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Light up your life—and your self —with this joy-filled guide to beauty, healing, and personal energy thatincludes delicious recipes, immune-strengthening wellness rituals, and practical steps for building a better world.
Each page of this book is packed with inspiration and insights on the central role of energy in the way you look, feel, and experience life. Ignite Your Light guides you to seek more of what lights you up, to grow the resilience of your mind, body, emotions, and spirit, and to refresh your routine from sunrise to moonlight, featuring:
Delicious recipes that support glowing skin and optimal health
Fresh takes on self-care rituals, from yoga nidra to skin care as energy release
Inspiration-packed profiles of the 13 leading factors that power your inner light
Simple shifts that improve your long-term health and happiness via your mindset, actions, environment, and relationships
Filled with colorful illustrations and photos, Ignite Your Light is both a beautiful and practical guide for anyone who wants to positively influence their own energy, grow the beauty in their daily life, and shine their light on the world around them.
Be the Light You Want to See
Energy informs you—and your world.
What if I told you that we share a superpower, one that’s free and available to access at any moment of our lives? Your superpower, and mine, is the ability to shift the energy of your body, mind, spirit, and emotions—and in doing so consciously direct the way you experience life. You are constantly, in every moment, choosing your energy. Sure, you’re being influenced by countless other energy sources (you’ll get to know a ton in this book), but you’re the boss of your own, giving you the ultimate authority. Even in a situation that you’re helpless to change, you choose how to respond, and how you treat yourself and others in light of it. When it comes to your energy, those choices are everything. Over time, the moment-to-moment energetic decisions you make give form to your life, connecting you to people, places, feelings, and opportunities. In the process, you also define your light. Wherever you are in your life today, you have the ability to be a light for yourself and for the world around you. Yes, you already have the light you’ve been seeking. As you begin to take ownership of your energy, you’ll use it to illuminate your most beautiful, resilient, and joyful self.
In this chapter, you’ll find a blueprint for energetic change, which you can put into to practice today and each day forward. Start here to learn more about your energy, then take the quiz at the end of this chapter to pinpoint the part of your day to explore first for the biggest energetic power surge. Or simply follow the linear path of this book and begin with Sunrise. Progress at your own pace. There’s no push to become a bright, shining beacon of endless positivity overnight (or ever, for that matter), so take time to question how this perspective works in your life and how it changes your story—past, present, and future. Once you begin to recognize how real and influential the invisible force of energy is in the world, I believe that so much of this information will come alive for you. To begin, let’s look a little closer at the nature of energy, and why science already shows that it can do far more than just change the way you feel. Keep an open mind, and I know this will rock your world.
YOUR ENERGY IS:
A fresh approach to recharging and refueling your body
Your most important reason to prioritize self-care
A new way to think about giving back
A deeper understanding of beauty and the way you age
An overlooked catalyst for healing
A connection between you and the world
Your truest self
The Physics of Energy
The science of physics explains how everything, ourselves included, is made of energy at its base level. Physicist Albert Einstein famously found in his Theory of Relativity that E = mc2, which essentially shows that energy and matter are two expressions of the same substance—the stuff of which we are all composed. We may be physical beings made of cells, but those cells are comprised of atoms, which are themselves comprised of—wait for it—energy. The closer you look at an atom, the more you see that there is nothing truly material or physical within it. The solid material world that we think of as true and fundamental is, in many ways, an illusion. Wild, right? I know that it’s a bit baffling to fully conceive of the energetic nature of the chair that’s currently holding you up, or the glass you’re drinking from, or your body as a whole. But know that the energy-filled atoms that make up matter repel each other like superstrong magnets, and that’s what creates the suspension you feel as you sit on that piece of furniture or sip from that glass.
So, what exactly does this mean to be made of energy, and how does it impact our day-to-day health and happiness? Well, in many ways we’re still figuring out how to apply this pretty surreal information about energy to our very real lives. Some interpret the understanding that we’re all made of energy to mean that we also have the potential to shape our own reality by consciously altering our energetic building blocks—which is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. See, we alter our energetic building blocks with every thought, action, belief, or interaction that affects our energy. And because our bodies are constantly being remade, today’s choices are the foundation of that process, and the foundation of how we experience life from this moment forward. Scientifically speaking, your energy starts to change the very moment you become conscious of it, a phenomenon called the “observer effect.” The observer effect shows us that the simple act of observing allows us to have an effect on the outcome of what is being observed, as we become a part of what’s happening. This means that even if you’re just conceiving of your personal energy for the very first time today, you’ve already begun to take ownership of your superpower.
