Hang around here for a while and you’ll notice that I feel a strong draw to the sun. The physical thing we see up in our skies, yes. That thing that keeps us warm, but also any other manifestation of it. Symbols of the sun; the color yellow. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Perhaps it’s being born and raised under sunshine skies, perhaps it’s being told I have a “sunny” disposition. Hey, maybe it’s a little bit of both and a whole lot of a lot more.
Several years ago I found a word for it. Fun fact: it’s actually what I originally wanted to name my blog.
Sonstrale (“sohn-strah-luh” – ok that is 100% my own made up explanation on how to pronounce it. Maybe you should just Google it.) is Afrikaans for sunbeams.
I told a friend about it at the time. I told him that I had suddenly rediscovered that that there was so much in my daily life that deserved appreciation. I told him it felt like walking through a clearing and seeing the beams of sunlight break through the trees. I was suddenly acutely aware of just how lucky I am to be here. I was seeing big things, little things, it didn’t matter. It could be the way my lemon yellow keychain looked on a blue velvet chair. It could be looking around and realizing it’s autumn. It could be taking a moment to do a face mask at home simply because sometimes you gotta treat yourself. These were suddenly all sonstrale. They were shiny little sunbeams that added to my life. And I was recognizing them properly for what felt like the first time. Hey, hi, I see you.
But people can be sunbeams too. People can pop into your life and if you’re lucky, they can make your moments better. They can add to your existence. And you can add to theirs. You can be a sunbeam, too. I bet you already are, more so than you think.
You are all some of the biggest sunbeams I have found as of late.
I haven’t told many people about this little sunbeam philosophy that I live by. It’s quirky, it’s random. It’s sets itself up to be perceived as naiveté.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend about how I’ve felt over the past 6 days. How I’ve been just amazed and humbled by your responses to the words I’ve shared. How some of you have reached out to me and gotten so personal. How honored I feel to be the one who gets to hold you. How honored I feel that I get to share in your stories. That I get to protect them with you. That I get to help you build wings for your dreams to fly on.
I told her that a part of me feels undeserving, but that an almost equal part of me feels deserving all the same. I admitted that that feels strange to say. It feels self-gratuitous. Why is it so strange to feel we have earned something? And yet it’s there. I told her that what I want more than anything is to create a place where we can connect. I want us to feel human together. I told her that somehow I didn’t realize it would happen so quickly. I didn’t realize you would all so gladly walk into my living room with me. That you’d sit down with me –we’re plopping down onto plushy pillows. There’s definitely a warm fire crackling nearby.
And yet here we all are. We’re sitting in our human glory. It’s plushy and sometimes it’s uncomfortable. You know the moment. Your leg is stuck at that weird angle and you need to shift your weight. But hey, we’re doing it. And I can’t believe you’re here. I’m so grateful that you’re here.
I told my friend some of this, and she replied with an emphatic: “Accept the rays of sunshine!” And then: “You give so much of your own rays to others. Bask in it.”
What perfect word choice. I’m not sure she even knows how damn perfect her word choice is. What a beautiful reminder. That for the past days you’ve all been my biggest sunbeams; my biggest sonstrale.
I held the words in my mind; I floated on them. Then today I looked at my locked phone screen and saw the photo I selected as my phone background a while back. “You are a solar powered dream machine.” Oh look at that, you’re on my mind again. Look at us powering each other.
It’s only been 6 days, 6 blog posts (now 7). And maybe you’ll all be here for 100 more. Maybe you won’t. But man, oh man, these days, you are making them shine. And I cannot thank you enough. You light me. You energize me. You warm me up. I can only hope to do the same.
P.S. If the idea of seeking sonstrale appeals to you whatsoever, why not try it out? After all, all it takes is seeing one sunbeam for you to get the ball rolling. Ha. You’re seeing it now right? Sun, sun, sun, sun, sun. How wild. It’s almost like it’s everywhere.