Finding your next big idea and how to embrace it in this part of life can be especially profound and exhilarating. It’s more than an aha moment; it’s enlightenment. So as I recently prepared for and moved through my July 4 holiday weekend, I found myself involved in experiences centered around light. It started off with not your ordinary yoga class. This one took place as we circled around Leo Villareal’s “Volume,” a three-dimensional matrix of mirror-finished stainless steel and over 20,000 white LED nodes programmed by software that cycled through patterns and movements set to pulsating music. The piece has been described as “a dazzling tone poem that draws the viewer into a deep, abstract space as it warps temporal and visual perception.” The meditating went easy that night.
Actually, my evening didn’t start there. Caryl and I met at the main public library for a panel discussion on "In Search of Purpose, Passion and a Paycheck" intended for the over 40 and 50 crowd. No one would argue the library isn’t a fount of enlightenment. While I’m sure this was a learning experience for many in the packed theater, the focus was more on social purpose and responsible passion and little on the oh so necessary paycheck, which is why I think most attendees were there. The organizations (The Transition Network and Coming of Age) that ran the event and the speakers were presenting options that took advantage of your skills in take-charge but mostly volunteer scenarios. While I do admire them, I don’t have the luxury yet of being able to immerse myself in a “giving back” mode. (I still have a daughter in college.)
Onto the beach and the usual flow of house guests for a holiday weekend. With a break in the inn-keeping duties, I was off to see “Tree of Life” with my aunt and cousin. Please don’t begin to think I’m going to give you any kind of a critique of a film that on one hand won the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year and has been described as pure visual poetry and on the other has sparked a discussion of what makes a film boring and has a running tally of walk-outs on Twitter. Suffice it to say the film provokes thinking on the beginning and end of life and the “What am I doing here?” in the middle. And there is a flickering flame that has been thought to represent the creator. That flame is part of Thomas Wilfred’s "Opus 161," a light installation designed in the 1960’s that manipulates and refracts light into billowing clouds of color. It’s another light show that you can get lost in to contemplate what’s next, at least I did.
Then the weekend culminated in the ultimate light show – fireworks! And not just any fireworks but the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, viewed right from my balcony or that outdoor office I told you about last week. What can I say about this light show? Just that it was beautiful and fun and it reminded me that venturing out on one’s next role or engagement should be enlightening but if it’s not also fun, it’s not worth the trip.
Recap of links:
1) Leo Villareal’s light installation, “Volume”
2) Organizations that help define your next life, The Transition