The ability to consciously direct your energy can change your life, as it exists right now, in countless ways. Energy is not static; we transform it, replenish it, and in doing so alter our body’s function, activate our immune system, spark a mental or emotional shift, and change our vibration, all by choice. I can’t overstate how powerful your own energetic choices are—yet so many of us fail to recognize, or act on, this potential. The energy you choose for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit has a sweeping effect on every part of your life, from your physical body and beauty to the level of joy and connectedness you feel in your day-to-day existence.
Scientific study has documented that emotions and feelings have the power to alter the electromagnetic frequencies of our cells, the effects of which are felt body-wide. Take this example: The energy of your emotions affects the cardiac rhythm of your heart, which in turn causes a change in the electromagnetic frequency of your cells and directly communicates with your brain. The new electromagnetic waves emitted have an effect on your entire being, changing your energy and contributing to your heart’s major role as a so-called synchronizing signal in your body.
The energy that makes up our bodies and everything around us is constantly in vibrating movement, giving us all that “vibe” that you’ve likely heard of in reference to your personal energy. And as you may have experienced, the energetic vibration of people, places, and objects you encounter has an effect on your own energy field. I find it fascinating that being in close contact with another person can bring your vibrations together, as some objects that spend time in close proximity have the tendency to vibrate together, or resonate! One breathtaking example of resonance occurs when certain species of fireflies start flashing their lights in sync as they gather in large numbers.
When we talk about energy, the vibrations of specific emotions, objects, states of health, and the like are often labeled “high vibe” or “‘low vibe.” This refers to the assumption that “high vibe” energy is lighter and freer, whereas “low vibe” energy is heavy and burdensome. Truthfully, I find these labels to be a bit misleading and even confusing because we still simply don’t know their vibrations. There’s not a specific vibration or vibrational range we can truly aspire to, because we just don’t understand vibrations in such a straightforward way yet. Some experts have already begun to measure vibration and I have no doubt that this will continue to be a fascinating area of scientific exploration in decades to come. But right now, here in this book, I won’t be using “high vibe” or “low vibe” to describe energy.
In their place, I use words that describe light—“bright energy” and “dim energy”—to discuss the overall spectrum of effects that the energy influencers in our lives have on the way we feel, the way we look, and the way we respond to and experience life. You can be the judge of what brightens or dims your light, simply by feeling. So, when certain people, places, objects, or emotions hit you smack in the head or heart with a big “Yes!” seek more of those things.
Rather than position energy states as polarities, like good or bad, positive or negative, I view the varied energy states we experience as parts of the same whole. All energy is information. Passing between energetic states is like tuning the dial on a car radio, or adjusting lighting with a dimmer switch, rather than completely switching on or off. Calling some energy “positive” and other energy “negative” sounds a lot like I’m telling you that what you’re experiencing is good or bad, rather than you just learning to use energy as your guide. So, in this book, I also avoid using “positive” and “negative” as much as possible and instead reference what is likely to brighten or dim your light. Feeling the whole spectrum of energy is a part of life—it creates a yin/yang balance. States of dim energy enable us to fully experience bright energy. And as you tune between them, you’re already shifting your inner light, and owning your superpower.
What does it actually feel like to experience bright or dim energy? Although you’ve shifted between these energetic states thousands of times before, these descriptive words might help you see and feel your energy in a new light.
Dim energetic states may leave you feeling:
You can probably imagine what it’s like to be led by dim energy. Imagine you’re reading a book outside as the sun goes down and it gradually gets darker. Without a light source, it’s not as easy to decipher the sentences. Words get mixed up. In your life, dim energy often translates to a murkier perspective than you’d have with bright energy illuminating your path and connecting you to your essence, inspiring you to use your power and potential, and helping you move toward your deepest desires. In dim energetic states, like jealousy, self-pity, and fear, your perspective is clouded, and so often what you see is only those immediate feelings. Dim energy truly dulls your ability to see and even to receive hope, beauty, possibility, and love. Over time, existing in a state of dim energy and its clouded worldview bring on the very real deleterious physical effects of sustained negative emotions. Stress and negativity beget prolonged high cortisol in the body, which breaks down collagen in your skin, contributes to unwanted weight gain (high cortisol is specifically connected to extra abdominal weight), makes it harder to get restorative sleep, speeds up the aging process, and suppresses your immune system, among other effects. Anger in particular is linked to anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog, low self-esteem, and even increased risk of infection or illness, as your immune system is weakened for about six hours after simply recalling an angry experience.
