Thinking in Colors

As far back as I can remember, I have related words and concepts to colors. Not in any meaningful sense. I just see a word or concept in my head in a specific color. And the color is sort of random; i.e., it doesn’t relate to anything in particular, like its actual color in life, if there is a color associated with it.

People’s names (the word I see in my head when I think of the name) are very clear: Mary is red, Sally is yellow, Bridgette is burnt orange, Lyle is a sort of dreamy blue-grey. Every name has a color associated with it, and it is not something I even think about. It just is.

What made me think about this? I was laying in bed last night in that icky half-dream state one experiences  when you first get sick with the flu or a cold, and I had drainage down the back of my throat all night. Around 5:00 AM, realizing I was not going back to sleep, I was thinking I needed to get myself out of my warm bed and take something for this incessant…blue…drainage. Why blue? Who the heck knows?

This odd phenomenon called synesthesia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia) apparently has to do with individual brain chemistry and patterns. Some people see numbers, some see spatial patterns, some vibrations. There are apparently thousands of ways that synesthetes ‘see’ words and numbers in their heads. This has no intrinsic value except to point out that everyone’s brain is unique. There are processes going on at lightning speed every nanosecond of our existence creating patterns and memories and foundations for future experiences.

The expectation that we all see things the same way is unrealistic just based on our individual brain function, much less on life experiences. Just as teachers (should) acknowledge that children each learn in different ways (by touch, by listening, by seeing, etc.), we should consider that as adults we approach new experiences in life with that same distinctive perception.

Our unique perspective should be taken into account when we decide to make a change, whether it is to break a bad habit, or bring creative endeavors into our life. Ask yourself what might reinforce positive change? Does your mind respond to music? Then use beautiful (or soulful or upbeat or rhythmic…) music to produce a constructive correlation to the behavior you want to change. Do you love colors? Then find pictures that touch your soul, or wear the colors that make you happy, or find a room where you can retreat/regroup/meditate, and paint it your favorite color. Are you a tactile person? Then relate your new behavior to something warm, soft, and fuzzy that you carry around with you and touch each time you need reinforcement.

This may all sound kind of superfluous. But discovering what clicks your brain into the comfort zone will help you begin the process of creative thinking, which leads to inspired action. If you use your natural mind map, change will be less like a grueling gauntlet and more like a fantastic adventure.

Why make it complicated when you have the means of creating (relatively) effortless transformation? Sort of like the butterfly. The caterpillar doesn’t think about how its body is radically transformed into something beautiful. It just trusts that it will happen.

Louise (which is sort of a steel-grey)

www.artfulperspectives.com