Posted by: Shara | July 6, 2011

Pay Attention

My family is color-coded.  Yes, that’s right.  Color-coded.  Not my children, but my siblings and I.  We each have our own signature colors.  Mine is purple.  Gorgeous, deep, dark, velvety royalish purple.  The next sister in line used to love pink, but turned away from it in favor of blue and not being teased about being girly.  Third child was a boy, guess what his is?  Like it could be anything else BUT blue!  And so the twins, whether subconsciously or not, took red and green.  (Red is my clothing power color though, so definitely not bagging!)

This is the interesting observation to me.  In their various forms, for whatever reasons of the psyche may have been, we all were swayed towards our color choices.  Whether it was because it was popular, it wasn’t popular, gender purposes, or it was something the older ones didn’t fawn over, there was sway.  But from that “sway,” came a conscious thought to adopt them into our personalities in ways that now define us (many grown-up years later).  What was negotiable became doctrine.

Let’s take me, for example.  Purple, while shining as my “defining” color, is not my all time be-all end-all favorite.  If you get the right jewel colors, purple ties right up there with green and blue.  When it comes down to those three, if I have to choose one, I take the purple to end the decision making on my part.  Cop out?  Well, that is the very thing under discussion.

So, are all of these color defining sites correct?  Does the color we choose to connect with tell others who we are?  Does it define what we like, how we will act, and show others more about the inner us?  Studies have been done on the impact of color in our lives.  The colors we like, the colors that we don’t like, what we associate specific colors with, and how we react to them… part of these reactions come from experience, some from learned association, and some from just being human.  Colors have been proven to affect our emotions, trigger memories, and to create attachments to something from our mindscape.  The personality is reflected in, and represented by, certain colors.

Notice that I said my sisters chose red and green after the older ones were done.  There were still plenty of colors left… yellow, orange, pink, brown, white, and any mix of the other colors.  The brother that chose blue as well, didn’t pick green– which was available.  These choices indicate that they still exercised control over their choices.

We all, as humans, want to be defined individually and stand out in our own right.  To be honest, we just want to shine.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying well-deserved praise.  There is great value in accomplishing things worthy of praise.  I use my color-coding to assist me on insecure days.  And if I need to get myself going, then I look at what colors I am surrounded by, and change them (even if it’s my shirt).  This begs a proposal, though.  What if… what if I made as much effort to do this with other things that represent me, or make me feel good?  If I noticed that much around me, would it help me repel the downtimes so that they became more rare?  Could I consciously take such an active part in my environment that it would alter the state of my very being?

The Chinese believe that answer is yes.  In Wikipedia (which in this case has viable information based on what I have heard from Chinese people themselves), “Feng shui is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to use the laws of both Heaven (Chinese astronomy) and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. The original designation for the discipline is Kan Yu.  The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the following passage of the Zangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty:

Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.

Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but has since seen an increase in popularity.”

It has become popular in the United States, being used in every way from paying close attention to the shades or hues that surround a person to the texture of the carpet that bare feet will be walking on.  The position of the furniture in relation to the person and the items included in a room are also heavily weighed for effect.

That being said, I think we could take one basic idea away from all of this:  As said in the movie City of Ember (which was based on the book by Jeanne DuPrau), “The main thing to do is pay attention.  Pay close attention to everything, notice what no one else notices.  Then you’ll know what no one else knows, and that’s always useful.” — Jeanne DuPrau  If we could say this about ourselves with supreme confidence, think about how different the world could be!

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