Gratitude and the Frequency of Light

Lauren Mantecon, Mingle, mixed media and oil on panels, 42x37, 2019

Lauren Mantecon, Mingle, mixed media and oil on panels, 42x37, 2019

My partner Steve is a man of few words. He is practical, grounded and laconic by nature.

So, when he leaned in close at 4:00 am one morning to whisper his advice- I listened.

It was if he could hear what I was thinking as I stared into the shadows moving along the wall. As I watched a deep indigo float to subtle grey- the thoughts grew louder.  They were ping ponging with bleakness, despair and drama, overwhelming me with what if’s and stories of a raveled, tangled past undone.

He said:

“If you find yourself in the dark, go light a candle.”

Since he whispered those words, I have come to discover they have their roots in an

old Chinese proverb: 

"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

In following the wisdom of my beloved and the Chinese ancients, I did just that. I fumbled my way to the kitchen, and in ritualistic style placed a single candle on an empty kitchen table and lit a match.

I could not help but to laugh out loud at the simplicity, absurdity and brilliance of the moment.

The achromatic shadows began to transform - a slow pull towards a warm shimmer. A plume of smoke - grey, purple, white with an effervescent glow.

A synthesis of light.

Suddenly I was overcome with tremendous gratitude.

I did not want the feeling to dissipate. I wanted it to stay with me like a wave over shore line - humbled by the complexity of the land. 

Gratitude. In large or small doses it does not matter - gratitude can alleviate the looming shadows.

Here is my short gratitude list -the places where the flickering light in the darkness reminds me of who and what I am.

What is on your list?

pink clouds

organic cotton

my two legs that can take me down my stairs and out my door

the aroma of coffee

monsoons where wet meets dry, electrifying land and air

my studio overflowing with boxes of uncapped paint- beckoning

musings on the mysterious unknown universe

dappling sunlight on the bottom of an outdoor pool while swimming

summer gardens

horizon line ascending into midnight blue as day turns to night

trees large and small

rocking chairs

The magnetic pull  of “place”


golden light

the infectious resonance of emotional grace

And the soft spoken words from a partner when coming out of the dark:

“You have an eye and you have a heart and those are two really good places to start.”

I am thrilled to be hosting writer Pam Houston author of Cowboys are my Weakness and Deep Creek- Finding Hope in the High Country for a writing workshop  “Turning the Physical into Life Story.”  At the heart of the workshop will be an examination of the physical stuff of your life and how you can use it to gain access to the emotional stuff.  Come join us to learn how to access your rich interior creative landscape.

Also, I will be hosting two -one year-long “Dive Deep” programs that start in January and April 2020. These programs are an enriched study for those that have either taken workshops from me in the past or are serious about the act of creating. I have 3 spots left so message me for an application. Over fourteen months, the programs will consist of zoom sessions and three in-person workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Thank you for your reading,

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For private and long distance local mentoring sessions- click here.