ABCs of Positivity: B Is for Brilliance & Balance
There was a time, not long after my son was born and I placed him with his adoptive family*, the nights were incredibly difficult. His birthfather moved out two weeks to the day after Eric was born, so I hopped on a plane to San Francisco the next day to visit my best friend. That was a week-long respite, but then I had to come home and be alone in my apartment every night. I am a night owl, by nature – my typical sleep hours are 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. So finding the night times lonely and sad, I felt as though each one stretched for days. But then the morning would come – the brilliance of the sun would pierce the darkness, and I could breathe again.
The sun is no doubt brilliant – but that’s not the only meaning of the word. We sometimes also think of people as brilliant. Who’s the first person who comes to mind when you think of the word? Is it someone famous or someone you know personally? Is it a specific individual or a type of person, like an artist or a scientist?
Brilliance also is used to describe very bright colors. Not too long ago, I was driving through Old Town Scottsdale on a cloudy, dreary, rainy day, quite atypical for the desert. Then the sun broke, and to the east I saw a full double rainbow. First time I’d ever seen a full double bow – and brilliant is the most accurate word to describe the colors.
Whether it’s light or bright colors or some measure of intelligence, brilliance lends itself to positivity. Like pretty much everything, we could ascribe negative virtues to it – but that’s in diametrical opposition to the point here, isn’t it?
Why should we seek brilliance?
(1) Brilliance can lift us out of depression or anxiety. As my friend Cat Cohen is famous for saying, looking for the silver lining (brilliance) is one way out of grief. Last year, Cat lost her husband of 25 years to a brain tumor – and while she was devastated, she followed her own advice and always sought the silver lining, never losing her peace or her sense of humor.
(2) Brilliance – our own or that of others – can help us see things more clearly so we can troubleshoot and problem-solve. As a sighted person, have you ever tried finding something in the dark? You feel around all over the place, but turn the light on and it’s right there in front of you.
(3) Brilliance can pull us out of our routine to change things up. You can literally dress up a drab outfit with a colorful scarf or accessory. You can give a whole new look to your yard or porch with some colorful flowers.
Even as we seek brilliance, we must remember to aim for balance. As a kid, I thought our summer nights went on forever in Phoenix; dusk would finally come near 8 p.m. Then we visited my aunt in Alberta, Canada, where sundown is a full two hours later. We were sent to bed while the sun was still up – and I had a really difficult time sleeping. Brilliance can be restorative – but we still need occasional darkness.
I adapted the life wheel used by many coaches for my book, Get in the G Zone, as a suggestion for places to begin to express gratitude. But it is also a good tool for assessing where we may be out of balance. If you had to rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 in each of the categories on this wheel, do you have a number of them ranked from 7 to 10? A number that rank from 1 to 4? Are you mostly in the middle? It’s unlikely most of us could ever say we ranked a 10 in every category. But if you’ve got five 10s and five 1s, you are probably a bit out of balance.
There’s a truism that says: You can do everything, just not all at once. I am often frustrated by this because there are so many things I want to do. So many books I want to read. So many subjects I want to learn more about. Just yesterday, I wanted to sit outside with my dog, go to the store, get some work done for a client, and make a new collage – all at the same time. I am not a superhero – I got all of them done in a balanced way, one at a time over a number of hours.
Life is tricky and can be busy. Success requires that we make choices, which often means negotiating a delicate balance.
Stay in balance by making sure to take a few minutes of quiet time every day. You can do it – just schedule it and honor yourself by keeping the commitment. I’m pretty sure that once you start fitting it in, you won’t give it up for any reason. Pray, meditate, quiet your thoughts. If you can, spend time in nature. Pay attention to what you’re putting both into your body and into your mind.
Finding balance as you pursue brilliance will lead to an overall more positive experience in life.
- Read more of my adoption story at Eric’s Other Mother.