It was there all the time.

And so I searched for an image that would by its very nature blatantly evoke the idea of sparkling light as an external fact. It did not occur to me to refer to my own truth about what it is that we communicate naturally, unstrategically, and without being able to help ourselves: we communicate who we are. 

20160909_140233

I’ve begun a new venture: a part-time revival of the strategic communications consulting practice that helped send Seth to college while my husband and I continued to pay our mortgage and go on a few vacations.

So I set out to create a new business card. Because my creative process is often a jumble of words and images at the outset,  I started with both a word and a visual. The name I chose to encompass my new venture is Lightspeak, a name I’ve used for many years to hold the intuitive work I do. Therefore, of course, I wanted the card to show light. I played in the fields of Adobe for several hours and when I thought I had a first draft, I posted the card on facebook for  review and input by my creative, generous friends. You, yourself, may have offered your perceptive, supportive, critical advice, which caused me to revamp the card until I thought it would do quite nicely.

Lightspeak Strategic Communications

I was ready for the next step: a website. As soon as the word “website” sat in my consciousness, I realized, a bit aghast, that no, this image would not do.  Don’t ask me why — I just knew. To tell you the truth, the thought of all that yellow full size on a screen made me gag. I know I could have used the image smaller, but I wanted a large visual display.

And so I searched for a new image. I googled “sunlight through trees” — too much “the-voice-of-God.” “Sunlight on water” brought too much visual turbulence.  Then I remembered that I had taken some photos of my favorite place on the planet, the Hudson River just above Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne, and I made a new card.

Lightspeak communications Luzerne

And oh, my goodness, I felt like I had come home, found Mother after being lost in a store, awakened from a strange dream of artificiality. Of course that was the image to use.

That image pulses in my heart always. That is the view, whether in real life or as a photo, that fills me with peace.  When I am actually there, sitting on the large, flat rocks (out of sight in this photo), listening to the water rushing past me and the leaves rustling in the breeze, I feel my molecules becoming congruent with the place itself. I have commented to friends that I believe that if I were a specific bit of geography, I would be that place.

Long ago I had Vistaprint put it on a mousepad; I painted tiles to look like it and created a large ceramic work of art to hang over the stove in my last Schenectady kitchen. I ordered a version of it as wide as my bed as a headboard in my Rohnert Park bedroom, and a smaller version to hang along with some gorgeous photos of the delicious jade green Yuba River in my living room.

In all my life, there are two images that open my heart wide, wide, wide as the cosmos: Seth’s kindergarten picture and this.

Seth 5.jpg

So why did I spend hours looking for images on the web? Why did I forget that like Dorothy, I had what I needed right here at home?

Because I thought I was looking for a image to go on a business card, as if my business self had to be, of course would be, different from my real self. That rings true, doesn’t it? That’s the old paradigm.  I grew up with adults who believed that that was the way things had to be, and they promulgated the schism in their own not-so-virtuous business practices. And I, a vocal proponent for authenticity, for honoring the heart and the path within, fell into step with the line of drone-thinkers. Even remembering that “the personal is political,” I assumed that I needed to step outside my sacred, loving self because I was launching a new business venture. And so I searched for an image that would by its very nature blatantly evoke the idea of sparkling light as an external fact. (I suppose that the ability to keep catching myself in embarrassing points of view is a good thing, a sign that I am not static.)

It’s all personal.

It did not occur to me to refer to my own truth about what it is that we communicate naturally, unstrategically, and without being able to help ourselves: we communicate who we are.

Good heavens — that’s the whole point of what I do for people: I help them find how to be the person they want to communicate to others, and then I offer suggestions for how to design their communication with a plan in mind.

When I placed that scene at the top of my new business card, a giddy anticipation flooded my self-awareness. I felt myself releasing what I had not known was a tight hold on the reins of my being in the world, finding a natural gait I had never dreamed possible. I could trust myself to be who I am not just in my private, chosen communities, but everywhere.

I knew then that the only light I could offer my clients would be the light sparkling within me — as a mirror for their own. It’s my light that I offer, not some external fabrication. It’s my joy that sparks a mirroring hopefulness and eagerness in people who invite me to help them craft a version of themselves to bring into the world.

And what’s more, a new certainty rose up in my heart, surprising myself as I watch myself initiate yet another project. Before I left the world of business and salaries and working every day at something I didn’t always enjoy,  I had projected that “retirement” would be empty of external agendas and activities, leaving lots of time for wandering in nature and making art. I laughed out loud with unforeseen delight at the realization that just broadcasting myself through this image is satisfying all by itself, as satisfying as any painting I have ever finished.

