On this grand planet, each place holds a unique light. Have you noticed?
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, even contemplating its death.
In fact, the phenomenon of light has always struck me as fascinating. I’ve lived and traveled in so many different places around the world over the years — each with its own, distinct light — and my experience in each is always tied to the character of its light. I’m also simply obsessed with how much it feeds my soul.
Los Angeles has a golden glow. You can easily identify it on celluloid (or, I suppose now, 4K RED’s progeny). When I worked in the film and television industry, we used to remark on it all the time — how easy it was to tell whether something had been filmed in Los Angeles, or just Vancouver posing as Los Angeles, based on the presence of that golden hue.
Vancouver contains a sepia saturation even when the clouds aren’t shedding their tears. The light here is the essence of a wise mystic — some might even call her a crone, but whether in dread or awe, it wouldn’t phase her.
In L.A., the light is far younger — to be expected in a place so petrified by aging. She blazes and dances with absolute abandon, indiscriminately and entirely unapologetically flashing the world with her blinding beauty and strength, and making everything she touches feel a bit unworthy of her notice.
Paris’ light is softer, dare I say romantic? She catches in the shadowed curves of naked marble and limestone. And, like everything else here, she holds a mysterious, undefinable sophistication and seduction in her rays. We feel humbled and supremely lucky as she graces us with her glory, gliding through the party of life, pausing when she feels amused, disappearing without warning and reappearing with a wink and a fresh glass of Chardonnay.
Oslo’s light is the Yang to Paris’ Yin. He has an edge, though somewhat blunted. He’s a taunting, temperamental beast, withholding affection until you perform a blood sacrifice and claim a fur pelt for yourself, perhaps due to his inferiority complex when held to measure against the power of the land here. But he never admits true defeat, forever battling the good fight against the weight of the earth.
The light in Denver is a fresh-faced kid on the verge of adolescence — fearlessly energetic and able both to wound and to enlighten with a single burst of forthrightness. He eagerly reveals the wonder and awe of life without discrimination or fuss.
There’s also the mesmerizing crassness of Athen’s light. In contrast with the simpler, yet more fierce, incarnation found in Santorini. Different, again, from what one encounters in Santos — another island, in a different country (Brazil), which somehow carries more ghosts in his beams. Or the light of Prague, jovial when not grumpily hung over. And Lhasa’s, with her avenging blankets of cold fire.
Life is sustained by light.
Whether Yin or Yang, subtle or brash, light guides and informs us. It shapes how we show up, whether we pause long enough to acknowledge it or not. It has its seasons and moods, as we do.
When was the last time you stopped, really STOPPED DOING, to check in with the light in your corner of the world, just to say hello?
Then, there’s the light WITHIN.
The light that illuminates our potential, our power, our truth.
The light that guides our needs and desires, our purpose and our play.
The light that we’re so often afraid to release.
We cannot be afraid to shine.
What is the character of your inner light? Is she fatigued or shooting off sparks? Is he flickering in uncertainty or nimble with possibility? Is she stuck behind curtains of shame or singeing those who dare dim her down?
Take a moment to really see all the qualities of your inner light. Perhaps, invite it to a tea.
Maybe make it a party of three — you, your inner light and the one that informs your outer world.
Do you all get along? The conversation could be stilted, from shyness, coyness or discomfort. You may need some time to warm up to each other, clear the air and recall your common connection. Or you may be such a good fit, the time flies as you bask in each other.
What happens, though, if you discover you’re like strangers rather than old, best friends? If you no longer have anything in common? Or don’t even recognize each other?
Then, it’s time for a change. Your currently light — inner, outer or both — no longer suits your needs, much less your desires.
That was the deep motivation behind my own recent geographical move. When I threw the tea party for me, my self and my corner of the world (Los Angeles), I discovered I really wasn’t thrilled by the company.
It was time to change my lights. (It seems Paris contains my current best spectrum.)
And, honestly, we always know when our lights need changing, when it’s time to go from florescence to incandescence.
The key is to believe you deserve the best light. And then create your best circumstances to shine.
Nothing grows in the dark.
So, I wonder, what’s the character of light in your corner of the world, and in your self, and is it your best light? Share your conversation below!