North Coast Journal



Color in Your Life

by Leslie Meriwether

"Without life there is little color, without color there is no life."
-- Theo Gimble
"Healing With Color and Light"

COLOR HAS POWER. IT CAN heal us, excite us, inspire us or calm us down. It is not only decorative or ornamental; it is not purely a physical phenomenon. It is active at all levels of our being -- mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.

At Rydal, in England's Lake District, there is a piece of land called Dora's Field. In the spring you can see it blooming full of golden daffodils. In 1847 William Wordsworth and his wife Mary, both in their late 60s, planted this field following the death of their daughter.

Each spring, this spectacular array of color celebrates their enduring love. I saw this field several years ago and I still associate a field with daffodils with that beloved daughter.

Blue and red exemplify colors whose effects differ radically from each other. Red, in all its shades from deepest crimson to palest pink, represents strength and vitality. It is energizing and stimulating. Blue, on the other hand, is calming. Imagine the blue of the water under a blue sky and you will feel peaceful and relaxed.

Color is often used in referring to our emotions. We can see red, be green with envy, or be blue, or we can be feeling in the pink, or have our experience "colored" by an emotion. Color is a vibration we can feel.

Our memories are filled with color connections, with nostalgia. Can you think of a memory that a color has triggered? My mother had some violet in her eyes and often wore shades of purple.

She died when I was 13, but I remember her by wearing something of that color or planting purple flowers. Her mother loved Chinese red and even had a dresser in that shade. That deep vibrant red reminds me of her.

Experiencing color is personal and we are all unique in our relationship with color. Do you know your favorite colors?

Everything is a clue when it comes to color. What is your favorite season or flower or painter? Chances are there is a connection between these things and your color preference.

Cultivate the habit of attention to color and discover more about yourself.

Ideas for using color:

Sit or lie comfortably and close your eyes. Breathe in the color, say red, and breathe out a cleansing breath. You can do this for just a few breaths or for several minutes. You can imagine a red object like a rose or just have a sense of red. Then try blue and compare the experiences.

You can make a quilt or plant a section of the garden in your favorite colors. Put lively colored sheets on your bed in the winter. On a dreary day you can add a colorful tablecloth to your kitchen or colored napkins and, of course, flowers. Color is a form of energy and by using it consciously you add to the essence of your life.

Jenny Joseph in her poem "Warning," begins with the line, "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple."

Don't wait until you are any older to wear the color you love. As designer Dorothy Draper said, "Never be afraid of color."

Lesley Meriwether is a registered nurse and psychotherapist with the Arcata Family Medical Group

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