Overall, dim energy depletes your physical health and beauty in addition to hanging a cloud over your mindset and emotions. And the more time you spend in those dim energetic places, natural as they may be, the more you train your brain and body to live in that space, suppressing your immune system—and happiness—in the process. Although dim energy isn’t something you can or need to wholly avoid, you may want to make an effort to shift or replace some of the dim energy sources in your daily life because of the limits they place on your body, mind, emotions, or spirit. Think: thoughts, people, places, or even media. It’s more than okay to do this, especially while you’re actively working to change your energy. Most sadness, fear, anxiety, and the like are normal human emotions, so spot them when they arrive, let yourself feel them, and then release them with the knowledge that those energy states can actually be a form of guidance or intuition.
So many of the dim energy inputs we encounter each day aren’t valuable or necessary, so aim to pinpoint those and limit them. Consider the upsetting show you binge-watched last night or the co-worker who wants you to join her to gossip about the rest of your office. Sometimes removing dim energy from your life is the simplest way to see and feel a difference without changing anything else at all. Although I’m definitely not advocating that you force or fake the appearance of happiness, confidence, optimism, or any other bright energy state, if you can identify what is diminishing your light, it serves you to remove yourself from it. And when you separate from that which is obscuring your brilliance, how brightly will you shine? How amazing will you feel? How renewed will your routine become? Only you can decide to find out.
Committing to brighter energy more of the time allowed me to support physical and emotional healing and climb toward wholeness, one energetic shift at a time. But healing or change is not always linear. Even as I worked to brighten my energy, I very regularly had days where I wanted to scream, cry, and just be with the emotional pain of my experience. I gave, and continue to give, myself full permission to feel those emotions, doing my best to release them in a way that supports my health, and then looking forward to waking up the next day feeling one small step brighter. I hope you’ll see that possibility in your own journey, whether you want to change yourself or change your world.
If it seems far easier to see the proverbial glass of life as half empty, you may just be feeling a natural biological instinct called the negativity bias. This is the tendency of your brain and body to react more intensely to negative stimuli and more readily store negative memories—a protective mechanism that evolved to keep us from harm. It’s estimated that our bodies place three times more significance on negative events and emotions than on positive ones. Simply put, this means that when something sad, embarrassing, painful, or upsetting happens, we don’t forget it easily. We may have to work a little harder to steer our energy toward what’s bright, but I think the potential to change your brain, body, and biology in the process is more than worth the effort.
When you’re emitting bright energy, it often feels as if all of your senses become heightened. You see clearly and notice more beauty; you hear even the whispers of your heart; you connect to others more easily; and you feel the energy of people, places, and objects that perhaps went unnoticed before. When you have ample bright energy flooding you from different areas of your life, you feel lit from within. As your light continues to brighten, so much is illuminated.
Just like dim energy, bright energy has physical effects—think a surge of immune system activity, release of feel-good neurotransmitters, and more stable hormone levels over time. Simply feeling joy releases dopamine and serotonin that further enhance health and happiness. And feeling content and relaxed reduces muscle tension (allowing for increased circulation and glow to your skin), supports skin healing, helps maintain balanced blood sugar and hormones that support so many aspects of health, and improves digestion and nutrient absorption, which fuels your body from the inside out. That’s not to mention the positive changes to your mood, memory, and ability to focus.
Bright energetic states may leave you feeling:
In the flow
At some point, you may wonder—could your energy be too bright? If you’re forcing yourself to feel bright energy all of the time, you may be ignoring other energy and emotions that could help protect or guide you. By limiting your focus to light alone, you’re only taking in one side of the whole. The way I experience it, you can stay lit up enough to strongly support your beauty, resilience, and joy without needing to project bright energy 24/7. We all have days, weeks, years even, when our energy gets dimmed, and it’s more than okay to experience those times with the knowledge that you can once again tune back to brightness.
