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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Wowk


Light. A piece inspired by Barcelona.

During my recent visit to Barcelona, I was impressed by the magnitude of influence Antoni Gaudí had on the city. Gaudí was a Catalonian- born architect who lived, thrived, and died in the city of Barcelona. Love him or fear him, Gaudí's impact on Barcelona is undeniable. Parc Güell: a showcase of painstaking attention to detail, like none other. La Pedrera: a dwelling constructed by an architectural genius. Sagrada Família: a place of worship known the world over.

Upon arriving at the latter of Gaudí's works, tilting my head back and shading my eyes from the Catalonian sun, I found myself disappointed with the overwhelming amount of scaffolding obstructing my view. There's still so much more work to be done, I thought. What I had expected to see was a finished product -- that great and ominous masterpiece defining the Barcelona skyline. What I saw before me was a serious work in progress. Besides, hadn't I just recently seen Sagrada Família in photos from a friend's trip to Spain? It sure didn't look like it was under construction then. But that thought is what struck a chord. In my travels -- and in my everyday life -- how often do I truly see a finished product? Everything in life is evolving, changing, growing. Life is fluid and continuous. A photo captures an instant, a millisecond of time. When I take my photos, I always snap 3 or 4 quick shots, only to later to edit out and find the best one. Because that's how photography works; you find the best angle, the best lighting, the best expression - and that's the moment you publish. I prefer to only share my best photos -- and while I'm at it, my best outfits, my best blog pieces, my best physique... my best self. (Am I a perfectionist? I once tried to deny this claim but as a close friend pointed out, "Amanda - you look up the lyrics to songs so you'll never get a word wrong." She had a point.)

Right on cue, the friendly audio guide voice interrupted this inner monologue with a comment from Gaudí himself, "there is no reason to regret that I cannot finish the church. I will grow old but others will come after me. What must always be conserved is the spirit of the work, but its life has to depend on the generations it is handed down to and with whom it lives and is incarnated." So, if Gaudí had the humility to share his life's work with the world, albeit unfinished, perhaps I could forgive the scaffolding -- and, shocker! -- have a little Patience.

Taking a step inside Sagrada Família was like stepping into a fantasy world. Great columns, representing the trunks of trees, swirled to the ceiling, and the ceiling itself cascaded into giant leaves that covered most of the sky, but allowed some sunlight to peak through. Additional sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows painted the interior bold blues, greens, and reds. The entire spectacle was awe-inspiring. The little voice shared Gaudí's thoughts on the subject, "the amount of light should be just right -- not too much, not too little -- since having too much or too little light can both cause blindness." Gaudí was a man after my own heart. And what an impact he was having on me. His lesson here? Life will show you times of darkness and of light, but you need both. Find your Balance.

Some two hours and countless photo ops later, the tour concluded with the voice encouraging you to take a seat in the center of the basilica and afford yourself some time to reflect. So I chose a quiet spot, closed my eyes and did just that. Have you ever had someone tell you to "go to your happy place"? I'll confess, I've never had one of those. Sure, I have loads of places with happy memories, but never one I could conjure on demand. Well, I've finally found one. I see now, like the best things in life, it's something you can't look for, but you know once you've found it. To me, that moment was more than just a happy place that I could later bring myself back to... it was a place of inner Peace.

Patience. Balance. Peace.

Thank you, Gaudí.

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