The topic of colour has been surfacing lately and its made me think about the impact of tones and hues that surround us. Scientists have found that blue extends creativity and pink can calm the mind. And we all know that a burst of red can cause a bull to rage and charge. Some colours we can’t control – we can find ourselves in bleak, cold landscapes or living at the edge of the sea – both complete with their own natural palette.
But it turns out, we have a great amount of input and control over really basic colour choices. How we decorate our homes, the colour of pen we hold, our plates of food, and of course the bits closest to our skin – our wardrobes.
I’m a mad fan of colour in all its forms. I have bright pink club chairs, an orange and purple chandelier, and flouro blue deck chairs. And that’s just the view from my writing desk. My clothing tends to follow this trend and I’m often spotted wearing brightly coloured pants, dress, coats and accessories. And you know what, I’m convinced these crazy bright colours deepen my JOY. After all, black is the universal colour of mourning and those emoticons only smile with yellow.
If colours can add a burst of levity, perhaps its worth stirring up the black and neutral uniform of so many and adding a splash of colour. Especially if its a grey and rainy day or you’re feeling just a little less than spectacular. Go ahead, be brave. . . brighten up your clothes and I reckon your mood will follow.
Its fascinating, and a bit sad, to find the space to observe the stress levels of others. People get worked up over all sorts of seemingly trivial topics. The traffic is heavy, the sun isn’t shining, the sun is too hot, my coffee isn’t right, why can’t that person in front of me just walk a bit quicker or exit the ferry faster? People are feeling these frustrations on a regular basis and sometimes you can see it on their faces and often they can be heard expressing their disdain to everyone within ear shot. While its painful to witness, it can also be painful to absorb. If you’re an empathetic human, you can quite easily feel the pain and stress of others.
I’ve found that when I’m surrounded by stress, its incredibly helpful to know if the stress is mine, or if it belongs to others. On a typical day, almost 99% of the stress I encounter isn’t mine at all! This simple recognition can be powerful. I find myself acknowledging the stress, empathising with the owner of that stress, and then quickly celebrating that I don’t own it. I literally tell myself ‘that’s not my stress’. Because if we stop noting that most stress isn’t ours, we can easily become overwhelmed by the negative energy that surrounds us and spiral downwards.
Lately, I’ve started to conjure up a playful image along with my words that helps to bring me back to my natural state of JOY. And that’s the notion of being a stress trampoline. Yes, you might bounce down on me with your heaviness and leave an imprint, but I’m a source of bounce and will launch your stress back into a space of levity. Hopefully, I can bring you with me.
Sometimes, right in the middle of living an incredibly JOY filled life, we can fall into a hole. When we do so, its important to first check for injuries. Is there something that needs your immediate attention in order to move forward and out? If so, dive into it and reconfigure the layer that might be bringing you pain.
If not, don’t panic. Instead, start to consider your strategies for getting out. But don’t rush. Its OK to find yourself in the occasional hole. You might even find a friend or insightful shadow in that very same hole. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns and sometimes the uneven earth can seem to swallow us up for a bit. Getting out can be a revealing and rewarding experience if we find the courage to look around and look inside.
Take time to consider what lifts you up in life. The company of others, a deep belly laugh with a friend, a piece of music, a walk on the beach, a soulful meditation session, the hand of a lover? Know yourself and seek out what fills you up – then see how much lighter you can feel. Soon enough you’ll be back to floating along in your very own JOY bubble.