"The Colors We Carry"
Painting as a hobby helped get me through the pandemic, and while I don’t dwell on the technique or detail, I do love losing myself in the freedom and curiosity of experimenting with colors on paper or canvas.
True to myself — someone who doesn’t like to feel limited or restricted (right in line with my Enneagram type 7) — I notice that I like to keep my options open. I play with acrylics but also love my watercolors. I’ll watch a YouTube tutorial to get at the essence of a process, but then I’ll change the rules, break them or make up new ones. I’ll paint flowers and then move on to landscapes ; tinker with animals or butterflies and then attempt beach scenes. My own colors shine through in the results — a little bit of everything spilling out into a home overtaken by my artwork. It drives my minimalist sweetheart a bit crazy, but it keeps our life interesting and full of colorful new creations that didn’t exist before I picked up the paintbrushes.
Lately, we have been watching a lot of nature shows ; I find them fascinating and can get sucked in at all hours. One in particular about colors in the wild struck me: the way colors impact everything about a particular animal or plant species and its basic survival, its power or lack thereof, even its mating popularity. I could go on about the peacock’s tail and its spiritual meaning, baboons’ butts and why so much color is concentrated in such a seemingly unfortunate area, or how flamingos would be white but because they feed upon shrimp, their color is a vibrant pink. Not to mention the rainbow of flowers attracting bees with their brilliant hues, the colors that change to help various animals camouflage when needed, and how different animals have different vision or color blindness. Color obviously has significance in the animal kingdom.
All of us humans too have particular colors we carry — strengths or mindsets that we have developed over time in response to our own journey with nature and nurture. And these colors evolve over time — when we introduce new life experiences, relationships or challenges that we overcome. Our lives are truly a unique palette that is ours to know, experience and utilize to create the best canvas of the day, season, year or lifetime. Just like an artist develops a deep appreciation of color, so too it is up to us to know the colors we carry and appreciate each one for what it brings forth for us. The less we are attached to an exact outcome, the more we can leave room for the “happy accidents” that can lead to beautiful adjustments, or an unexpected transformation that follows.
As we slip into summer and all of the colors it carries — blazing sunsets, melting ice creams, sparkly fireworks, lush gardens, shimmering oceans and starlit skies….what colors are you carrying from within? What mindset do you take into each day? What strengths or superpowers rest on your palette and require your attention and care? What inspires your curiosity or sparks a sense of wonder that allows you to mix, soften or enhance those colors? What experiences excite you and what landscapes do you want to explore?
My hope for this bright season is that you deepen your appreciation for all the many colors around you and within you. May we all see the possibilities that blossom when we choose to believe we are here to experience deep wonder at the magic nature’s colors bring, and the purpose they have to serve the greater good.