Referencing Light in the Ways You Show Up
In the plight of our respective lights coming together in community, workplace, and family, you may have heard comments about how you show up. In many ways, how you show up is a reflection of your inner light. The phrase “You light up a room,” often refers to the energy you bring to a space simply by being you. It’s the light from within you that captures people’s attention. On the other hand, the phrase “Your light might be too bright for them,” generally translates to someone being intimidated by you. “Don’t dim your light,” is often the advice those who love you give in response to that phrase, by the way. I share with you today that it is a-okay to let your light shine in every space you grace. Yes, let your light shine for all the world to see.
Lighting is a Work of Art
When doing a photo shoot, shooting a movie, or a standup on camera, there is often someone on the team who is in charge of lighting. Their job is to focus on how the light shows up to capture to mood and the essence of the moment. Their job is to bring out the creator’s vision and influence what the viewer should see and feel when they see the finished piece. Oftentimes, the lighting for a cover shoot is bright. Whereas the lighting for something romantic has dim lights with a slightly brighter light on the item the viewer should see as the main focal point. In much the same way, you can adjust your light for the way you want to show up and the way you want to be received. You can be as bright as the sun when you walk into a room. The benefits of doing such could warm the room, and make the people around you feel welcome. At the same time, showing up as brightly as the sun at high noon on a hot summer day could be so intense that some people might need to take refuge after a short while. Yes, let your light shine. Also, be aware of how your light might naturally impact others.
Lighting has such relevance to imagery, there are computer programs and apps that focus on just that, lighting. Take for example the program by Adobe called Adobe Lightroom. The program focuses on the lighting in a photo to bring things into focus, smooth out skin tones, and use filters for softer effects. My encouragement to you, and a reminder to myself is this: Practice honing your light. Light can be so focused that it becomes a laser that can cut through steel. Light can also illuminate an area to light the way forward. Light can soften a space, and make it feel more inviting.
My friend and videographer, Mike Tavares, is a lighting genius. He helped me with this crazy idea I had of doing short videos verbalizing the inspirational statements I would post to social media. My thought was that we would shoot every day. I would write and post something on social media at the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, we would shoot it. When the first day of shooting happened, he set up the scenery in the background. I thought, “Great! I’ll just sit here and we can begin shooting.” No. That’s not how a professional like Mike works. He had me sit down in front of the camera and then he began lighting it. A big lamp here, some throw lighting there, and only 1 lamp was in the actual shot. Everything else was for effect. After 45 minutes of him being the masterful artist he is, we were ready to shoot. The finished video, including the intro, is about 1 minute long. Writing took 10-15 minutes. Getting dressed and doing hair and makeup was another 5 minutes. Shooting probably took 2 minutes. Post-production probably took 10 minutes. The thing that took the longest was lighting. In that moment, a new appreciation for light, outer and inner emerged. If Mike to take that much care to set up the lighting for a 1-minute video, surely I can pay attention to the light I carry. Surely, we can pay more attention to the light we carry.
Here’s a link to one of the videos: Believe with Toni Teague (Power of Yes)
The Light We Carry
I am a natural extrovert. When I am around people, my batteries are usually getting charged up by them. Just the thought of being with people and having the opportunity to interact and learn more about their stories amps me up. As my internal wattage increases, so does the light I give. At a conference, this could be a really good thing. As a presenter, this, too can be great. However, meeting the person who is emitting lower wattage might find the brightness curious, but intimidating. In a meeting where I am called to be a supporter rather than a leader, it is my responsibility to ensure that my lighting is properly paced, with the right intensity, and filters, as needed.
The photo in this post is one that I snapped one evening last summer. I was out with one of my best friends who took me out to dinner to celebrate my recent graduation from Grad School. The light inside was a candle. The shade surrounding it diffused the light in such a way that it was captivatingly whimsical. The image the light gave off reminded me so much of my friend. Inviting, warm, fun, so much character, and so elegant! This image made me wonder if my light can show up like this sometimes. My natural light can often be like a naked high-wattage bulb. You are happy for it to be pointing in a direction that lights the way, but it needs a bit of a filter. This isn’t a criticism of myself or my light. It’s wisdom. It’s feeling good about the light I carry, and having the confidence in my intuition about how to best place that light.
My encouragement to you is this: Yes, let your light shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Work to become increasingly aware of how your light shows up. It will help you to better strategize and live in your power. The result can mean being self-empowered, better able to connect, and more liberated. Let’s love the light we carry, and continually find new ways to filter and adjust our light to do all of the good things that our light can do.
Practice Sharing Your Light
As you prepare for your next meeting, family gathering, or conference, etc., consider checking in with yourself about your lighting:
What is my energy/lighting like?
What lighting does the situation call for?
Are there adjustments to my internal light that I could make to have a better impact on the situation?
Am I willing to make the adjustment to my lighting?
Am I able to make adjustments to my lighting?
As you journal or reflect on this, please share your thoughts. How does the awareness of the light you carry, and the power to adjust it for effect impact you?