Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Colouring "Within the Lines"
The sensation of intense focus, as I paid mindful attention to ‘the lines’ in the colouring book, is still fresh. “Stay within the lines” was the always pervasive challenge. I clearly recall the feeling of mastery that accompanied my achievement of the ‘advanced level’ found in outlining each area with a bold application of the crayon. Now! That will surely facilitate tidy and proper colouring! Such was the exercise of those early years. Looking back now, I can see the training element that the colouring book presented. For, as I grew and learned more at more ‘sophisticated’ and mature levels … “staying within the lines” was something that the larger society (and indeed, the world at large) valued and required of each of us. “To know One’s place … and to stay in it” was something that my parents stressed. And it was against those attempts to confine, that I felt myself straining.
For, My Dear Reader, I am, at the core of my Being, not a “Stay Within The Lines” kind of guy. My temperament is inclined, innately, to be more of an Impressionist, or, perhaps (on those unpredictable, spontaneous moments) even an Abstract Impressionist. My Spirit is not ‘at home’ within the ‘lines’ of prescribed behaviors and expression. I am all about possibilities … not conclusions. My Soul cries out for the Infinite, and avoids the Defined like some kind of bitter fruit.
I know, and respect, the fact that most folks are comfortable within those lines. I appreciate the safety and security that is found there. I simply do not find those benefits for my Self in the same bounds. I am not an ‘emotionally tidy’ person. In fact, I would probably be considered, by many, to be quite a 'sloppy’ person … in the emotional department. And, not only do I enjoy the freedoms and liberties known in my “impressionistic” expression of my life’s colouring of the living experience … but I offer those possibilities and potentials to those whose lives I am blessed to touch. I linger for that short instant that looks the Other in the eye with a smiling, bemused, raised brow that says, “Why not?” And I often leave the passing company of friends, and strangers alike, with that exposure to an alternative way of living, lingering in their awareness. A seed of something new and fresh for them to reflect on. Maybe they too, can be just a bit more free with their recognition of and responses to the world around them. This is the message that I hope that I leave, ‘hanging in the air’ as I retreat.
Such is my simple reflection today. A basic recognition of something as basic and rudimentary as a child’s colouring book. But isn’t that what we are each doing with every moment of our lives? Colouring the perceptions of Others. Shading and giving definition, to the canvas of that World that we each touch, with the brush of our individual influence. With respectful deference to the individual who is most comfortable living within the “paint-by-numbers” life … I would encourage an occasional departure from the cozy confines of “the lines” … and whisper an invitation to give themselves some liberty … and venture outside into a soul-freeing experience of self-expression and Spirit-acknowledgement. Go ahead! Let those walls of your habitual 'box of behavior’ down … and taste the sweet nectar of openness and freedom. Let yourself speak the “I love you” words. Touch a Soul that is hungry for the Gift of your emotional involvement … if but for an instant. There is a world, just beyond 'the lines,’ that yearns for that colour that is only available from the palette of your individual experience, and care. I lovingly encourage you to share that joy of “going beyond” with someone today. I do love You, you know!
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