As a parent, I get things done. I enjoy making a healthy, balanced breakfast for my daughter while I’m trying to pack a lunch that will delight her – or at least get Michelle Obama’s approval. I get bills paid, find wonderful summer camps, coach her volleyball team, host slumber parties, and have a never ending flow of great books on her bookshelf, ready to be shared. Sometimes I’m filled with pure joy and love when doing these activities. Other times, I feel like I’m checking off a box and then moving on to the next item. How is it that I can do the same activities from one day to the next yet have such vastly different experiences doing them?
Likewise, I can go through a day rushing to make it on time to a client consultation, then discussing tasks with my staff before transitioning to writing a legal brief and taking care of a dozen other to-do list items. I can do all of this well, professionally, and somewhat… emotionless. On other days, I find energy surging through me as I fix the unfixable challenge facing a client, strategize a solution for an intractable political problem, or perfectly understand the needs of my partner and effortlessly embrace her with my love.
Some days, life seems to be no more than putting one foot in front of the other, keeping your head down and your path (mostly) straight. Others days, we can let ourselves be: startled by the pure skill of a 12-year-old doing skateboarding tricks; captivated by a cluster of trees with different shades of green and a blue sky with willowy clouds; swept up in brilliant song lyrics; or in awe at the latest scientific breakthrough to which Huffington Post alerts us.
I now have the Law of Radiance to understand these different life experiences. When I am living from my best self, my gifts are flowing through me. I notice when my “less than optimal self” starts intruding and I counter it with my best self. I notice the beauty in my surroundings, the gifts of others, and the songs of birds more. When I am connected to my Radiance, I am more present for this experience of the radiance in life. And when I am not making the choice to live from my best self, my experience is more mechanic with its mundane check boxes and never ending dishes.
The Law of Radiance encourages us to focus on our strengths, the best parts of us, the elements that infuse us with infectious energy. It encourages us to find those inner gifts and sit with them daily, focusing on ways to respond and share from our Radiance. But it’s not just limited to our internal space. Indeed, the Law of Radiance operates in our interactions with those who surround us as well. That 12-year-old doing skateboarding tricks, your partner who is acting out of loving kindness for you, your daughter who is trying to save a tiny bird who fell from its nest, your client who has mustered up the courage to put faith in you despite having been let down by other attorneys previously… All of these are the glimmers of Radiance around us.
As you focus on those glimmers of Radiance within you and surrounding you, you can begin to tie them together to create a flow of Radiance in your own life. You make space for your own Radiance to grow as you focus on leading from your gifts. Your Radiance also increases as you choose to focus on the Radiance of others. When you focus on someone else’s best self, it creates a space for their gifts to shine more frequently. Which, in turn, makes you feel happier. It’s cyclical. A positive feedback looping machine that you are operating. And it’s not just limited to those around us. A quick search on YouTube or Facebook will find people doing amazing things with their talents, or their love and selflessness, all emerging from their connection to their best parts. We can find it in the news if we know where to look; we can see it in the pages of deeply moving books and hear it in the melodies of powerful songs and hymns. Radiance is literally everywhere around us. We can choose to never see it…or we can choose to focus on it and in turn let it ease the way for our Radiance to emerge.
Even if we were to limit the Law of Radiance to our relationships, we would find our lives transformed. What many people dismiss as the “honeymoon period” of a relationship is actually the Law of Radiance being allowed to work without being weighed down by our own baggage. This so-called honeymoon period is when we see our partner at his/her best and in fact our partner is focusing on being his/her best. Perhaps the hormonal surge and our dopamine receptivity cannot be sustained at that level forever. But continuing to be your most Radiant self and choosing to focus on and thus encourage your partner’s most Radiant self, can last for a lifetime.
As I look upon past relationships, I can see the root of the failures in them so clearly. These failures mostly stemmed from my fear of choosing to stay in my own Radiance. The “romance” didn’t die a natural death; I just ran away from my best self. Instead of pursuing the dreams I had that were so vivid in my head, I got bogged down in a maddening hamster wheel of never ending work crises and home improvement projects. I was not, frankly, being my best self. Adding to the unease, it became a habit to focus on my partner’s shortcomings. I can see that this subdued her Radiance in ways that put a chill on bedtime frolicking. Dang. Nowadays, I use the Law of Radiance in the relationship with my wondrous partner. I delight in focusing on her best parts and find that she enjoys sharing them even more. I get her best, I value her best, and I get even more of her best. Cyclical. Positive feedback loop. And, just plain awesome.
Now, let’s do a mini-Law of Radiance exercise (more of which can be found at lawofradiance.org under the “Do This Today” tab). In your mind’s eye, see that on your left wrist right now is a band that simply says the “Law of Radiance.” Or maybe imagine those words written on your watch or bracelet. For the rest of the day today and tomorrow every time your left wrist flashes into your vision, think of the Law of Radiance. And then look up and find the Radiance either inside yourself or in your surrounding environment. Create that flow from sunrise to bedtime with multiple points of Radiance binding the day together. While you may not have begun the Law of Radiance “Radiator Kit”(sign up here: www.lawofradiance.org) exercises that help focus your awareness on your own Radiance, you can still do this on your own. So during this day, in every interaction you have with others, bring out that “best person” you have had inside you and be that person in that interaction. Or, look around and find someone being their best self. Enjoy that moment as you appreciate their Radiance.
I challenge you to be able to do this anywhere you are. Are you on the 405 freeway in an inexplicable traffic jam? Find the car that has been impeccably maintained and lovingly restored and appreciate the detail and commitment the owner put into it. Is your child being less than Radiant? Help your child react differently to a difficult situation by gently congratulating them on how they’ve handled that situation well in the past. Ready to be short with your partner for another frustrating experience you have had with them? Instead, remember that time they in fact came through for you brilliantly and sincerely thank them for that.
After a full day of going from one Radiance to another, look back. Recall how you have pulled Radiance from your environment and have allowed the Radiance to come through you. Now, simply breathe. And smile. Sleep the deep sleep of someone who has enjoyed their day. Then, wake up in the morning, shining brightly. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.