Wednesday, August 31, 2011

True Colors; a Polarity? (My 2nd Guest Blogger's Perspective)

My friend Lana has asked me to write a guest post.  This is my first invitation to guest post and I am really honored.

Since receiving Lana's email, I have done a lot of thinking about what "A Person's True Colors" means to me. I realized that I had no idea. So I thought I'd begin by seeing how each word resonated with me as it would relate to the context of a person's true colors.

PERSON - human being, regarded as an individual

TRUE - authentic, honest, without guile (as an adjective to COLORS)

COLORS - as related to PERSON + TRUE = only two colors - LIGHT or DARK

Now we've move into philosophy, theology and, of course, reality.
Light & dark are metaphors for good and evil.

At this point, I understood how and why these three words, strung together into this popular idiom, resonate deeply with my mind, spirit and my view of life's purpose.

Years ago, I developed a personal theory about people. People are divided into two categories.
What are a person's true attitudes, opinions, and biases?  Do live live as "I" and "Other".

GOOD PEOPLE are kind, cooperative, loyal, compassionate, supportive and are conscious to do no harm

BAD PEOPLE are kind when it is to their advantage, mean and manipulative when it suits them. I believe these are unhappy people, filled with poison and that is what emanates from their actions and speech.

There is very little cross over in my experience. We are either one or the other.

We all are creatures of the light but we also have our dark hidden corners. Duality. The way
in which darkness and light manifest in each of us depends which one tips the scales.

Endless variations contribute to creating who we are as people and how the balance of light and dark are at play within our psyche. Such a complex issue. One that I have neither the knowledge nor credentials to extrapolate upon. But credentials or knowledge have little to do with feelings. So I will bring this back to the personal and try to articulate what this idiom means for me.

We all disappoint. We don't always, nor can we, meet others expectations of us.
A myriad of things impact everyday on how centered and aware of ourselves we are at any given moment. So many triggers pull us away from the best we want to be and that best is fluid. So maybe we're tired, grumpy, impatient, a little too snapish sometimes and feel badly afterwards. These are not the moments that define our true colors ~ these are the moments that define our humanity.

 Hypothically . . .
When my good friend becomes ill, really ill - I fade into the backround just when she
needs me more than ever. I tell myself, oh I can't watch her in pain, or being depressed - it hurts me too much. What's the color of friendship? What's the color of support or compassion. I don't know what these colors are, but I apparently don't to have them.

I have some childen and they're lots of work, they make noise and are demanding. I have a life too ~ I can't spend all my energy on kids. What is the color of caring? What is the color of nurture? What is the color of responsibility and commitment? I can't say, because they are missing in me.

A member of my immediate family has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and will need care. I seem to be the only caregiver around. I am filled with resentment that I have to do this. What is the color of loyalty? What is the color of courage and empathy? What is the color of gratitude and service? Again, I am at a loss.

 Hypothically. . .
My dear friend is ill and depressed. My heart needs to be near her, just to be there and help out where I can ~ whatever helps her weather this piece in her life, I want to go through it with her, with healthy boundaries.

I have some kids. They are so loud and joyful. They sometimes fight with each other and I can see how they learn to resolve their issues. So my house will be messy for a few years. I love to read with them, go to museums and share in their expanding world. I also know I need some time for myself and alone time with my mate. All of us benefit.

My mom is declining with Alzheimers. It is heartbreaking. Being her caretaker is exhausting with all my other responsibilities. But I recognize the blessings this opportunity provides for both of us. There are things that only happen once. It's hard, but I also know
that I will never regret caring for her for as long as I am able. I feel so much gratitude.

True colors - how do they relate to these two opposite sets of hypothetical life-situations. I think that each of us see true colors differently. We see them according to our own true colors and our private view of how we choose to see the world and the folks in it ~ and which side of the balance scale we want to carry the weight of our spirit.

When we step up. When we listen with compassion without judgement. When our natural instinct is to be helpful and we are not always the most important person in our life. When we are conscious of the way we speak to and of others and want to use right speech. The action our instinct takes when there is less than a heartbeat of time to react.

Kindness in all things
Taking responsibility for our actions whatever the cost.
PERSON - human being, regarded as an individual
TRUE - authentic, honest, without guile (as an adjective to COLORS)
COLORS - as related to PERSON + TRUE = only two colors

LIGHT - like a diamond refracting light into many colors - radiance, each it's own distinct beauty. Like the sun that shines on every living thing with impartiality.

