You Are the Light: A Heartwarming Story On Healing Past Wounds
Photo taken by Aryan Tristan in the same place where this story took place.

Shine your light on everyone you come in contact with. And let your love transform the world.“~ Luminita D. Saviuc

It was Francisco who told me about the SEALs exercise. Ex-British Navy already by the time we met each other, we were studying politics and economics at the Australian National University in Canberra, the seat of the nation’s government.

Francisco now was living with his partner and two teenage children in Sydney. I was living in Hawai’i for a spell. Social media had us reconnected and we began exchanging life experiences. I was at a turning point in my life, living in contemplation by the ocean, and realizing how my whole life had been an epic series of turning points. 

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In solitude, in my heart-chakra spot on earth, it was with force magnitude that random waves of awakening slammed in how much I had endured, how much trauma I held. It was traumatic in a way to awaken to it. It was shocking. I was shocked. And the sorrow. The grief. The simple truth of it all.

You Are the Light

Francisco’s timely prescription was the SEAL training’s self-love exercise. “You look at a childhood photo of yourself, really look. And see what happens.”

I decided to try it. 

This is what happened.

It was a black-and-white photo. I must have been around eight years old, maybe nine. I was a small child.  I stared at myself, looking, really looking. This is me, I thought, this is me as a little girl. Deep in gaze, suddenly I am her. I am back there again, in her world.

All these feelings begin to crash through me: I am terrified; I don’t feel safe; I don’t know what to do; there is no one to help me. I feel completely alone. I am a bewildered and desolate child trapped in a nightmare.

I am feeling all of it in the here and now: the pain, the terror, the profound isolation. And yet, in the picture I am smiling! The little girl, me, was smiling. I had already become proficient at disguising how alone and abandoned I felt. It was an awful thing for me to behold and realize.

It was the smile that was my unraveling. I began to cry, hard. I don’t remember ever crying like that. I turned away from the picture. I had to. The feeling was too big.

But it was with her smile that the little girl showed me her spirit, her courage. And through my violent weeping, I noticed a strange sensation begin to unfurl inside me. In my heart a soft light bloomed, expanded, and spread.

In my imagination, I saw myself scoop up the child and hold her tight.

I know what you’ve been through, I said to her, I’m so sorry. I felt a great love and tenderness.

You are not alone.

You have nothing to fear.

I will protect you.

I love you.

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This is how I communicated with the little girl who had lived in me for so long.

All of this happened fast, in minutes. The pain was brutal, it had been waiting on me for years. A cosmic fire seared, cleansed, began healing. Something new washed over me. Light. My spirit. The pain transformed into a radiant joy.

Still, I couldn’t bear to look at the photo again. I was afraid of seeing the child’s smile, my smile. I forced myself though, and when I did, something was different. Fear. Fear was absent.

I didn’t feel wary and watchful, covered in a perpetual sense of threat. It was so strange. The same picture and now I saw light, not anguish. Her eyes sparkled and her face glowed. Joy radiated from her. It was wonderful.

It’s okay, the child communicated to me, I survived, I got through it.

The light flowing from her is the light I feel inside me now. That light survived. The eternal light within.

Don’t cry, she comforted me, I made it, I did it. I felt her compassion.

We’ll do it together now, I promised, fierce like a mother. 

She understood my pain as I now understood hers.

This was my gift.


Aryan Tristan

Aryan Tristan was born and raised on a tropical island in the South Pacific. Upon completing three degrees with distinction in Australia, Aryan realized that economics, politics and international diplomacy was not for her. Two things then happened quite by chance, she became a freelance writer and an accidental nomad. A mix of laid-back island girl and world citizen, Aryan’s writings have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. Her first book ‘No Crying Aloud,’ described as a sumptuous feast of elegant verse, was snapped up by a university press more than a decade ago, but the author decided against publishing due to the inevitable ‘truth and exposure’ backlash from family.

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