“You have such beautiful blue eyes,” Sarita said to me early in the wooing process. Well since I have green eyes, always have and always will, I wasn’t sure how to take this. I decided I’d concentrate on the “beautiful” part, and not worry about the rest. But since that time, we have had many a laugh on our differences in seeing colors. Just last night she told me to pull the brown blanket more over to my side, because hers was too long to whip off in a nighttime hot flash. Brown? It is as purple as can be, dark purple I’d agree, but purple nonetheless. We decided that the only way to understand this seeming difference we have, is to realize that the artist in Sarita always sees the colors within the color that the rest of us see. She sees them almost to the exclusion of anything else.
That has got me thinking. When do I see what’s within something, so that it is even more vivid to me than the outside wrappings? And what about other people, do they have times when they see the within part better than anything else? I absolutely believe that every person is able to do this, or at least has the potential to do this. I don’t even believe that it is just a human thing, I think that at least some animals show us how to use this sense, and that we could probably learn from them. Definitely dogs, probably cats, whales, dolphins, chimps and monkeys, possibly horses, who knows how many kinds of animals respond to situations and people by the sense they get from within the situation or person. The outside appearance is just not as important as the spirit, and animals seem to be able to pick up the sense of the spirit incredibly well.
But I can now understand why there are so many books written nowadays about how to find your artistic sensibility, (how to express yourself artistically), because that is a definite plus to a person being able to see more than what meets the eye. The sculptor can see the shape inside the chunk of wood, and carves until it comes out. The quilter can see the way to put the colors and shapes together to make an expression that was formerly hidden from others. The songwriter and poet can put together words and/or music that understands the feeling of the moment. I remember making cloth dolls during a period of my life, and one time I just knew that it was the doll telling me what to do next. I was so connected to it that all I had to do was listen and follow directions. It was an amazing feeling, and one I’ll never forget. I believe that was because I had such passion for making that doll, that it became almost a spiritual experience. And luckily I also had enough knowledge and training that I could do whatever was needed.
Passion, Innate Knowledge, Experience, Training. These are the things that I believe allow us to see the colors within, speaking metaphorically. And anyone can have these things, the trick is to find our passions, and to follow the path to gaining experience and training so that we can experience our passions fully. And they certainly don’t have to be artistic passions in the traditional sense, they could include teaching, accounting, parenting, really anything that exists! I know that it is particularly hard when self confidence is low, or when a person doesn’t have the opportunity to explore enough to find his/her passions, or when there are so many struggles in one’s life that the physical energy, time, or emotional motivation is at a low point. My daughter is frustrated because her passion is painting, and with her job and her care of her three year old, she cannot find the space, time or energy to do it. I remember being so sick and discouraged that I did not have the motivation to do anything at all other than sleep, get dressed, and watch TV. I’ve known people who have to work all the time (at jobs that are not their passions), and then care for others, leaving very little awake time to pursue any passion.
But I would suggest that it is extremely important to continue working to find and pursue our passions, in whatever little ways we can manage, no matter what our situations are. Because every experience, every task we do, may contribute to that creative passion’s being fully experienced at a later date, and to the amount of joy and fulfillment that accompanies it. My piano lessons from second grade to sixth grade certainly have contributed to my songwriting on the piano, which was one of the main ways I was able to express myself during a painful breakup. My 4H sewing club gave me the skills I needed to make those dolls, and my favorite algebraic equation has helped me be able to make the creative alterations I’ve wanted to make in my knitting, now that I know the basics. I imagine that baking every Sunday evening with my oldest daughter helped with her love of cooking, and her brave and innovative meals. I think that typing my youngest daughter’s stories helped her with exploring the story of her birth and adoption, as well as her deep love and caring of her nephew.
I believe that when we find that thing that touches our souls, most of the time we know it right away. Driving to New Mexico, my heart stirs every time we cross that border into the state. Everything about it is right to my body, my mind and my soul. But for other things, I had to persist and keep learning before it became a passion. Knitting now gives me creative joy, a constant project, a time to meditate, and a product that I can be proud of. But it didn’t at first. It has taken time. But I guess some part of those things must have been there for me to continue to want to learn. So I look forward to being more aware of where I look, and what I look at, and what I really see. Is it just the outside trappings, or is it something more, something that maybe only I see, but that draws me to it like the invisible red thread? I believe if I pay more attention, I will appreciate my surroundings and my life more every day both here in and my beloved New Mexico. Perhaps I have a new passion just waiting around the corner. Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to be a part of the process of someone else seeing the colors within. Meanwhile, I’ll have a whole new appreciation (and tolerance) for perception, especially when it comes to the color of my eyes!