Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Backdrop and a Blanket, but not Boring

2015 is the fifth year in a row that I've chosen a word and color for the year, and I've finally come around to blue. I feel like I've kind of been putting off blue, because frankly I've always been a bit bored by it.  All my past yearly colors have stood out to me in some significant way, "popped" so to speak, and I've enjoyed researching and exploring their symbolic associations.  Blue doesn't inspire me in this way, and now I understand why: it's the backdrop.

This was uncannily brought home to me the night I made my collage for this year.  I gathered up all my materials, sat down at the dining table, and turned on Pandora on shuffle.  Believe it or not, the second song that played was "Blue Lips" by Regina Spektor.  (As a side note, this is why I generally prefer radio over playlists, and also one of the reasons I love collage; there is magic in randomness.)

Ms. Spektor sings that "all the gods and all the worlds/began colliding on a backdrop of blue," which is actually a poetically fitting description of the collage process. And indeed, as I sat there browsing through a (randomly chosen) stack of magazines, I found that the blue images I was picking were more for the backdrop rather than the collage's featured images.  Here is the final product (which I'm going to post more about in the near future, since there's a lot going on with it that I feel the need to discuss):

Another line of the Regina Spektor song says blue is "the color of our planet from far, far away."  As I sit here at my desk and look out the window, I realize that it's also the most ubiquitous color from the perspective of the planet's surface, at least my little portion of it, because of the sky, of course. (And here in northern New Mexico that sky is an intense and vivid blue more often than not.)  Perhaps it's this ubiquity that's influenced my previously unexamined feeling that blue is boring.  I've taken it for granted; it's just the backdrop.  But embracing it now, the blue blue sky feels more like a blanket enfolding and warming all of my life, keeping it safe and cozy, and walking out into the big wide world is so much easier with from this perspective.

This all ties in very well with my word for the year, which is "innocence." This word came to me like a breath of fresh air one day, and I immediately knew it was the right one for the year.  Throughout my life I've struggled with feelings of guilt, sometimes warranted and sometimes not.  In the past few years, I've made great strides in terms of growth and personal evolution, which has made the guilt issue that much more obvious as something that still needs to be healed.  And so, rather than try to make those feelings go away, I will spend this year consciously connecting with the quality of innocence, embracing it within myself.  One of my first lessons in this regard has been that in order to embody innocence, there must be a deep and childlike trust, a feeling of safety.  At this point, I still can't fully articulate why this is so, but on a visceral level, I've experienced it to be true. And feeling enfolded by the sky, this living blanket of blue, is currently doing more to develop in me the sense of safety, trust, and innocence than I could have ever imagined.

The overall effect, which is already profound only 17 days into the new year, is a level of peace and relaxation I've never known before, at least not on a consistent basis. Blue is elemental, associated not just with the sky, of course, but also with bodies of water, and I feel like I'm floating: surrounded, supported, and upheld.  Floating in the sky, or floating in the water, in trust I dive into the blue and am pleasantly surprised by the intensely vibrant tranquility it offers in response.

I realized just now (although this may not make sense to anyone else) that my blue year experience so far is comparable to listening to the Enigma song, "Return to Innocence," which is powerful not so much in its lyrics detailing the meaning as in its power to effect the felt experience of innocence. When I searched for this song on YouTube, I ended up watching what I suppose is the official video, which I'd never seen before.  It definitely adds a different dimension to the experience of the song:


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