By Shira Forester
“Even in complete darkness, a single light is enough to illuminate an entire room. Just one spark, one flame, has the power to transform total darkness and to allow us to see what we might not have been able to see before.”
These are the words that another fellow from my cohort, Jenna, spoke as she taught us our power as individuals who make up an entire cohort. She guided us through a reflective ceremony that both acknowledged how influential we all are as individuals, but also showed us how much light we can bring to a space when we are a group.
With complete darkness in the room, she began by lighting a single candle. One small candle instantly brought light and comfort to all of us. She then lit another fellow’s candle, and told her to light the candle in the hands of the fellow beside her. “The unique thing about light,” she explained, “is that when we share it, it doesn’t take away from our own original light. Instead, we can share with others and burn even brighter together.”
As the flames continued to ignite around the circle, we could all feel the warmth and see the brightness that was growing. Jenna encouraged us to watch as our flames were burning upwards, towards the sky. Even if we tried to rotate the candle, the flame continued upward. Jenna reminded us that, like the flames, we are always striving to go up and work to become the best version of ourselves.
Just prior to this program that inspired us to use the lights within us to bring more brightness into the world, we had another wonderful fellow-led program. Two other members of cohort, Mady and Elana, taught us more about each one of our unique contributions we bring to the world. They did this by giving us each a small journal, and asking us to write our names on the first page. We then passed each journal around the room, signing each of our peers’ journals with a short, anonymous message. This gave us the opportunity to reflect on how each member of the cohort has impacted us, and letting them know how much we appreciate them. At the end of the activity, our journals returned to us, filled with forty notes to make us smile.
Mady and Elana helped remind us all of the specific elements of our own personalities that are unique, while also reflecting on the incredible qualities all the other members of our cohort possess. Preceding the program about spreading our light with this activity helped us think more in depth about what our light is, and which qualities of our own can help light up a room.
Cohort Four of the Nachshon Project is a special group of individuals. With our varying backgrounds and personalities, we all bring something completely unique to the table. It was such a privilege to watch as members from our cohort guide us in these activities of reflection. The three members of our cohort who planned and led this are three incredible leaders and individuals. They took it upon themselves to make activities that would resonate with all of us. However, they are only three of the forty-one remarkable members of our cohort. Thanks to these three, I was able to recognize how special our group is. I am eager to see how everyone ignites the spark within others and brings more light into the world.