It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The times may be dark, but we will see ourselves better through the luminous glow of relationships. When we can’t revel in the rays of the sun, at least we can bask in the shine of relationships and enhance that glow for others.
Wintry rainy days have surrounded us, changing the landscape and increasing our isolation. Our friends, family and connections have become a source of light in these times. I am still surprised how many new business meetings over a videoconference, begin with both parties sharing their experiences, light and dark of the recent months. In our struggles with the pressures of isolation, we have discovered the light that shines from others.
Everybody shines, just not in the way of the cheesy self-help books. The play of light is simple physics. Everybody reflects the light they receive. Without light reflecting off them to our eyes, we wouldn’t see them at all. Like bokeh to a camera lens, every single person is a amorphous and luminous glow in our landscape. The way we engage with others sharpens them into focus. Everyone has the potential to bring a moment of brightness into our day.
Fish in the sea are luminous so that they can recognise one another; might not men and women also exude some kind of speechless luminescence to those akin to them?Angela Carter
Not everyone does. Some people manage to defy the simple physical laws of reflection. Many people make a room, a call or a conversation darker than it was before. Like an anomalous event horizon they absorb light, happiness and energy and let none escape. This is not always aligned to the topics they discuss or their mood. There are those who make the place darker sharing their joy and good news. The light is trapped by the black holes inside them. Those blackholes are usually their self-centredness, self-interest and self-regard. The best we can do with these people is leave them to their own darkness.
We can instead move towards those who are luminous, making them brighter in our lives. We can take the feeble bokeh blur of our incipient relationships and reach out to these bright lights with questions. We can listen to their circumstances, experiences and emotions. In the growing understanding we will discover a growing light. We will bring their light into focus.
To me, life, for all its privations, is a luminous thing. You have to risk it.Jeanette Winterson
We can find, foster and engage more with those who can shine brighter. We all know these people. Even in the distance or in a moment they bring a glow to a conversation, an interaction or a moment. This glow is not a consequence of status, power, charisma, topic or emotion, it comes from their energy and enthusiasm for others and for the world. It comes for their care, concern, and understanding of us and others. This is the light of engagement, empathy and compassion.
Many of those who glow brightest are grappling with sadness and challenges. Despite, or because of, their challenges, they still give their light to others, reaching out beyond their own circumstances. Our task is to help them to sustain the light that they share by repaying their illumination with our own care, concern and understanding. The light we share with our concern will be reflected many times again.
A muddled distant light can offer a destination in dark times. Only when we reach out with understanding will that light resolve into the luminous potential of a new and richer relationship.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.Plato