Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Spread Sunshine

“Spread sunshine, all over the place. Just put on a happy face.”

“When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling,  the whole world smiles with you.
When you’re laughing, when you’re laughing, the sun comes shining through.”

“You get brighter every day…You give all your brightness away and it only makes you brighter.”

                “Love is something if you give it away. You end up having more.”

Time for another confession. Though I love poetry, challenging non-fiction and have happily walked through the dense prose of novelists like Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Steinbeck and even some James Joyce, I’m a sucker for the mystery novel/thriller. I’m spending lots of time on planes with John Grisham, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown and the like. And it was finding the latter’s new book Origin that got me through—happily—the last few plane rides and beyond.

It’s the usual bubbling plot that makes you look forward to the next chapter, but with some extra perks. Thought-provoking science that probably deserves some fact-checking, but satisfies the non-fiction curiosity I’ve kept lit my whole life.  I was particularly intrigued by the idea that the mandate of the universe is to  “spread energy.” As quoted in the book (beginning of Chapter 93):

“…when the universe found areas of focused energy, it spread that energy out. The classic example was the cup of hot coffee on the counter; it always cooled, dispersing its heat to the other molecules in the room in accordance with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.”

This got me curious about the sun. Why doesn’t it cool off after giving out so much heat? The sun has its remarkable nuclear fusion going at its core that seems to give it renewable inexhaustible energy that we benefit from. Of course, I don’t really understand what’s going on. And truth by told, I’m a bit fuzzy about both the first and second law of thermodynamics.

But I don’t have to understand it because I got songs! Like the ones above. And more important, my own experience. There is something in the human spirit that can renew itself and even grow stronger and larger by the illogical act of spreading its energy to others. It’s what accounts for me giving some 8 weeks of workshops in a row, teaching by myself some 6 hours per day, leading activities that require me to be 100% physically, mentally and emotionally present and arrive at the last day in Toronto as energized as I was the first day in Ghana—and indeed, more.
Music, rightly played and shared and experienced, can do that. So can just about any work that holds purpose and passion for the person doing it, allowing them, inviting them, encouraging them to spread energy out without that coffee ever getting cold.

Maybe when I retire I’ll take a physics class. But since retiring feels to me like pulling the plug from my energy source, that might not happen for a long time. Or ever. Spread your energy, people!

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