Light and shadow. Perhaps the most powerful creators of mood, tone, atmosphere.
The slow, seeping brightness of early dawn. Dappled, yellow morning light, filtering down through leafy branches. The mid-afternoon sun throwing everything into shadowy relief. A candle glowing on a frosty windowsill. Silver-pale moonlight throwing long shadows across fresh snow.
Light and shadow help create our basic three-dimensional awareness of reality. Less literally, they represent the fundamental dualities– good and bad, yin and yang, known and unknown. Feeling ‘lighthearted’ is a wonderful, positive emotion, while thinking ‘dark’ thoughts feels negative, even dangerous.
Have you ever been told “why can’t you just lighten up?” and internally growled. It’s not that easy.
Actually, maybe it sort of is that easy.
Seriously, ask yourself this question: are you getting enough light? Unless you live in a lovely equatorial region and spend a fair amount of time outside, the answer may well be no. We all generally know that sunlight is necessary for the activation of Vitamin D, a nutrient that is essential to our physical health, but did you know that Vitamin D may also play an important role in elevating mood? Sunlight is free and available to just about anyone, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try. Go for a walk outside, eat your lunch in the park, or meditate under a skylight. Even if you’re very agoraphobic and don’t feel comfortable leaving your house or even your room, replace your lightbulbs with full-spectrum bulbs, which imitate the warm glow of sunlight, or position yourself near a sunny window for 20-30 minutes or more. It truly does make a difference. If you live somewhere where it’s dark or grey for much of the year, consider investing in a full-spectrum therapy light, a commercially available and popular treatment for depression.
What’s your favorite way to light up your life?