As the light of the golden sun is flooding through Chicago’s streets – the urban hub of the midwest – the busy roads seem to freeze. This very moment, the city exudes warmth that is reflected on its differently shaped surfaces. It naturally encourages us to pause for a moment. There’s something magical in the air. We stand still, touched by the light. Literally. Now, let us be aware of our surroundings that we are such an integral part of. Reflect. Let’s look around. What do we see during this golden hour in the Chicago metropolis?

A Reflection of Our Surroundings

We as humans have the power to both shape our environment and influence the way we are seen by others, the world at large. We are highly adaptive beings and, without any shame attached, so quickly settle into new environments. This means we are adapting certain cultural habits and ways of living. We fit in. Ultimately, we reflect the surroundings that we have become a part of. But is this always the reflection we want to exude? Is this who we want to be; how we want to be perceived; what we want to stand for?

As a reflection of our environment, we ourselves need to take the time to look in the mirror to see our very own reflection. Sometimes, this happens in a slightly abstract way, demonstrating that we are mirrors of our environment, yet can change the way we are seen. Hence, it is crucial to take on the third person perspective every once in a while to, literally, “put things into perspective” for ourselves.

A sculpture designed by artist Sir Anish Kapoor, the “Cloud Gate” – also lovingly called “The Bean” because of its shape – is the perfect object to mirror what is happening around it, around us. Its stainless steel exterior is highly polished; there are no seams visible.   Yet, if you look closer, it will become evident that the reflection of its environment, the people, is slightly different. It’s more abstract, somewhat distorted.

Shaping Our Perception

This so wonderfully symbolizes that we as humans are, indeed, the mirrors of the space we live in. However, it also shows that we have the means and power – if only we strive for the good as a collective – to shape this perception of our very own selves, as well as our human race as a whole. Let that sink in.

I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That’s art to me. – Maya Lyn

And then, going further, we even have the ability – just look at “Cloud Gate” – to form our very own illusions of a reality in our world. Through means of art, we can see the world embracing us from a different perspective, and, hence, reflect on our very own existence.

Exuding and Reflecting Positive Energy

The surroundings we design and create for ourselves can ultimately be a representation of what we truly want in a world we live in. It can also show who we strive to be. Isn’t it wonderful to think that we are capable of building an environment where we can fully thrive? We just have to do it. We have to grasp at this opportunity. But this means that we do need to pause, come together and reflect upon the following: What do we want to represent in this world? Who do we, as a human race, want to be? What is our legacy?

I believe your atmosphere and your surroundings create a mind state for you. – Theophilus London

Whatever we decide to create – or have already gloriously breathed life into throughout the centuries – should, first and foremost, have the ability to reflect a flow of positivity, of optimism, of hope, and straight up feel-good energy. Because this is what it comes down to: harmony and balance. If this is reflected by our surroundings, we ourselves will become the mirror of just that. This is because we are mirroring the environment we live in. Hence, we should choose wisely.