My grandmother Mary Raine (1911-2008), a practical woman from a small Missouri town, would have classed the practice of guided visualization as “a little different.” Nevertheless, Grandma was present in the meditation room of an Ontario spa last spring when a mindfulness coach asked me to close my eyes and descend deep into the earth, deep within deep, down to the cave of the grandmothers.
Shine, Catherine Raine, 2012
Drawn by the firelight and the chance to see Grandma Raine again, I went into the cave. Grandma gave me a heavy object wrapped in a gray cloth. Resting inside the cloth was a stained glass ornament that once dangled from a curtain rod above her apartment’s east window. When it caught the bright Missouri sunlight, it released streams of green, lavender, red, and blue. I used to love looking at those ribbons of light, and when my niece Emma saw them as a baby, she loved them too.
I took the gift reverently and gave thanks for its rainbow message, the loving command to let myself shine. It called for translucence and generation, allowing light to both pass through me and radiate from within. It called from a cave as deep as the grandmother’s mythical one, but just as real and powerful.
The gift was a verb. Shine. Be the stained glass. Transform clear light into personal pigment. Manifest the light into words, art, kindnesses, movement, and love. Don’t be opaque. Be clearly colorful, openly bright, unabashedly shiny, embody the light.
The visionary gift and its invocation have arrived at the perfect time to fight grief shadows that shroud, inhibit, and dim. Grandmother Raine’s heirloom bathes mind, body, and soul in its light and invites the living to surrender to radiance. It bids us to shine, shine, shine, and shine.