I love crayons. Colors. Bright and bold. They’re beautiful to me. I like the way they feel in my hands. I love giggling about their names: “Purple Mountains’ Majesty,” “Macaroni and Cheese,” “Mango Tango.” Can you imagine having the job title, “Crayon Namer”? How cool would that be? I even love the way they smell. The whole lot of them.
We have a huge bin of crayons. Alone they are far less compelling but together they are magical. On any given day I can pull out a handful of different shades of blues and purples, greens and yellows. Yes, there are the basic: Yellow, Blue, Red and Green. But those are the few; the bulk are made up of “Vivid Tangerines,” “Pacific Blues” and “Mauvelous.” Who wouldn’t want to be “Mauvelous”? I want to be “Mauvelous”! Yet in the midst of all the vibrancy, there is always Gray. Mixed among the beautiful. Waiting for its turn to stick out and be its own bit of magic. I think of Gray as a temporary color. Considering it as an all-of-the-time-color isn’t very tantalizing. Not for me. I want the zing in life. The pop. The pow.
This week every part of me aches and tonight my eyes burn. I cannot find the right colors to draw a picture of my week. I am more connected to myself than I have ever been but I feel so exhausted. Change is in the air. It is palpable and yet I am so damn tired. I don’t even know what to do with myself. So much is happening. Unfolding. I’m clawing through all of the nibs of crayons because I desperately want to color the whole picture for you with my words. But I can’t quite get there and my inability to draw my picture leaves my brain foggy and … well… Gray.
What do you feel when you see the word — Gray? What do you think of when I name the color: Gray? I think of it as a cocoon. A holding place. A color of in-betweeness. The shading. The shadows. The color-in-waiting. A holding place for something else to fill it in with its true colors and honest form. I keep coming back to the idea that maybe it’s okay to be Gray for a while. Perhaps an unfinished portrait is okay. Simply acknowledging that I am sitting and holding space for this anticipatory change might just be good enough. Like the caterpillar waiting in its cocoon which eventually sloughs off as it undergoes its metamorphosis. Transitioning to the butterfly. Skies don’t stay Gray. Dusk moves on to night and the Gray dawn morphs into morning. Always.
I have to emphasize that I’m not striving for a Monet. Nor am I talking about the big stuff. Not the events we photograph and hang on our walls. Not the stuff we make scrapbooks out of. No. That’s the obvious stuff. That’s the stuff that no one misses. The stuff that’s staring you right in the face. The Vacations and Birthday Celebrations. Weddings and Anniversaries. We remember those events like we remember a lover’s embrace. Effortlessly. In fact, we’ve already declared them memorable before our suitcases are packed or before we’ve thrown on our party clothes. We can hold these happenings without even trying. They’re monumental in their own right.
I’m talking about the minutiae. The strands and pieces that just float in front of us without obvious meaning or thought. The forgotten stuff. The overlooked stuff. The stuff that, when we’re not looking, we miss over and over and over again. That is until we’re ready for it. When we’re open and unencumbered, we can see that these threads are all intricately woven and beautiful. Like the spider’s web waiting for us outside of our front door on a dewy summer’s morning. Glimmering with droplets in the early morning’s rays. Day after day, we walk through the web without seeing it. Only taking it in enough to swiftly pull its tangles off of our face and arms. Then one day, we really see it. As if it was always there, waiting for us. We may even gasp when we open the door. Relieved to see it; we’ve been missing it without ever knowing anything was missing to begin with.
Funny how life is like that. I think of it as losing ourselves along life’s journey. Losing who we are and thinking we’re something else. Someone else. Someone other than, well, ourself. Did we wake up one morning and forget who we are? And with that inquiry, we’re left to contemplate — Are we ready to be found? Am I ready to be found? I am. I am ready. But this cocoon is so uncomfortable. I want the crayons to put my picture together. I want my picture finished now. Gray sort of sucks if you ask me, but I will keep waiting.
I think the whole of our lives are the bits. The pieces. The nuances that can be missed if we’re disconnected from ourselves. They are the tug on our heart when we feel like we’ve been truly seen and deeply understood by another person. They’re the subtleties of life. Something so understated — like smelling someone’s familiar scent when you hug them after being apart. The little things — the snippets we always take for granted. In my mind, there is a heartache which stems from the inherent knowing that if our hearts aren’t open to these seemingly meaningless fragments, we ache for them in the depths of our unconscious. These long lost pieces of ourselves which are the every-things that matter the most.
How do I write about cocooning? How can I explain it when I’ve never really done it before? Where do I start? I keep digging my fingers into the crayon bin. Plunging. Hoping that I can pull something fabulous out of the Gray-mist that is my mind this week. I’m trying to make sense of it all. But it’s hard to think when I’m in a Gray-cocoon. I can simply start with crayons. With all of the individual pieces. I can sit within the Gray and write about the rainbow of colors that surround it. The multitude of colors that get lost if we don’t open our eyes to them. The many many colors that make it okay to be Gray for a while. Make it okay to be waiting in in-betweenness. With bits and pieces — a plethora of colors — ready to create the picture. The whole picture. The whole story. The whole me.
Gray can be mistaken for feeling stuck. But this is not it. Gray isn’t a stuck-ness. It’s a holding place. Instead of continuing to try to piece together the fragments of my week and of myself into my post, I’ll just admit that, right now, I am the pieces. I am all of the colors in my crayon bin spread out upon the floor. I am holding myself open within my Gray-cocoon. I am on the verge of something “Mauvelous.”
Since Gray is lackluster, I’ve been surrounding myself with a little lightheartedness to remind me that wherever I’m at is okay. I do know that cocooning is a good thing because it’s the pregnancy before the birth. I can wait. I can tolerate this tiring uncomfortableness; it is truly the doorway to wholehearted living. I just might need a little Taylor Swift to help me shake off the Gray-brain-fog and get me ready for next week.
Here you go! Enjoy yourself whatever colors you are today. Even if you find yourself feeling a bit like me — a little muddled in the Gray. Whether whole or unfinished. Either way is just fine. Get up and groove.
Take good care.