In reality, we all vacillate between bright and dim energy over the course of an average day. I want to help you spend more of your time solidly in the bright energy space, and to see how the shift from dim to bright changes your day-to-day life. The results will be visible: in your skin and the health of your body; palpable: in your mood and your motivation; and transformative: in your life, your relationships, and your overall joy.
VIBRATION AND ITS LINK TO CONSCIOUSNESS
If all matter vibrates, why do we, as humans, possess a more sophisticated ability to think, feel, and have self-awareness than, say, a grain (or mountain) of sand? One of the latest theories about vibration and consciousness posits that human beings achieve large-scale “macro-consciousness” through the combined energy of the huge number of “micro-conscious” parts of our body, each of which has its own vibration. All of those individual, simple vibrations (the ones that look similar to that possessed by a grain of sand) create a being that’s extremely complex when those independent vibrations begin to work together, or resonate. This is known as the resonance theory of consciousness, and it’s one of many fascinating theories about how human consciousness works.
Quantum mechanics shows us how everything and everybody may be connected, in a theory called quantum entanglement. Quantum entanglement demonstrates that the tiny particles that make up energy become connected, or entangled, with each other when they come into contact, and then subsequently remain entangled even when separated across great distances. Applying this to our lives, it means that the separation that we feel from one another may only be a perception, not reality. Einstein called this feeling of separation an “optical delusion.” This theory illustrates one reason energy is so powerful in creating our reality and in building an energetic movement much larger than ourselves. Researchers have also hypothesized that human energy and consciousness affect us all globally via the Earth’s magnetic field, which creates a feedback loop with the magnetic fields surrounding human brains and hearts. By consciously choosing your own energy, you may in fact be promoting a universal shift.
Where Is Your Energy?
When we discuss the light energy of the body in this book, we’ll refer to four distinct areas of focus: body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Sorting your energy into these four facets not only grows your awareness of the role each area plays in your energetic life, it helps you understand why something that appears to affect just one facet of your energy can in fact influence all four.
ENERGY OF YOUR BODY
When it comes to your body, supporting and renewing energy has its foundation in the essential health practices that you’ve been taught since childhood: good nutrition, ample water, physical activity, proper hygiene (think: brushing and flossing), adequate rest. When you don’t check these boxes regularly, you run the risk of depleting the physical components of your one precious body. As an adult, you take the basic tenets of physical wellness that you learn in childhood and learn to apply them to your unique self. For you, “good nutrition” might become a low-sugar diet that decreases inflammation, or it might be a daily superfood smoothie that feeds your body.
Physical activity might come from the stand-up treadmill desk you install in your office, or the afternoon break you take for circuit training. Not all health practices affect each of us in the same way, so pay attention to your own personal essentials to create your optimal body energy. You’ll learn in this book that you can care for and improve the health of your body by consciously brightening the energy of your mind, emotions, and spirit as well, since all four are parts of one whole. Many issues that appear to be limited to the physical body have their roots in one of your other three energy facets.
Your body energy needs more support if you experience:
That “hangry” feeling, often caused by blood sugar imbalances
Aches and pains with no clear cause
Unresolved skin issues
For your body energy, pay special attention to Energy of Movement (here), Energy of Food (here), and Energy of Sleep (here).
ENERGY OF YOUR MIND
If you made an honest list of everything that’s currently on your mind—tonight’s dinner, the conference call you have in fifteen minutes, next week’s trip, the haircut you need to schedule, your friend’s birthday, the workout you want to fit in later today, and the list goes on—I bet you’d be shocked at just how much your mind juggles at any given moment. Just because you can juggle an extensive number of items at once doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial to do so. A mind that’s constantly overwhelmed is one of the most overlooked energy drains in our modern world; it damages your physical health, emotions, and spirit just as much as your mental function. Practices that encourage extended mental focus, as well as freedom or space for ideas, invention, and feeling present, can breathe new energy into your mind, while lowering your stress, improving mental performance, and supporting digestion and blood sugar balance. We’ll look at many of those ahead.
Your mind energy needs more support if you experience:
Inability to concentrate
Insomnia due to a racing mind
Slow thinking and response time
For your mind energy, pay special attention to Energy of Work and Creativity (here).
