I’ve always had a distinct sense that the number 7 was green. A shiny, glossy green.
Number 8 is red. Nine is purple. Five is blue.
No rhyme or reason to it. No logical explanation. I think of the number 7, and in my head, I just know that it’s green. I never thought much about it.
Then I came across this article at Salon.com on synesthesia: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/01/15/synesthesia/index1.html
Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which activation of one sensory processing system (e.g., numbers or written language) leads to the automatic engagement of a second, distinct sensory processing system (e.g., color) to create a “crossed” sensory perception.
It was the first time I’d heard of synesthesia or knew that associating colors with numbers was all that unusual. Unlike the author of the Salon article, I never felt like a freak because of the color associations, and I never felt a need to close myself off from the color perceptions. I just accepted them.
Now, reading about this article, I wonder if synesthesia has affected my life in some way. I think that more than likely, my synesthesia is simply an indication of my sensitive nature. I remember in grade school when a bee would fly into our classroom through the open window, fear would clutch at my stomach. I was, and still am, irrationally afraid of bees. With a bee in the classroom, I could concentrate on nothing else. I would sit almost frozen in fear and look around at my classmates and the teacher only to realize that I was the only one who noticed the bee. I was nearly always the only one to notice. I sat warily watching the bee fly in big, lazy circles, and wish that I wasn’t always the only one to notice these things.
Sensitivity makes life more difficult, but it’s also a blessing. Noticing the things no one else notices – taking action to fix them. Making other people’s lives a little bit better in ways they’d never think about themselves.
Today the universe emailed me to tell me about my dreams:
The Evolution of a Dream
Dream is implanted into brain.
Dreamer becomes thrilled.
Dreamer becomes terrified.
If no action is taken, terrifying thoughts grow into flesh-eating monsters. Dream is considered unrealistic.
If action is taken, terrifying thoughts are revealed to be paper tigers. Confidence soars, miracles unfold, and dreamer begins to saunter.
Either way, Natalie, nothing remains the same.
Wow. I barely know what to say.
I think that often, we give gifts out of obligation or expectation. For a birthday, for Christmas, a housewarming, a wedding. So often, it seems that these are token gifts. The things that you give because you’re expected to give something.
I want to give more heart gifts. Gifts that really mean something. More than tokens. More than obligations. Gifts that express my appreciation, my love, my compassion, my warmth. I think that often heart gifts are gifts of ourselves. Our time, our energy, our attention, our talent. Things we have created with our hands, with our thoughts.
Or, as Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put it in his essay, “Gifts”:
Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.
At bartleby.com you can read the entire essay.
“Do not accept anything simply because it has been said by your teacher, or because it has been written in your sacred book, or because it has been believed by many, or because it has been handed down by your ancestors. Accept and live only according to what will enable you to see truth face to face.”
– Buddha, as quoted in *Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life* by Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s a very powerful idea, to feel that your own beliefs are your own choice. It can also be a very lonely idea if the things that speak to you and make your heart sing are different for you than for the people around you. It can be difficult to hold on to that thread of truth that makes you uniquely you when others are telling you that you’re wrong.
Sometimes I think that my loved ones feel I choose a different path simply to be different, to disagree, to defy. I don’t know how to make them understand that what makes their spirit soar and makes their lives bright and full and brings them peace and love simply does not speak to me. I have tried to be soft and open and learn, but it is not my truth, it is not where my heart lies, it is not my belief.
It is my sincerest wish that each and every person on earth finds the thing, whether it’s a religion, a practice, a hobby, a prayer, a belief or anything else that explains to them their purpose on Earth, lets them feel divine love, and brings them happiness. During this holiday season, may we make rooms in our hearts and our lives for those who hold different beliefs. May we still love and cherish their presence in our lives.
In case you haven’t heard of it, tut.com offers a fabulous service called “Notes from the Universe.” Monday through Friday little bits of insight make their way to your email inbox. It’s almost frightening how right they can be, and how well-timed. I received this one recently:
When desirous of a life change, Natalie, or any kind of a change, it’s wiser to start from a place like: “I am who I am today, where I am today, because this was my choice and it has served me well. However, it no longer serves me, my choices have changed, and I give thanks for the amazing changes that now sweep through my amazing life.”
Rather than, “I don’t know how I got here. I hate this. I must be sabotaging my own progress. I just won’t accept things as they are any more. I’m desperate for a change. By this time next year my life will totally rock!”
OK?? You don’t even have to remember the choices that led you to the day, but by understanding you made them, the kingdom, the power, and the glory knowingly become yours.
Nice little reminder of my own power.
I’ve spent the last couple of years in a whirl of activity, so busy that I couldn’t read a book, take time to knit or write, or even take an hour of rest without feeling guilty that I was letting down one person or another in some way. I haven’t had time for friends or family. I haven’t had time for me.
Instead of doing anything fun, I’ve been studying productivity books, trying to figure out how to pack more and more into my days, trying to figure out how I was going to get it all done, how I could be organized enough to balance the one million different projects I was trying to work on. And now, this realization – organization and efficiency can only get you so far. Eventually, you have to do less.
I was beginning to feel so lost, stressed and confused. I’ve decided to let go of so much of what I was doing and take some time doing all the things that I’ve been missing. Feeding my soul. Absorbing books. Writing my thoughts. Making art. Knitting socks. Talking to friends. Sewing. Learning crochet. Spending hours sipping tea and chatting with kindred spirits.
I’ve had on blinders. I’ve closed out almost everyone, ignoring my family of choice and their support and love. What an awful place I’ve been.
It’s time to move on.
Image credit: Dhilung Kirat