“And above all, if you must, shine!”*
When the day has dawned, especially, I can see you.
At the end of the day the light fades, the darkness overcomes the day and I cannot see you any longer. Every day we need new light, we rely upon a fresh dawn.
It’s a metaphor for how we need new people to bring their light. Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler describe the benefit of a prize for helping us to look at problems in new ways, but they could be describing the promise of a new dawn:
‘Prizes attract new players – outsiders mavericks, and other innovators unlikely to work within a traditional research setting.’**
It’s as if the prize acts as a light-source, making it possible for people to contribute their own weird light.^ Diamandis and Kotler provide quite a list of benefits created by a prize: it makes a problem visible, reconfigures what we think is possible by transcending societal constraints, and changes the paradigm of what people believe is possible.
This isn’t about having to offer a prize, it’s about connecting to the Source of our light and bringing our weird light into the everyday adventures we can find ourselves in. As my friend Alex McManus, reminds us, this comes with being human:
‘By virtue of conscious self-awareness, we are connected to the mystery from which we emerge.’^^
We also have this encouragement from choreographer Twyla Tharp to believe in our light:
‘I cannot think of a more compelling reason to foster the creative habit. It permits me to walk into a white room … and walk out dancing.’*^
My friend Alex once put a little video together for me – a hazy image of a person walking with Alex’s voice providing the narrative: each of us has a unique perspective to bring to our world. When our life ends that perspective is lost.
This is our light: our way of seeing, of feeling, of doing. I find the same thinking with Eckhart Tolle when he writes:
‘Each person’s life – each life form, in fact – represents a world, a unique way in which the universe experiences itself. And when your form dissolves, a world comes to an end – one of countless worlds.’^*
When we connect to our Source – be it our muse, myth, dream, god – we become more than reflectors of light – we are generators of light. We let it gain brightness we need to begin. Poet Gwendolyn Brooks wrote about our “light” as our poem:
“In writing your poem, tell the truth as you know it . Tell your truth. Don’t try to sugar it up. Don’t force your poem to be nice or proper or normal or happy if it does not want to be.”⁺
Which I guess is to say, let it be weird.
The light comes with questions because that’s what light does – it brings out our curiosity: What’s that?, What are they doing?, Where are you going?, How does that work? …
‘As in writing itself, life is not about finding the right answers. Rather it’s about asking the right questions.’⁺⁺
(*Kerry Hillcoat, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Peter Diamonds and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(^I borrow the idea of weird from Seth Godin’s We Are All Weird.)
(^^From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(*^From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)
(^*From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
(+Gwendolyn Brooks, quoted in Maria Popova’s BrainPickings.)
(++From K. M. Weilands.)
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