Monday, November 30, 2015

Red and Blue

No. 14 Red, Blue Over Black, Mark Rothko

When I was in fifth grade I went to German camp for one week in Northern Minnesota. I got reasonably homesick and, on the last day, hours before my mom and dad were to pick me up, I (oddly) could barely handle the homesickness anymore. It was as if the realization that my house didn't burn down and my brother didn't die was such a relief that I needed to leave that rustic camp setting right then and RIGHT NOW.

But, there were several hours to wait. As I waited, I spent time walking around the cafeteria (some kids were already being picked up by their parents, which made my misery even worse) and I tried to find a way to occupy my mind. I came up with the weirdest thing.

I pictured a gel capsule inside my chest (yes, weird, I warned you) and on one side it was Red and on the other side it was Blue. As I waited out those last agonizing hours...waiting, watching, holding my breath until that Oldsmobile Station Wagon would pull up...I would picture the gel capsule rising up Red when I was OK and rising up Blue when I was Not OK. It was a pretty simple, elementary form of Mindfullness. This weird visualization got me to 4PM when the Station Wagon pulled up and I got to go home (which, indeed, did not burn down.)

One year ago my life was ripping apart at the seams in the slowest unraveling ever. My dad had come to the end of his 5+ year stint as a severely handicapped man. My career was on hold and I was ending a marriage. I was living in a different city, away from my family and I was, 

in one word: Miserable.

That's when Red and Blue showed up. It was one night, October 2014, and I told my then roommate about the "weird" Red and Blue capsule visualization from fifth grade German camp and I told her that I was going to start using it again.

"Ok." She said. "That works." 

(She was perhaps the most understanding, nonjudgemental roommate / person I've ever met).

Red and Blue. OK and Not OK. I'm using it to this day. It is, of course, way more complex that that. But, it is helpful, for me. 

"I'm Red today"... "I'm Blue today." There are elements of both being OK and being Not OK that are just part of life, no matter how extreme one or the other might feel. And Red and Blue is a - let's be honest - pretty "weird" and personal thing for me, but I wanted to share it with you. I think bianaries can help orient us. It helps me. To be able to be a color. 

Red or Blue. 

Red and Blue. 

OK and Not OK. 

I invite you to give it a try. It might help. 


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