On Being the Light

by Anja Tyson


Ok, tell me if this has happened to you. You had a frustrating day, something went wrong, you had a low grade anxiety attack (or high grade if you’re me) and you just need to blow off steam. You meet up with your friends, eat your feelings, and proceed to light and stoke a soul-cleansing bitch session to empty your mind and body of your poisonous day.

I feel like I started doing this while I was still in grammar school, it’s that inherently integrated into my habits. And even now, five years after having decided to start proactively flushing all negative energy out of my life, it has a way of creeping back in. There’s something cathartic about these completely narcissistic, unproductive moments, and as bad as the habit is, it’s a hard one to shake. As I get older and challenge myself to practice mindfulness over the only thing I can truly control – my own words and actions – sometimes I catch myself in the middle of complaining or whining or shit-talking and my inner-self cringes with embarrassment at my own words.

Last summer, Tamu and I had a big conversation about The Law of Attraction, and specifically about manifesting events into existence with our own energy. Throughout my life, I have looked back on events in search of anecdotes, as we all do when making sense of what can be best described as organized chaos. In this hindsight what I have generally found is that whenever I have asked the universe for something, that thing has generally shown up shortly thereafter. Perhaps it didn’t look like I had envisioned it, and it’s never been as literal as simply willing myself to win the Powerball (though Lord knows I’ve tried), I have found that when I want something, and when I meditate on and resolve those intentions, that thing will make its way to me in some form or another.

When I was 20 I did something extremely “20”, which was: dating a much older guy I had no business being in a relationship with. Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret had just become popular, and when I woke up in the morning he would be blasting the book-on-tape version from his laptop while he put the coffee on and worked on his mental vision board. The Law of Attraction entered my life at top volume on iTunes far too early in the morning and left for a bit after said boyfriend decided he would manifest a blonde girlfriend with the sort of bangs my hair will just never be able to pull off.  Well into my 20s, I held Rhonda Byrne personally accountable for the first and only time I have ever been dumped.

But in retrospect, when I look back on coming into my womanhood throughout those years, I was in fact doing quite a bit of manifesting of my own, and not in the most positive ways. Insecurities about my hair, my body, my ethnic identity, and my looks as they relate to the unachievable standard of commercial beauty manifested their counterparts throughout that decade. I dated men who did not truly value me, I had friends in my life who were the most present when they found it advantageous, I did not get as much satisfaction out of my work as I felt I wanted, but as I grew up and did the work to find the roots of these issues and resolve them, those issues started to disappear. If I asked the universe why I constantly found myself with partners who didn’t love me, the universe responded by giving me the work to do today to make sure I actually loved myself, without which being truly loved by others is just not possible.

I’m in Paris right now for fashion week, a trip I have been making for ten years. I’m at the end of a busy month that’s left me feeling personally and professionally depleted, the same as it does for so many other people that work in my industry. I don’t know where the first quarter of this year went, and I am starting to feel a little out of control. If there were ever a time to be ready to kvetch, this is historically the time I’d be doing it. Instead, my first night in town I had dinner with a good friend with amazing energy, who matched my efforts to redirect when things veered unproductive and filled me with her light of positivity and resilience. Being in touch with the energy of people who bring out light is important, not just because it inspires me to stay above sea level when the opportunity to swan dive presents itself, but because it inspires me to try to be that light for other people.

The term Self Care has become extremely popular in the last few years, often more in terms of marketing than much else. Self Care as it appears in every day terms means face masks, manicures, sale shopping, SoulCycle classes and any other spending that can be justified as showing yourself a good time.  My 2018 Q2 resolution, created in the taxi on the way home from dinner that night, is to reclaim the terms Self Care for what I need it to be.

I need it to be about protecting my energy, recognizing the way the world is trying to communicate to me and offer me support. And I need it to be about holding myself accountable to making the world a better place – even when the easiest route is to do nothing.

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