Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Enlightenment in the dark

Last night, Saturday, March 28, at 8:30pm I joined millions of others around the planet who chose to turn off all the lights for an hour - including the TV.

I had a nice fire sparkling in the fireplace and got a lot done around the house using a small lantern for light.

I'm a gadget girl - I have something practical to assist every occasion (lots of tools as well), and this little powerful, battery-powered buddy beamed my way brightly.

After doing a number of housekeeping chores, I looked at my single AA battery-operated clock. Positive at least a half hour had passed since "lights out," imagine my surprise when I saw I had only been doing all that work for ten minutes.

So I continued to take care of minor organizing, dusting, polishing and cleaning tasks I'd been postponing. Which took approximately five minutes.


OK. What else can I do? I folded laundered clothes and put them away. My computer was running on its battery, but I had taken care of all the work I had to do with it. I have a 7-hour battery for it because I love to write when I travel.

Maybe read. Yes, the lantern was bright enough, so I looked at my stack of "to read" material.

I'm on a hot Voltaire streak now. Buying used books online is my addiction. I never get only one book to start with, I get every book written by or about a subject that takes my fancy.

Not really enough time to delve into something so complex as his works and his biographies.


I texted my assistant, Aaron - whose household was also honoring the blackout. "Time passes slowly in the dark," I wrote.

"Yeah. Just like in the old candle days," he replied.

He made the ultimate sacrifice. A former professional soccer player himself, he's an ardent Seattle Sounders FC (football club) fan, and "lights out" struck right in the middle of their game with Real (pronounced ree-aaal', not re'-al) Salt Lake FC. Surrounded by soccer fans himself, they decided to tape the game and watch it delayed after "lights on."

Very cool. Of course he is making Sounders fans of we who work with him as well.

But I decided, since I hadn't thought to tape the game, I would just watch the end to see who won. The Sounders did, 2-0. Their second season win in a row, leaving the opposing teams scoreless.

Now it's almost 9pm. Another half hour to go.

So I decided to sit back, surrounded by my three affectionate dogs and cuddly cat, and contemplate time and darkness.

When I go camping I love the feeling of being at one with nature and living at her pace. I don't wear a watch because at one time, working as a reporter in television and radio, I was welded to the clock. Always thinking hours ahead - of making deadlines, of what I needed to get done to get the report, the interviews and stories edited in time for the newscasts or to go on live. Our minute would feel like the ordinary person's half hour.

That has actually helped my film directing work. Planning ahead in pre-production helps a shoot go much more smoothly than if anything is left for the last minute.

Petting my furry creatures who typically nap next to or on my lap when I am stationary, I decided to turn out the lights any time in the future I feel time fleeting. It felt great to be motionless, to enjoy the fire and even see the stars flicker outside my window.

I meditate twice a day - morning and evening, but don't necessarily need darkness to ponder all the universe has to offer.

It felt good to know that tens- possibly hundreds of millions of people just like me around the planet chose to cut off our lights voluntarily and contemplate what others must live with all the time. There are still many areas in the world without electricity, including within the USA.

I recall a government program that was supposed to help a Northwest Native American tribe several years ago by giving them refrigerators and other appliances, only to discover they did not have electricity - after they had been delivered.

Saturday night's "Lights Out" venture was not instigated by any government, but many leaders throughout the world included their nations, communities, cities, villages and historical landmarks in the effort to make the world aware that if we all joined in turning out our lights for just one hour at a time when we would ordinarily have them on, we could save phenomenal energy output.

What I decided to do: turn out my lights for an hour when I would ordinarily have them on at least once a week from now on.

Trundling around the house with my little lantern taking care of business was comforting, in a strange way. To think that I'm saving energy as well? Can't be a bad thing.

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  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger The Entertainment Corner said…

    A nice quiet evening with the pets and a lovely fire in the fireplace ... I could handle such a relaxing scene for more than just one hour :)

  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger cp said…

    I know what you mean, MM! As I said, I intend to spend more time doing just that!

    Interestingly, this entry received the most hits of any blog I posted in March!

    Go figuah.


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