about to or may have just taken, that may not be in alignment with your highest self, your soul and your purpose.
There is infinite Light
You have the innate ability to refine your skills and abilities to be the clearest channel and beacon for the Light to shine forth as you radiate your unique essence to serve the world and beyond. Offering whatever it is you are here to offer which is like no other, though it fits perfectly into the luminous fabric of the multiverse.
My intention is to come from the wisdom of love when I encourage you to go within and do the work. Move through the muddy depths of the challenges that feel like road blocks and the sad, frustrating and painful times, the alone and the dark times. As within those there is always a crack to be found and that is where the Light will pour in from; into you for you to use as soul fuel to nourish your inner beauty, your wisdom and truth, your message to share with the world, and shine the Light forth with the essence of your unique quality.
Be true to you and Shine on.
With love, Elise / S*M
I read this article on the back of your latest article about Kundalini. What a pleasure to find (for the first time in a long time) a blog which resonates with such authenticity and truth! So firstly, thank you. Thank you very much. I’ll be a regular from now. <3
It is timely that I stumble upon this article, as it is something I was pondering just earlier today and something which truly creates a stirring in me… of the firey sort.
See, while there have been times in my life where I have indeed copied another's work, (I too went through a 'tracing' phase when I was younger!) I began at a very early age to set myself apart from what else I saw. To be 'me' in whatever form I took at that moment in time. To try new things simply because they weren't being done by anyone I knew. Dress in weird and wacky ways because they were a unique expression of me. And create like crazy through many platforms!
As an adult, this creative energy has and continues to increase and find new avenues for it's outlet. After years of seeking, I know a whole lot more about who I am than I did (thank god!) and feel very centered in my self and strong in my purpose and integrity.
I stopped taking from others a long while back, partly because I didn't (and couldn't) feel any sense of accomplishment or fulfillment in doing so… And partly because as a teenager I started to experience what it felt like to be taken from.
As somebody who radiates a whole lot of light, who is intrinsically very open to new ways of being, who is introspective, creative, eloquent and trusting.., I have attracted numerous people throughout the years who have plagarised my work. Some subtly, and some blatantly. Some who have actually adopted the stories they would hear me tell as their own, and more recently, who are borrowing from my image, my language and the advice I share with them upon their request… Which they then regurgitate through social media without attempting to understand it, let alone embody it. And then lead other people on in their facade…
And… It makes me so mad! And it makes me feel a little sick too. And then, being a woman of the path… I question myself as to why it bothers me so much. What is it that I am afraid of in their borrowing from me? I was always told by the adults I had around me as a child/teenager that "imitation is the greatest form of flattery." After all, my light is my light, nobody can imitate it. And after all -isn't any teaching that leads another further along their path a good teaching, regardless of it's source? I don't know right now.
…But the sadness and frustration of the cheap imitation remains and stirs up this fire in my belly/heart and lump in my throat. So, my question for you (after that long-winded introduction. (Thank you, for listening), is;
How do you handle being taken from?
Am I missing something really important in feeling such an emotional reaction to something I can't control?
And what have you found to be the best methods to honour your feelings and your integrity, within the realms of what you yourself can actually control?
I really look forward to hearing from you. Thank you so much for the article! <3
Oh I hear you and I’m sure many many others do too. The questions you pose can be great places to start from in contemplation practice. As a woman on the path you would have your tools and techniques already 🙂 though contemplation of the ‘feelings’ the ’emotions’ that arise when this happens offer you an opportunity to peel back layers to what this is really about for you and your unique journey. After feeling into and contemplating your ‘feelings’ even for a 3-5 minutes, you can then make the shift into ‘what do I want to feel?’ … sit with that, contemplate that for a few minutes too. This need not be long and drawn out. Perhaps what you want to feel is calm, or acceptance, or joy and love… So, ‘what does it feel like to feel joy and love?’. This is you inviting and welcoming while clearing your way through the lower nature of personality (which we all have!) to find your way back to heart, higher mind and aspiring toward soul and Spirit. This is just one idea you may like to experiment with only if it resonates with you. Thank you for sharing. I send you love along your path as you continue lighting the way. The world needs more of that! Elise / S*M (And if I can be of service along your path feel free to reconnect via email@example.com) X!