ENERGY OF YOUR EMOTIONS
Emotional ups and downs are part of life’s learning experience. No one can be calm, positive, and composed all the time. But your default emotional state, the place your emotions go when you have time out to reset, is important to look at as a barometer of your emotional energy. If your default emotions follow an energy-depleting pattern, such as cycling through worry, anger, or lack, this reflects the energy you give attention to on a regular basis. And those dim emotional states, as you might have guessed, have been shown to compromise your ability to perform and focus, to act in a leadership capacity, to maintain good health, even to see your own value in the world and rise to your highest purpose.
Change your emotional patterns, including the way you manage and respond to your emotions, however, and you can expand your ability to focus and create, as well as lower physical markers of poor health, such as inflammation. Emotions, though they are felt, are also believed to be stored within your physical body during highly emotional experiences in your life—that is, until you actively release them. You may be able to pinpoint a place where you feel an emotion in your body right now. As you recognize and acknowledge it, you begin to express and help release it. Your emotions are signals that have tremendous impact on your energy and your inner light, especially relative to the way that light affects others. Practices like gratitude, time out to reset your emotions, and drawing out the feeling of positive emotions can elevate your emotional state and build the energy you want; we’ll explore more of these ahead.
Your emotional energy needs more support if you experience:
Defaulting to one emotional extreme, like frequent crying or anger
Inability to handle stress
Being easily triggered to explosive emotions
Allowing others to control your emotions
For your emotional energy, pay special attention to Energy of Release (here) and Energy of Your Mindset (here).
ENERGY OF YOUR SPIRIT
Your energy is as connected to your spirit as it is to your physical body, although we so often judge only the physical. Your spirit energy reflects your essence, your connection to your purpose, your values, beliefs, and what (or whom) you hold dear. Spirit energy is the energetic wild card that can pull you through the toughest circumstances and guide your life in incredible ways. But it’s so often ignored or untapped—until you truly need it. Connecting with the energy of your spirit, or your true self, can support you in feeling more fulfilled in your daily life, even if your routine hasn’t changed. If this area of your life needs more attention, jump ahead to Chapter 5 and spend time thinking about your core beliefs, the purpose you feel in your life, and how they show up in your daily routine.
Your spirit energy needs more support if you experience:
". . . the workbook of my spiritual dreams! Ms. Hart gives the reader a plan to overcome the despair that is a result of chronic illness, random health glitches, and the wild ride of hormone imbalance -- for starters! Jolene takes us into her own experience, out of a hopeless darkness and into the light with a plan that works, backed up with results! She debunks the fads, provides delicious recipes, and guides the reader to use energy to heal. I am giving this book to everyone I love. A must read!" —-Adriana Trigiani, New York Times bestselling author of Don't Sing at the Table and Tony's Wife
"With vigor and impressive rigor, Hart presents 13 lifelong spurs to personal energy including relationships, interior spaces, breath, movement, food, colors, music, play, and laughter...Practical and poetic."—-Spirituality & Practice
"This guide is simultaneously deeply heartfelt and practical. I recommend it for anyone who is struggling to find their spark through a dark night, or simply wanting to shine brighter."—-Britta Plug, Aesthetician, Health Coach, and Founder of Wildling Beauty
"Ignite Your Light reminds us that beauty and health aren't just measured by the physical - that energy is their unseen foundation. This insightful book will show you how much your energy actually guides your daily life."—-Louise Roe, fashion journalist and author of Front Roe
"Ignite Your Light reflects our deep human desire, our birthright, to be happy and abundant. With simple, soulful practices that benefit your health and balance immensely, this book can truly help you live and stay in blissful alignment within yourself and thereby creating real joy, peace, and wealth in your own, special world. It's the book you didn't realize you needed until you are reading it and having incredible insights into your life!"—-Josh Rosebrook, founder of Josh Rosebrook Skin and Hair Care and meditation expert
"If you're looking to change your life, energy is a great place to start. Ignite Your Light is the guide that just might make you reconsider, or reinvent, your routine . . . beginning with your energy."—-Ezzie Spencer, author of Lunar Abundance
Jolene Hart, CHC, is a health coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and founder of the pioneering beauty coaching practice Beauty Is Wellness. She is a former magazine beauty editor and the bestselling author of six wellness books, including Eat Pretty, Ignite Your Light, and Well-Rested Every Day. At the heart of Jolene’s work is her desire to empower readers with the ability to shape their lifelong beauty and health with simple tools and habits. Her private coaching looks at many areas of life, from stress and hormones to diet, digestion, and healthy personal care products, to help her clients look and feel their best from the inside. She lives near Philadelphia, PA.