If an apple blossom or a ripe apple could tell its own story, it would be, still more than its own, the story of the sunshine that smiled upon it, of the winds that whispered to it, of the birds that sang around it, of the storms that visited it, and of the motherly tree that held it and fed it until its petals were unfolded and its form developed. ~Lucy Larcom
Often in life we tell our stories, our history, in black in white. Why would we do so when we have long lived such a Technicolor existence? A sweet rhapsody written by our hearts, cloaked in words that express how we awoke with the sunlight kissing our noses, trusting in the belief our friends would be forever friends, our parents a stable influence all of our days and happiness never farther than right around the corner. What happens to us as we age that we allow the color to fade from us to be replaced with the monotonous tones of white and black with the melted grey tones betwixt? Why do we choose to forget? Do we grow tired of searching for the colors, quit believing they are truly ours, choosing instead to take what is easy to find? Do we grow too tired to constantly fight the barrage of “life grifters” who pick and pull our glorious petals off of us until all that remains is death and thorns? Oh, and sameness. Sameness with all the other black and white and gray us’s in the world. Why do we choose to wear snide remarks as a badge of self-loathing instead of knowing another persons remark is their problem not our own?
Why? Because we are taught to. We must be. One need only to look at the day in the eyes of a small child to see the colors life are supposed to be, the colors, the wonderment we once wore as well. The wonder of the world around us, out of us, not inside of us. Never inside of us. As we age, and increase our cognitive learning skills we learn to ruminate, to study and remember the slightest of moments and with these moments there is often pain involved. “You are fat.. you are dumb.. you are ugly.. you are..” A few of the many things we cognitively learn and cling to as if our life depended on it. But the thing is, the pain recedes, it’s the suffering that remains, not the pain. Clothed in this knowledge, wouldn’t it be logical to conclude that inward is the dark coloring of pain but outward is the wonderment and colors we once believed in when we were young? Take courage and turn your camera outward for fifteen minutes or so. Stare at a bird or a squirrel, or a small child playing, the beauty of a flower and bee. Just stare. Fifteen minutes. Don’t make a story about it, don’t consider the science of it, just watch. And when your time is done, your moment gone, ask your self what you felt. I reckon, if done right, no thoughts involved, you will feel the absence of suffering, perhaps even some happiness, a lightness of being.
How do I know this? And it’s the take from to boot. Because one of the most important insights about suffering is it is created by our thoughts. Yes, we all have painful experiences. But there is a difference between suffering and pain. Pain is a physical or emotional sensation that we feel immediately, and then it passes. Once we stop our running commentary and direct our focus on the present again, all will be well. There’s nothing we can’t handle as long as we learn to not identify with, to choose not to wear those prickly badges after the actual event. To realize when someone says “you are..” the sentence is immediately gone when it leaves their lips and it becomes their problem not yours. To consciously keep refocusing on the here and now, not leaning inward but looking outward. Only then will we see that in our lifetime the wind has whispered it’s secrets to us, the birds sung sweetly to us, someone has loved us, the sun has softly kissed our lips and our life is a beautiful tapestry of colors woven specifically for us so that we can one day share our story, the happiness and sadness of it, but mostly the colors of happiness, as our days fade to dark.