Fragments of Light
In her book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and the Art of Living, Krista Tippett shares a story told by Rachel Naomi Remen.
This was my fourth birthday present [from her Hasidic Rabbi Grandfather].
In the beginning there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. In the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. The wholeness of the world, the light of the world, was scattered into a thousand thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.
Now, according to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again and thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It’s a very important story for our times. This task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew. It’s the restoration of the world. And this is, of course, a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world. That story opens a sense of possibility. It’s not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It’s about healing the world that touches you, that’s around you.
Stacy Cassio looked at the world around her and saw another generation of young women who were being steered into a narrow range of “appropriate” careers (nursing, teaching, administration) rather than being exposed to the broad spectrum of professions presented to their male counterparts.
In her early professional life she left her home in America’s mid-west to work as a nanny just out of New York City. Spending time in Manhattan was a life changing experience that impacted her vision of who she could be and what she could do in the world. She found herself opening up to a much wider range of professional possibilities that has continued in the leaps she has taken in each career move since then. “In every position I’ve had, I’ve loved the learning curve. Just to know that there’s an industry that I know nothing about, and there’s people who work in that industry. [I want to discover] how do they do it?”
Recognising the mentorship she has received directly and indirectly from women who have forged paths in every imaginable career, Stacy founded Pink Mentor Network to share that inspiration with others. She knows first hand the power that sharing the stories of women who have “been there and proven they can do that” inspires and encourages others to do the same.
The Network’s website connects with women online, celebrating the broad and diverse range of careers available to all genders and encourages members to share details of their experiences.
This week, Stacy hosted the Network’s first in person event “Finding Your Voice” in Charlotte, North Carolina. Billed as a night to share between mother and daughter, the dinner had three featured speakers, founder of Girls Rock Charlotte, Sports Reporter from WBTV and Alma Adams, a United States Congresswoman. Opportunities for real connection like this are priceless. A teenage girl who is interested in politics was able to meet and speak with her Congresswoman, and women of various ages and experience were able to connect and share their stories.
Stacy is humble and thankful to the “organisations that gave me the opportunity to build this enormous toolbox” of skills that has taken with her from one role to the next, but I think the real power she is leveraging is her passion to overcome any fears about “who am I to take on this challenge” or “do I have any right to lead in this way” in order to achieve her bigger goal.
Rachel Naomi Remen went on to say about her grandfather’s story:
“I’m not a person who is political in the usual sense of that word, but I think that we all feel that we’re not enough to make a difference, that we need to be more somehow, wealthier or more educated or otherwise different than the people we are. And according to this story, we are exactly what is needed. Amd to just wonder about that a little: what if we were exactly what’s needed? What then? How would I live if I was exactly what’s needed to heal the world?”
Stacy Cassio recognised that she was exactly what was needed to start Pink Mentor Network. She lit the spark, which has begun a stirring and looks set to become a movement.
This post is a tribute to Stacy and the rock star she is. Her enthusiasm, passion and commitment to bringing her vision to life inspires me constantly. And it’s a call to you. Each of us is one of a thousand thousand fragments of light and we all have an opportunity and obligation to find the hidden light in the events and people we connect with, to help heal the world that touches us.
You are exactly what’s needed.