Sure enough, people, being people, did just that. Within days, the object was removed. No one knows by whom, or why, although it is safe to conclude, once the people got involved, so did some vandalism.
Soon after, a second one appeared in Romania, on Batcas Doamnei Hill, near Petrodava, a ruined Dacian fortress on a plateau outside the city. Its location was quickly revealed and it too disappeared within a week.
The third mysterious structure appeared in California, just one day after the three-sided structure disappeared in Romania. It bore the same features as the other two and also disappeared after a short stay.
While no one can explain the appearance or disappearance of these monoliths, the one that appeared in Southwestern Alberta last week had a clear explanation. It was not erected under the shadow of night. Its creator is not elusive. Its meaning is not a mystery.
Elizabeth Williams, the woman who built the one in Southern Alberta, said she wanted to bring attention to threats the area is facing as the province moves toward open-pit coal mining. On a news report I listened to, she said her monolith reflects the things that will be affected by the coal operation; it reflects the soil, the mountains and the mountain-fed waters. She wants people to look at the structure and see the reflections. No doubt, her hope is when they see those reflections, they too will pause to reflect.
I don’t have a political statement about open-pit coal mining. I do however, have some thoughts about reflections.
Just as the monolith in Southern Alberta, by virtue of the shiny material making it up, reflects onto itself, and thus sort of becomes what it is surrounded by, so to are we reflections of the things we choose to surround ourselves with.
This thought is sobering. It’s easy to think we can surround ourselves with things, ideas, people, jobs, and attitudes, and pretend those things do not affect us. That we somehow can stand tall, on our own, and not absorb these exterior things at all. The shiny monoliths cause us to consider that perhaps we are not separate from things we expose ourselves to.
When we regularly expose ourselves to too much news, too much television and internet, too many material objects, too many narrow minds, or mind-numbing substances, there is a good chance when people see us and talk to us, they will see this reflected in us.
At the same time, when we expose ourselves to nature, thoughtfulness, creativity, kindness, new ideas, problem-solving and good friends, chances are when people see us and talk to us, our reflection will bear this out.
I’ve been reflecting about what I’ve been reflecting. I was struck by Elizabeth Williams’ comment, ‘If I make this extra beautiful, and I get it on private land, it can stay and it can become a beacon for the curious.’ She of course is referring to an inanimate object. I, on the other hand, am thinking about myself, a person, and about each of us as individuals. The concept is the same. We are already each inhabiting the land of our bodies and minds. What could be more private? We each have complete control over our thoughts and actions. What could it be like if we were each so completely incredible and captivating, that others became curious about us? And we became beacons.
‘We have to reflect on who we are and where we’re going?’, said Williams. I couldn’t agree more. I want to make sure I have a strong vision of who I am, what I am reflecting, and where I am headed. I want to make sure I am reflecting my true self, and more importantly, that my true self is one I am proud of.
My inquiry for you this week is, ‘What am I reflecting?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how create the monolith that best reflects you.