Perhaps you remember the band Color Me Badd – you know “Tick Tock you don’t stop to the heart Tick Tock you don’t stop…” Okay if you don’t, here is a quick brush up. Four Oklahoma City R&B dudes popping onto the scene in 1985 screeching how they wanted to sex us up. Did you know they are still around? They took a hiatus for about a decade in the early 2000’s, but the Grammy winners are still harmonizing.
What does this have to do with anything I am chit chatting about today – pretty much nothing except I am into C O L O R S. When I decided I wanted to Blog about C O L O R S today, the band just flickered into my brain.
I coach multiple theme-based, virtual group series. I kick off each session a bit differently. I might start with: 1) an intention 2) a breathing exercise 3) ask participants to run around their home or office and get an object that might remind them of why they have a particular goal 4) ask them to share with the group a geographic scene they are feel best represents how their emotion for the day or perhaps 5) select an animal that matches their attitude…Lately, I am using colors.
C O L O R S are interesting to me. I love them. So much so…I never have an answer to the question, what is my favorite color? I have colors I favor, but the front-runner changes. For instance, I wouldn’t pick brown or gray as a fav, but I would have a preferred shade if ask what type of brown I like or some days I might feel brown or gray. It could be a day I love purple or a day I grab a bright, orange blouse and think, “Damn, girl, why don’t you wear this color every day?” Does that then mean orange is my favorite color? Or is it coral? Or is it peach? Yeah, maybe I am feeling peach, but wanting to live near coral or orange reminds me of the Broncos. UGH – C O L O R S are so complex.
I do know every time I ask my clients at the beginning of a session what color they are feeling, those who share a “dark, dreary” color shade jump by the end of the session. 100%. If Jenna is feeling a calm blue – she either stays her calm blue or might jack on up to yellow. I mean I have to give myself some credit, and, of course, credit to the other participants, we have fun, learn lots and I don’t think anyone leaves a session less motivated, more pissed or depressed than the hour before when they hopped on Zoom.
But this week I took it a bit deeper. I challenged the group.
Jenna stated blue was the color she was feeling. She appeared happy and calm. I asked her, “Jenna, what shade of blue do you see or feel; a cobalt blue or powder blue or a baby blue?” Her eyelids twerked – like a huh? I said blue. Can eyelids twerk? She responded, “I don’t know. I responded with, “What shade of blue: light, medium, dark – what does it look like if it were an object?” She held a pause. I continued, “Like an ocean, a bluebird, your mother’s favorite sweater?” I had a point. I told her to sit in it for a minute.
Onto Elsa. “Girl, what color are you feeling or seeing today?” “Green.” Here we go again. “Are you seeing a emerald, or maybe a lime or an evergreen tree?” She quickly stated, just green. I paused – no joke – I counted the seconds. At five seconds she belted: LIME. I asked – why a lime? “I remembered a favorite adventure with my husband…we drank way too many margaritas.” If I hadn’t pressed her, I have assumed she saw “her green” as sitting on a mountain top looking over a Vermont field blanketed with poplars.
I should have given you a heads up. This particular group may have been a bit tired. There were 11 in the group, and I was headed to the third person, and no one had caught on to my little game. So here we go again. “Lydia, close your eyes and tell me what color you are seeing or feeling?” Answer: Red. I replied,”Whoa red. Fire-engine, Hot Tamale, or pissed-off red?” “No, I am not pissed off. I had an apple before class.” She nearly had us all pissing our pants.
See how relating a C O L O R to an emotion or feeling might change your interpretation of how someone is doing. AND THEN relating the color to an object would need yet another interpretation. We are so complex. But fun, eh?! I love human behavior.
So if you ask someone how they are doing and they say sad, what if you respond with…what color is your sad? Is it a deeeeeep navy blue or is your sad a raven black or maybe it is garnet. They might think you are cray, but you will learn a bunch and I bet have fun.
For me TODAY, the range of the above colors would mean: navy blue – rested because I slept in; black – drowning in my workload; garnet – my birthstone. My point, you cannot always C O L O R Me Bad. My C O L O R Bad, may not be your C O L O R Bad. Conversation by definition means: talk between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged. Yet I challenge that words are words are words and colors are colors are colors and objects are objects are objects.
The deeper the dive into this fun C O L O R game, brings about sharing of our experiences and interpretations. The next time you hear the spoken words: sad, pissed, elated, depressed ask what color they are feeling or seeing and then dive into the shade or an object and eventually you get to the experience. NOW THAT IS A FUN CONVERSATION.
I will end with this recent conversation:
Me: “Hey, son, how are you feeling this morning?”
Son: “AHHH, tired.”
Me: “Like what color would be tired for you?
Son: Response with a double eye roll: “Mom, GAWD. I don’t know maybe a tan.”
Me: “Like sand or oatmeal tan?”
Son: “Mom, stop! Just tan.” GIGGLE. I bet he brightened up to pale apricot.
C O L O R me YELLOW today. Between Tuscany Sun Yellow and Honey Yellow…super happy, energized and picturing myself eating a pastry drizzled with honey while sipping a java on a gentle, breezed balcony in a villa in Rome. See I am really am a happy “yellow.”
Love you, mean it.