The Colour in my life
Along with many other human babies, I was born into this world just after the end of WW2. Life was so different ‘in those days’.
Our family escaped mostly intact, on the surface anyway with Grandpa feeding us all from his enormous allotment. Manchester itself had sustained a lot of bomb damage yet the city was only the size of a small town you might meet today.
Rapid regeneration led to tall serried rows of flats on the outskirts of the city .. another world which seemed distant from where I was growing up.
There was a great deal of beautiful open countryside surrounding villages and their ribbon developments of new estates being thrown up in the post war ‘baby boom’ era. Everyone seemed glad to be alive and that was the landscape I emerged into. So much room to explore, allowing that sense of adventure and childhood imagination to flourish. Houses were still pretty drab by modern standards but nature provided the multi-coloured landscape for my discovery of wild flowers, birds and other creatures whose images I used to create paintings from with my Dad’s watercolours.
My thanks to Dean Marston for this short video which creates the opportunity to just sit in stillness for 10 minutes
I began to really notice and appreciate the things that COLOURED MY LIFE … gave it tone, texture, feeling, thickness. I noticed the colour of emotions arising within me … how yellow my joyful exuberance felt reflected in the daffodils, how red my anger and frustration when I couldn’t get my own way. How black it felt when I found myself alone and scared. How gold it seemed when running happily around the beach in the summer time. And what is it about blue that seems to create a sense of calm? I was curious ….. and still am!
My curiosity has been my driving force in life. It has led me to travel the the planet in days where there was little tourism. It gave me a different perspective on life and a sense of awe about our beautiful planet.
But it also took me on a journey into the depths of self inquiry. It created in me a love all aspects of Science which played out after my academic studies with degrees in Biology and Chemistry, in my role as a teacher and beyond.
My passion for teaching teenagers gave me so many moments of joy. I wrote books to support their learning especially for children with learning difficulties. Yet with government changes to so much in education, I was finding life increasingly stressful, with a work life balance that had become very distorted.
I became exhausted and frustrated with the whole education system.
We all have pivotal moments in our lives when we are forced to question the direction we are travelling or the manner of our journeying. The first of these involved in car accident in which I nearly lost my life. It brought my teaching career to an abrupt halt.
Key moments that changed my life
With serious injuries, my immediate needs were for healing and rest. But I was impatient to get ‘back to where I was’. I pushed myself to be OK. But I never really listened to what my mind and body needed. And eventually, with tradition medicine unable to help me further, I looked around for a different type of support. I was shocked to realise for the first time that I simply didn’t care enough about ME. I put everyone else first. That was my way to make myself feel needed and loved. I knew things had to change. But HOW?
I ‘talked the talk’ but certainly didn’t ‘walk the walk’. One day I looked in he mirror and that brought me to tears. I really didn’t know who I was or what I wanted from life any more. I was expecting others to love me but I really didn’t love my self. There was something in me needing to be heard. I felt that I was not good enough. I measured myself by what everyone around me said, and I heard that so often as a judgement. Things HAD to change. But I realised that I CANNOT CHANGE OTHERS. I CAN ONLY CHANGE THE WAY I THINK.
There I began what is still amazing adventure. I love learning so I read a lot! By chance I came across and joined a beautiful Meditation group. Gradually I began to listen to wise words being spoken by others, to give myself space to talk with others too.
This was so vital for me to be able to heal. Animals came in to my life who deeply connected with me. Stuff was happening to and around me that felt really deep down good.
As I delved deeper, I also discovered more about MEDITATION, Psychology, BREATHWORK and Quantum Energetics. I trained as an energy healer and counsellor using Colour, Sound, Crystals, Reiki and Light Therapy and many other modalities. I began to share with others too what I was learning. And slowly, I began to heal at a deep level.
I have come to appreciate that it wasn’t just a learning taking place. There was something about the space I shared with some truly amazing people, and the ways in which they shared their own stories that touched something vulnerable inside my heart. There was a deep resonance .. a recognition, a remembering. I was learning to LISTEN TO MY WHOLE BODY … and its Inner Wisdom. I felt so alive, so full of joy and love.
The Great Escape
And here for me was one of greatest lessons of all. We all create beliefs around the way we are. These beliefs we use to explain and often excuse our behaviour. They colour how we think and what we do. That DOING stuff is what I call ‘THE GREAT ESCAPE’. We keep busy because it occupies our time, stops us getting bored. May be it increases our sense of usefulness .. of purpose. It may well make us feel good too. And there’s nothing wrong in that.
However, I realised that I had so often I my life busied myself to distract from what didn’t feel OK .. be it a relationship or a job or so me other role. I used it to avoid looking at what it was in me creating a degree of chaos in my life. I still do it though I now see it happening so that I can press my PAUSE button. Check my thought patterns out. Often its something to do with judging myself, or feeling not good enough, a life long pattern in me … I realise.
Dropping the labels ...
We do this labelling thing from very early in our lives. It just seems to be easier identify the labels in those we meet. We believe it makes things much clearer and easier to recognise who people are. We are taught this through out our lives .. classify, pigeon hole, label, colour, gender, religion, name, age .. it’s the way society behaves.
For a moment, think about how you label yourself .. and about how others may label you?
How useful is that? Do labels really describe who a person is? Do the labels describe who you truly are?
What if you stood there naked … no clothes to identify you … no status … no labels … just you in your vulnerable state of being you? How would you be seen? But more important .. how would you SEE YOU? It’s like holding a mirror to yourself and asking that question .. WHO AM I?
That has been the greatest shift in me .. to meet myself as I am .. to have the courage to be here without labels. One human, BEING here just as I am.
Scary stuff hey! But I have recognised that I am never alone in this … I am simply walking in the steps of many many others who have travelled these many many roads. You can find a list of some of those who I have journeyed here if you are curious.
FIXING what we feel is wrong .....
I began to clearly see and feel what my purpose was in life. I wanted to be able to help other people to shift in their lives. To support their journey to remembering who they are. To watch them grow as they begin to feel the deep peace and self love as they Listen Deeply to themselves. To hold a safe space for them to evolve and play … where there is no judgement. To share the joyful, fulfilling creative place in me that I had rediscovered. But I also realised that there was part of me that wanted to FIX them.
It was never my job to FIX anyone. None of us are here for that purpose. We are only responsible for tending and caring for ourselves. We can bring compassion to others but we cannot FIX them.
The words of the COLDPLAY song may indicate some ‘I can fix you …’ may indicate a great sense of compassion and love helping maybe a lover to ‘feel better’ about themselves. But may be we need to be asking .. “What is there to fix? Who is judging that we need fixing?”
And bringing great compassion love and gentleness to ourselves. Allowing that in .. allowing ourselves to receive that which sometimes the hardest thing of all.
Realising that this journey never ends ..........
But I need a further lesson! I needed not just to experience but also embody what I am learning. I need to FEEL all the wisdom I am looking for is actually inside of me. . . it’s inside all of us.
It has truly begun to feel like a re-connection with my self … a remembering of who I was.
It is through my own healing journey and self realisation that I am still discovering the keys to unlocking my own true potential and finally accepting and loving my true authentic self.
Which brings me to where I am today. I feel I have come full circle . . . totally in love with my life, with my childlike curiosity, walking the path of authenticity and in health.
And my labels …. ARTIST, MENTOR AND GUIDE, COLOUR PRACTITIONER AND TEACHER, LOVER OF PLANTS and WILD THINGS and a very human Being.