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Sunday 9 February 2020

Looking for the light

My chin rests on the moulded plastic support, and I gaze straight ahead. In less than a second, I’m floating weightlessly in an infinite sea of pure white with only a single black dot in the centre to anchor me. I settle onto the stool and feel my shoulders drop ever so slightly. I’m instantly transported to an art installation in MASS MoCA, and a smile creeps across my heart. With the remote control firmly in the grasp of my right hand, I let the memory dissipate and exhale. For a moment, there’s nothing; just me in the vastness of blank space.
Flash - the tiniest point of illumination grabs my attention just to the right of centre. Click - I push the button and wait. Flash - another one, this time bottom left. Click – my focus moves around, spotting and catching the momentary flashes that appear and disappear in a playful dance.
Just as I’m beginning to enjoy the solitude of this game, I switch eyes and get lost once again.
As the Optometrist talks me through the results of my almost perfect peripheral vision, my mind begins to race. I think about everything that’s happened over the past couple of years: the unspeakable heartbreak, the nurturing hope of new love, all of which, I never saw coming.
Even with working vision, there will always be some things that slip past our periphery. I can’t help but feel the secret is in the softening of our gaze, to place our attention a little closer to home and rest on that space within.
And as I gently close my eyes to the world, everything suddenly shifts into focus.

Thursday 9 January 2020


The man with the buggy wriggles his way into the crowded lift as we all shuffle backwards. The door closes, and in less than a second, we are on our way up. With nothing but the sound of mechanical whirring to mask an uncomfortable silence, I casually glance through the glass wall to the shoppers below before snapping my head back.
Ping – third floor.
The man with the buggy disappears, followed by a couple laden with bags. I watch the door slide across once more and feel the familiar glide upwards. By the time we reach the mall observation area, the lift is almost empty.
Ping – sixth floor.
I step out into the glass canopy and feel the beginnings of fear swirling in my throat. Gripping onto the metal handrail that snakes around the wall, I slowly ascend the narrow stone steps one at a time as my heart pounds inside its chest. Heights have never been my thing. Yet here I was, at the start of a new decade, with a new challenge.
When I finally reach the transparent edge, I take a deep breath and look out over the horizon. Dark, grey clouds kiss the top of the mountains in the distance and my eyes fix on the bright yellow cranes that once brought the Titanic to life.
Then a thought occurs to me: within a decade, we can experience so many things; some exhilarating, some thought-provoking, some challenging. And sometimes fear will pop up just long enough to hold us back. But if we stop for just one second and take a peek into the darkness, we might just realise that we are brighter and braver than we ever thought possible.