Are you the light? I was in downtown San Francisco a few weeks back at a Renewable Fuels conference with a client of mine. Since I was coming from the Central Time Zone I awoke wide awake at 4am about 530a I ventured out in the streets looking for coffee.

It was a beautifully eerie morn.  A touch of storm in the air.  Breezy, a little bit misty, but yet a warm 58 degrees. Warm compared to my home Minneapolis.

I was somewhat disturbed by the bodies sleeping on the street.  Some covered in newspapers, others with some raingear, and still others with nothing but the jacket on their back. I never felt threatened, just uneasy.  All I could think of was the “have” and “have-nots” and I was definitely in the “have” arena.

Who are these people? What is their story? Where did they come from? Who were their parents, siblings? Why are they here? Why do we allow this kind of poverty in the richest country in the world? Do they have children? Where are they? My thoughts were on high alert.  The incongruence was maddening.

The Marriot, Starbucks, holiday lights, the season to be Merry”¦and the homeless side by side.  Dang it! As I stood outside on the street holding my $5 coffee I scanned down at a row of a half dozen men sleeping. I consciously “chose” to walk by them all. Once I had passed all of them a feeling of deep gratitude came over me. I pulled out my wad of cash and walked on back past them.

One man was having a serious conversation with himself, obviously mentally ill. I was very gentle with him when I asked if he could use a couple bucks.  He was wild eyed as he snatched the dough. The next man looked to be 80 plus years old in a wheelchair wrapped haphazardly in a sleeping bag, he was ecstatic to receive a 5 spot. The other 4 men looked at me in wonder and smiling grace.  I saw gentle appreciation. The last man asked me if I were an angel as he laid on the ground holding up his head and his hand out. I let out a roar of a laugh and said, “No, I’m no friggin angel brother, just a man.  Bless you!”

I went back to my room and started counting my blessings.  Feeling deep gratitude and love for the life I had. Grateful for growing up in small town Iowa, having the parents I was given and especially “clear” about the head start I was given, being born where I was born.

This sense of “knowing” who I am, what I want, and what I am willing to do for my beliefs is my guiding light inside. My purpose runs my life, I’m no longer looking for the light.  It burns brightly inside of me. During the season of giving, the holidays it felt so good to give.

Whether your faith celebrates it or not I think we can all agree that this is the time of year we look ahead for what it is we want to create in the upcoming year. So I ask you, are you looking for a light? Or are you the light? This planet needs more light!  Please look for the light within, and let it come out. Commit to making your plan today to shine.