Sometimes our palette becomes so familiar to us,
we forget that we can mix colors, add texture, and enjoy the process as we create anew.
As a child of abandonment raised in chaos, I established a tendency toward perfectionism very early-on. Thinking that if I was “perfect”, it would establish order; if I could present you with “perfect”, you would stay.
I was not perfect, but I was a lot of things: well-rounded, well-educated, well-mannered, well-versed in spiritual practice…and scared to even entertain the idea of a box of 64-color crayons because those around me barely colored at all, so using anything beyond the “norm” of a simple eight-color box would put me on the precipice of innovative. To experiment in any way would set me apart, and by mere definition “apart” is separate, thus (in my mind) was potentially as devastating as abandoned.
I understand that in childhood, perfectionism was my way of trying to control external events because I didn’t have the internal trust to know with great certainty that all would be well. This eventually led me into areas of life that were not particularly interesting nor fulfilling to me. I was ‘well’ at everything, yet dying inside.
Each time I chose to color “my way”, I was allowing a bit of my Spirit to rise…until eventually I became *joy*.
It is with gratitude, wonder, and awe that when I became a mother and introduced art to my children, I would provide them with myriad supplies and allow them to experiment with free-form art. I mirrored for them that ‘art’ is not necessarily a tangible product (it may be) but a way of living and creative expression is the process of allowing our heart whispers full reign to breathe, roam, and become reality. You take the supplies you are presented with, add some of your own favorite tools; mix in a lot of faith and imagination; add a bit of spunk, and moxie; then, celebrate each moment of creation. This is how my little family creates and lives.
Now, when I find perfectionism present, I know that is my sign that I am in unfamiliar territory in life and about to revert to a simple eight-color box because it seems familiar, predictable, safe to me. In essence, “stuffing my spirit” back in the box. When I am afraid to make a mistake, that is mind telling me I’ve ventured “too far into vulnerability”, while heart is open fully, reaching for the bigger box, mixing colors and lightening space with bold, daring strokes.
While those who know me well would tell you that, in general in life, I “play” big (that would be accurate), I know that in recent months, I began to shrink (for me). As I created new and different, I cared what people thought (those who have been creating “longer” or “better” or “successfully”) and they generally didn’t agree with, or understand, my way of creating. Creating what, you ask? Relationships, movement, career, travel plans, this moment, life…
Fortunately, I love to learn, and Universe presents my lessons in ways that I may best receive and understand.
I would like to share this story of illustrious change:
I love to play with color, in my space (have you noticed that since my move, my Flickr photos on the sidebar are no longer “just” beachy blue, sunset gold, but also now vibrant green and lush terrain with flowers and growth?), my clothing, my hair. A few years back, my hair was jet black, red, and pink; since then, my daughter has asked if she could color her hair. I consistently said no. I believe the reality is that I must have cared what others would think (yes, I live an unconventional life, so why hair color would trip me up, I really cannot explain!).
This week, my daughter had a birthday. All that she truly wanted (her heart whisper) was to color her hair. I said no.
Then, my grandmother was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital for a complicated surgery…a woman who based her life upon what others thought, yet was often entertained by the stories of my latest creation (adventure)…I have a feeling I colored life like she wished she had the ability to.
I have released a lot in these past few days, layers of guardedness and protection and barriers to flow.
I colored my daughter’s hair–pink and red under her lovely blonde layers. (And bleached some highlights into my son’s). One might use “unbridled joy” to describe their reaction.
The truth: My grandmother is in the hospital struggling to recover. I called her and told her I colored my daughter’s hair pink and red. Because of the tubes and her condition, she couldn’t speak, but I think she shrieked (ha!). Because it takes six weeks for the color to fade, and I know that the thought on my grandmother’s mind is ‘what will the cousin’s think’ and I bet anything she is now concentrating on recovering because it matters that much to her.
And, I am left to ponder this thought: Is “fearless” the absence of fear, the presence of great faith, or the point when one is tapped into flow and truly trusting the Divine plan.
Your pain is the breaking of the shell
that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder
at the daily miracles of your life, your pain
would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your
heart, even as you have always accepted
the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity
through the winters of your grief.
I leave you with this quote from an empowering article “Risk Being You” by Raam Dev: “There is nothing worth avoiding who you are because who you are is worth more than anything you could risk.”
Thank you for your presence. May abundant color, texture, and light be yours to create with and enjoy.
Much peace and abundant love,
Reminder: Experiment. Explore. Experience.