Clarity: A Light Within

by Mary Beth Huwe

I’ve recently had a flurry of activity in my writing and marketing work. This is rewarding and lots of fun. I create customized content and training sessions for my clients. These people are small business owners in varying industries; they are also interesting, creative, and passionate people.

One of the main aspects of work I do with these interesting, creative, and passionate people is clarity-building. I don’t mean to brag, but it’s objectively true that my clients are really good at what they do. They are so good at what they do that they simply do it, without necessarily thinking about how to communicate what they do.

In other words, they often lack clarity about the fullness of what they do. Once we start examining together what they offer and how to name that, we find good stuff… generally right beneath the surface. Since I’ve been doing lots of this type of work this early summer, clarity is on my mind.

And it reminds me of this painting:

Mary McKinley, oil on canvas

“Clouds Run 1” by Mary McKinley

This is a sky painting by the brilliant Mary McKinley. I recently sat beside Mary at an “artist’s salon,” a small gathering of artists and writers in which we talked about being artists and writers. (And we were nice to each other, which is how to distinguish it from a “workshop.”) Mary said that, for her, painting light is about letting the light shine through whatever’s on top of it. It’s about seeing what’s underneath the clouds. So she lays down the light first and then covers it over so that it will enliven the other colors and peek out.

Most artists, she said, are taught to apply the light at the end; in other words, they put it on top of their clouds.

There’s something beautiful about this. Something bold that says our clarity and light are deep within us, that they are not final touch add-ons we can just schlep onto the surface. They just don’t behave that way.