Shining some light / by Susie Lubell

Let your light shine

Let your light shine.
Be a source of strength and courage.
Share your wisdom.
Radiate love.
-Wilferd Peterson

Listen, I try to let my light shine. But sometimes it feels like the awful light I'm getting from the fluorescent bulb I just installed in my studio. It's airplane lavatory light. I try to be brave and wave my awesome flag. I try to radiate love but sometimes people suck and I have no love for any of them. Like when my phone was stolen at the art fair I attend every Friday. Until that happened I was loving the fair. I was radiating a lot of love. Love for Jerusalem. Love for handmade treasures. Love for cool Israeli artists. Love for tourists. But then some guy grabbed my phone while it was sitting on my table and I was looking down at my sketchbook and suddenly I was radiating something that felt a lot more like hate. And anger. And disgust. I suddenly noticed the unsavory elements of the fair.  I noticed broken glass and spent syringes on the ground. I noticed all the dog shit on the sidewalk. Everyone looked like they were about to steal from me. And then I didn't sell anything the rest of the day or even two weeks later when I returned to the scene of the crime. My jeweler neighbor said it looked like the only thing I was radiating was my bad mojo. She told me to go for a walk.

So I took a walk and I tried to channel some love. I remembered something my friend Lori wrote a while ago when she was pulled over for speeding and instead of cursing the cop who pulled her over she tried to meditate on her love for him and all people. She remained positive and considered him a dear friend for saving her from a devastating auto collision. He deserved her love and gratitude. They ended up having a friendly conversation and he dropped the charge to the minimum which was a much smaller fine and no insurance points. Wow.  So I meditated on love. This did not cause the guy to return my phone. He reportedly came back to see what else I had left lying around while I was on my walk.

I tell you it is not easy for me to radiate love, the kind that seems so popular today. It feels contrived. A lot of people swear by it. There's a lot of gratitude speak out there - books, blogs, motivational speakers. People are absolutely radiating love and gratitude and I marvel at how easily it comes to them. Or maybe it's hard work for everyone at first. But maybe its effects can be felt even when they are not at first totally sincere. Like smiling. They say that smiling, just the physical act of contracting those muscles around your mouth and eyes upward, releases the same endorphins as when your face smiles on its own from something truly pleasing. You don't have to even want to smile to get the benefit of smiling which, in turn, can cause the real deal. Maybe it's the same for love and gratitude. With enough practice it eventually becomes real and grows and swirls back to you in unexpectedly wonderful ways.