Well not real candles. I’m guessing that would be a fire hazard. They’re those fake candles that are actually like flickering electric lights in candle holders. My gynecologist has those going on the table across from the examination table and no overhead light ever.
Whenever I’m there on the table with the sheet wrapped around me, waiting for Dr. Simmons to come in, I’m usually pretty relaxed and at ease, the light from the faux candles have a very calming effect on me. Naturally, I’ve had several gyns before and it occurred to me while I was there last, that this is not the usual examination room experience. Simmons tells me that this was the intention of her and her partners when she opened the spa, and that this room and the candlelight effect was intended to decrease anxiety and lower the heart rate. I love it when women put thought into creating spaces that evoke warmth, relaxation, calm and insulation, particularly in any medical capacity. This is not a room that you want to hurry away from but one that allows you to really settle and be present. In situations where you need to be vulnerable and be examined in intimate ways, this is very important. Plus my gyn has a great bedside manner. The candlelight room is like an extension of her attitude so I never feel like I’m being handled, treated roughly, being rushed in and out like cattle or being neglected or forgotten. I’ve also never witnessed crowding or even remotely heavy traffic at the practice. When I arrive there are never more than three or four women in the waiting room which is also softly lit with low music playing always.
For me, candlelight has always represented spirituality, prayer, altars, and stillness. I was thinking recently that ever since I was about 11, having an altar was always encouraged by my family, and although I didn’t always have total faith or understanding in the concept, I have always created some type of altar in my life, a place to pray, to set intention, meditate, reflect and reconnect, a place for sacred and meaningful objects to reside and be witnessed by the divine.
I’ve been off of my altar game for a while, even before we moved to the new place in Inwood but I’ve started lighting candles in a sacred space again lately because trying times demand it it of me. The candles in the examination room at my gyn made me think of how candlelight (even faux candles) can transform almost any space into one that quiets the mind. It’s reminded me how important it is to me to be guided by an external light force that symbolizes the one inside of us all. I think it’s why I’ve always loved Churches and shrines, although I have never been a part of any religious faith. It’s hard not to respond to the primal energy of a light we all have access to.