DARKNESS - an absence of light.
But even in the deepest darkness a small spark of light can be found.

Barring neurological damage or serious mental illness, we can all choose to find that spark within us and fan it into an all consuming flame of bright light.

In truth, it is the study of my own true colors that have always been the most compelling to me.  After all, they are the only colors I am able to have any influence over. During the course of my lifetime, I’ve become familiar with any number of life’s unexpected variances – those that tend to unsettle our equanimity. Things happen despite our best ethical intentions.  We find ourselves in unexpected situations.  I’ve learned to identify these unplanned surprises as a kind of cosmic check and balance between how we measure our integrity and the courage of our character in our own mind’s eye – and - what really happens when they are put to the test.

I’ve come to understand that while observing or experiencing another’s “true colors” may be most enlightening, fascinating or hurtful and disappointing, the only paints we have to work with are our own.   


db said...

Wow, a very different take and perspective. I'm glad you were willing to respond to Lana's invitation. I hope you will share where we can read more.

Tabouleh said...

HI Peter.... My friend Paula is from Everyday Radiance...
Check he blog out... she is a talented writer... I very much enjoy her perspective on issues.

Jan said...

Another interesting guest post Lana. Paula I have struggled with these two polarities for many years, defining myself as bad or good(mainly bad but trying to present as good - not through any guile or to maniplulate but as I learned to be more comfortable with my humanness.). I hadn't integrated the many shades there are within me and am still working hard to do so. I really like the idea of reflecting on one's own actions and intentions etc., as a sort of cosmic check. Sometimes people need a wise guide or mentor to help them make sense of it all however. I think that those we tend to see as more in darkness do not always have someone like that in their lives. Sometimes they are just not ready to listen to the checks. I tend to believe the best of most people and wish that society was more encouraging of those small sparks of light in the darkness. Not to make excuses for myself or other's behaviour but sometimes we can see why people might choose to act "badly". I believe that it the behaviour that is "bad" or "evil" and not the person themselves. However this is more complex isn't it and each individual and situation needs to be judged(if it is our place to judge)separately.
Sorry for the ramble.

db said...

Jan, I hope it is OK for me to share that for me your brief "ramble" was incredibly insightful; I agree that it is behavior that is bad, not the person (and that it is more complex than that), but if you are this reflective in these few words, I suspect "good" has a much bigger grip on you than you suggest, or perhaps allow yourself to accept. The ramble was beautiful (IMHO). Thank you.

paula devi said...

Lana, thank you for inviting me to write a post, and this particular post, on your bog. It's a big honor that you would consider me. I look forward to reading more posts you have invited for "Colors". DB - now you must begin a blog so that we can all read more of your thoughts and lovely writing.
And Jan, Your comment was in no way a ramble. It was, just as DB said, very insightful. Your thoughts and feelings about people who are just not ready to see their little light and "adjust" their colors is so full of compassion and empathy. And you are right, we all have that spark with no exceptions. Maybe BAD and EVIL are harsh words to use, but causing harm is not a good thing. My daily prayers include all of those people who live in the dark with their own pain as well as with the pain they might cause. No one chooses to cause harm. We all have different stories - some good, some not so good and some close to unbearable. And we all struggle and so many of us, like you, are compassionate and empathetic and non-jdgemental.
I love that Lana has given us all this opportunity to share ourselves and our idea.
Bless you Lana.

Judy Croome said...

Paula, you've raised some deep questions here: I think the first step toward choosing the light is when we recognise that we have the dark within us. Once that essential knowledge switches on within us - like a video camera in the mind, monitoring our choices - the awareness of our equal potential for good or evil can help us (hopefully) make the right choice.

Judy, South Africa

Tabouleh said...

oh Paula and Jan... what wonderful insightful commentary... and DB thank you for responding as well... I think that everyone said what I wanted to say... There are no other guest posts for color I'm afraid but I have a few other ideas for guests posts up my sleeve... so stay tuned... Love to all!

db said...

Lana, I think you may have found a new recipe for Tabouleh.

paula devi said...

Judy, you are so right - it is a matter of awareness and choice. And the blessed thing is that we have a chance every minute to become aware and make different choices - even up to our last breath.

Lana, this was such an amazing idea that results in such a good discussion. Keep up this idea. Can we peek up your sleeve?

Isa said...

Great post!

You have to do more of these Lana!


Shopgirl said...

Beautiful perspectives. I love what you said about kids, sorry about your mom. Alzheimer is devastating.