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Everything is Illuminated

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Photo by Sixteen Miles Out / Unsplash

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week, we explored that stackable realm of Tupperware, finding stories and rhythms in the most unexpected of places. Did you fit this exercise into a snack break or was your creative energies juiced by clearing out the break room fridge? Maybe you fabricated a new musical instrument out of leftovers! What would that tuning fork look like? Perhaps you created a Tupperware tableau, giving new meaning to the phrase “storage wars”. However you spent your creative energies, I hope you stored away a little bit for this week’s creative nudge. 

The thing that will help us focus this week is something that combines light, warmth, and scent and may be found in any room in your house, but I bet they’re banned from your office cube. I’m talking about candles!

Candles have been a source of illumination and inspiration for at least five millennia. Beeswax or soy, synthetic and gels, there’s a candle for just about any lifestyle or purpose. They're not just accessories that make your room look and smell better. They provide that elusive sense of ambience not possible with a mere light bulb. They magically make an ordinary space into a multisensory extravaganza.  

Create your very own festival of lights while Hanukkah is observed here and around the globe this week; try or more of these artistic prompts designed to nudge you towards a more creative and magical day. 

  1. Six Word Stories: Light a scented candle and close your eyes. Is that vanilla, lavender, or something more exotic? Allow the scent to guide you to a memory or inspire a story. Write a piece of sensory laden flash fiction using the emotions evoked.
  2. Put it on Wax: Watch wax melt. Notice how it pools around the wick, forms patterns, and drips down the side. Use this as inspiration for a visual piece or reform that warm wax into a new shape.
  3. Take Your Temperature: Hold your hand a safe distance above the candle and feel the heat. Move your hand slowly around the candle, noticing the variations in temperature. Reflect on how warmth affects us, both physically and emotionally. 
  4. Candle Meditation: Even an unlit candle can support a short meditation practice. Candles are part of many religious and secular cultural practices. Give yourself a few minutes of restorative rest from your busy digital lifestyle.

Candles, with their soft glow and comforting warmth, are more than just sources of light; they are symbols of hope and celebration. They are a low-cost home decor hack! As you light a candle this week, take a moment to bask in its glow, to reflect on the joys and challenges of the past year, and to kindle the flame of creativity within you. May the light of the candles bring warmth, inspiration, and joy into your home and heart.Note: This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.