Today was a beige day.
By beige, I mean that it was not bright and colourful. Not particularly eventful. Nothing remarkable happened. It was just ... beige.
Which is different than grey. A grey day, to me, is one that is heavy and laden with doubt, fear, or anger. Grey is a cloud. Grey is a tidal wave. Grey is a mountain and I am underneath it. This wasn't that. This was just a day.
Not that there wasn't colour within. I am very mentally aware of the amount of colour that I have the privilege of taking for granted on a daily basis: I awoke this morning. My loving husband was at my side. I stood on my own two feet out of my warm bed. I hugged my healthy and happy baby girl. There was food in my fringe. I locked the door as I left my home and drove my car to buy breakfast at Starbucks 'just because'. I spoke to and spent time with people who love me ... and so on. This is colour at its brightest!
Isn't that the definition of black though? All of the colours blended to one. Actually (according to Wikipedia) black is "the result of the absence or complete absorption of visible light". But that is two different things. To me, the absence of visible light is a time of deep work. I can bring to mind some times in my life that could be described as" the absence of visible light" and, thankfully, I can count them on just one hand. Those are butterfly-making moments - times when you went in as a caterpillar and, afterwards, it takes a while to get used to the wings (and a looooooooong while before you see them as beautiful). "The complete absorption of visible light" ... yes ... that's a definition that I vibe with. The light is there, but it all becomes kind of blended together and then you forget that you had any light at all.
I digress. In fact, I detoured. That's the definition of black, but black isn't beige. Beige is like ... light that's been dimmed. So, yes, I can still see the light, it just doesn't have the same lustre as it did yesterday. Which, I do not write in order to garner sympathy. In fact, there is nothing to be sympathetic towards. I have a life that is full of light. What's the difference what filter I'm using? You're very right, I know ... I told you, I am mentally aware of this ... it's just how I feel and that's an important perspective. There's room for both of these experiences to weave together within the fabric of my understanding.
Here's the problem I have with beige: I live in technicolour! Beige is the colour of my lighthouse. Beige days are an early wake up call to get on my mat, sit down with a pen and paper, crawl out from behind the screen and look a breathing human in their eyes. Beige is a reminder to connect, reconnect, and connect again. That's what makes me come alive! Sure, I could blow right through beige. I could swim against the current, "power through", and put my To Do List at the top of my priorities, but that is a one-way ticket to grey-dom and I am not. interested. Grey takes days to climb out of. Grey is lots of Netflix' "Are you still watching"s. Grey is stiff and heavy. Not beige though. Beige just blows on through and says, "You okay buddy?". Interoception and experience has taught me to be sensitive to the beige. I let its gentle breeze remind me of what matters, what sets my soul on fire, and what colours my experience. Beige helps give me perspective. After years of practice a little beige is all I need to remind me what my priorities REALLY are and to allow colour to re-emerge. It's a practice though. A practice of mindfulness - present-moment awareness. A practice of choosing to LIVE my life and a refusal to watch from the backseat as it cyclones past snatching my empowerment in it's wake.
After I write this, I will close my laptop and turn my phone to silent. I will pick Isabella up from daycare and spend the afternoon with her at the park. We will move, laugh, kiss, and play. I'll connect with a couple of friends and go out of my way to do something nice for someone I love - have them over for dinner.
Tomorrow, when I wake up, I know what awaits me: Oz! You know that scene in The Wizard of Oz after the twister when Dorothy emerges to a bright and cheery Oz? That's what mindfulness does for you. Changes the prescription. Clears away the fog. Lets all the beautiful light shine through. It's as close to magic as I have ever experienced.
Give it a try! Start right now. We'll, not now. After you're done reading this. It doesn't cost any money. It doesn't mean selling your worldly possessions and living a whole new life as a nomad. It's 'simply' (*not that simple*) an integration of mindfulness into your already abundant life. Call the first loved one you think of. Don't text or message them, call them. Just let them know you're thinking of them and that you love them. The next time you find yourself face to face with a person who is serving you, ringing you through, or otherwise doing their job, look them in the eye and thank them. Call them by their name (the wait staff just mentioned it and the cashier is wearing a name tag). Maybe even ask them how their days is going and fully immerse yourself into hearing their reply. You never know what kind of colour you might just be painting into someone else's day.
Your life is FULL of light. It might just have absorbed together into black or maybe, if your lucky, just got a little washed out to beige by expectations, tasks, deadlines, consumerism, and over scheduling.
Wishing you rainbows and the perspective it takes to see them.