Hmm. In fact, the joy of this broadcasting of self  closely approaches a vision I have not shared publicly before.

I love an audience. That’s not knew to anyone who knows me even a little. But now, this:

Eccomi: I see myself standing on a proscenium stage before an immense crowd — at least 5,000 people. Maybe more. The hot spotlight makes my face flush. Anyone sitting in the audience sees not the colors of the clothes I am wearing, but a hazy, bright shape, the light is that bright. I look at the crowd, seeing it not as a jammed-in mass of individuals, but as a pulsing, living being whose gaze I feel as a welcome invitation to announce, finally, after all this time, why I am here and what I have to offer.

I place my hand at the indentation at the bottom of my throat and move my hand down to the bottom of my torso,  unzipping myself. Placing my hands over, not touching, each side of my body, the left hand over the left side and the right hand over the right, I slowly  open my arms, bringing my hands out and away from my body completely. The light around me intensifies as I  butterfly myself, revealing and releasing from its hiding place within my flesh all the Source light within, my essential being. This light uncovers and magnifies every single truth about me. I am naked beyond naked, available for and unprotected from perusal, research, study, critical observation and discussion, wonderment and love,  and as a model of willingness to serve. I am human.

This is what we all are. We are transparent and totally visible to everybody all the time, but we need to believe that we live in an opacity that affords us privacy, because the enormity of what begins to happen to us as soon as we slide out of our first cave is terrifying, confusing, and impossible for our finite minds to hold.

Moreover, I know that each one of us, each amoeba, each cell of every body in creation, is also essentially this light seeking recognition and unification with every other expression of creation. I invite you to stand up on this stage with me. My unrelenting dream is to share this stage with everybody, all of us relaxing into the surrender of our fears to our unguarded, radiant truth.

And oh my goodness, in these words, I have just fulfilled my vision as surely as if we were really in that theater. I bow to your generosity with gratitude. Namaste.

 

 

Author: Leiah Bowden

I was born and raised in Schenectady, NY. Lived in New York City for three years to see what kind of grown up I was, traveled around the world, and moved back to Schenectady, where I lived for the next 44 years. I stayed because Mom was still here, on the planet, in this small city where she had lived all her life. When I was 60, she told me I should leave, because she knew I'd wanted to go someplace where the intuitive work I did would make sense to more than a few people, and the yearning I had to be among my kind -- wherever that might be -- would find release. I stayed because I preferred to stay rather than go and then have to come back when she would eventually need me. She died in 2010. My only child became a father in 2012. I retired, put my house on the market to live near my beloveds and be an active Nana and once more, an active mother to my grown-up son and his wife. When the house finally sold in the summer of 2015, I said a tearful goodbye to my close friends of more than 40 years and drove West. I felt nervous and excited and free and extremely, gratefully, privileged to be able to live this fabulous life. And now I am in love with my new community, am welcomed by new friends, and set myself to the task of being not only Nana, but my self, my Self: artist, writer, she who raises arms and heart and mind and opens as completely as possible to the divine

5 thoughts on “It was there all the time.”

  1. Hi Leiah,

    It’s 440AM and I am sleepless here in Southern VA. I’ve just read this wonderful pronouncement of yours and it has sparked a zillion thoughts: I have felt and sensed you here with me, even smelled your smell. You came into my space with that wonderful soul-baring beauty of a writing.

    A woman I know (Diane Brandon) is writing a second book on those who are born awake or born woke. She interviewed me for it 3 days ago. I consider myself born “woke” — meaning that although I don’t remember my actual birth (born awake does that), I have early memories of being far more awake

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for welcoming my aromatic entry into your sleepless hours! And of course for your welcoming deep into your being what I have sent out into the world. It always means so much to me. Yep, I would concur that you were “born woke.” I like the sound of that. My earliest memory of being awake — actually, my moment of awakening to myself in the world — wast at 5 years old. As I have watched Calla travel through her past year (she turns 6 tomorrow) I have wondered if she has had such a moment. I have the feeling she has — she seems very self-aware.

      Whenever you’re ready for me in person, I will welcome you. I’ll be in Schenectady all June; want to come up for a few days for a trip to that place I love so much in Lake Luzerne?

      Like

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