Find Your Colour, Whatever It May Be

In The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters, the reader is invited to “imagine that you are 100 years old and on your death bed with one minute left to live. Your great-great-grandchild asks, ‘Before you die, tell me what I should do with my life?’”

The answers you come up with are really advice to yourself.  Peters says “if you are not living by this advice, which is the essence of your existence, you are living a lie. Don’t live a lie; it will unsettle you more than anything else.”

My own results from doing this exercise can be summarised as follows:

“Take notice of who you are and be that person with all your heart.”

~ Liz Humphreys

When I reflect on my life, I can see that, too often, I adapted myself to meet what I thought were the expectations of others.  I compromised.  I sat meekly on the sidelines, without standing up for myself, all the while complying with what I perceived to be the rules of life.

Now, in the lead up to my 50th birthday, I can, with much relief, see how those rules, which seemed so definitive, were either my own construct, or were arbitrary and challengeable.  I am much more likely these days to side with Nietzsche:

“You have your way.  I have my way.  As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

~ Frederich Nietzsche

So how can we wake up to who we really are?  One answer is through creativity, or rather creative living.

Elizabeth Gilbert in her marvellous book, Big Magic, clarifies that to live creatively has nothing to do with pursuing the life of a professional artist.  She is referring to “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear…..A creative life is an amplified life.  It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.”

I can relate to this.  I have come to realise that I have lived much of my life in the shadow of fear, whose constant refrain has been “stay small; don’t stick out; do what’s ‘right’; don’t colour outside the lines”.  I am working on breaking free of these chains and barriers – writing this blog is a particularly valuable therapy.

“There is no must in art because art is free.”

~ Wassily Kandinsky

This post is not a manifesto for the grand gesture.  As Kandinsky highlights, there is no ‘should’ or ‘must’ about living creatively.  Instead, we can find our own path and wake up to ourselves through the smallest of steps – take a different route to work; pick a different flavoured sandwich for lunch; read a magazine you have never before picked up.  As Austin Kleon says in another of my favourite books:

“Take time to mess around.  Get lost. Wander.  You never know where it’s going to lead you.”

~ Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist

Such practices create space for us to find our real selves.  To re-discover what we knew about ourselves but had forgotten.  To illuminate our true colour from underneath all the burdens and expectations of our monkey minds and of society.

This message is beautifully captured in the following short film.  Take a look, and then take a moment to think about whether you need to dig out your colour from underneath an otherwise grey cloak.  Have fun.  Be Brave.  There is nothing to lose and everything to find. 🙂

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Find Your Colour, Whatever It May Be

  1. Liz, this is absolutely fantastic, I so love the short film with the message. Great message , yes let’s get the colour back. I even think I am getting grey at the moment but will get some colour back now. Such a great post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ute, you are one of the most colourful people I know! I am sorry to hear that you may have temporarily mislaid your colour and am confident that you will easily be able to find it again. Good luck! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for saying that Liz, I am sure I will! You are already helping with it. 🙂 Big hug ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are welcome. Big hugs back xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a sweet animation!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a darling film but your post says everything just as beautifully. I still can’t quite bring myself to colour outside the lines but I’m working on it. 😀 I am glad you are here to help with the colouring. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mandy! Colour away. Always happy to help 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nothing like a “big” birthday to get a person thinking deep thoughts! I like the idea that creativity boils down to curiosity . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s strange isn’t it – just another number, but 50 seems so much more significant than 49 or 51. And yes, completely agree – I love the thought of directions in life being a series of ‘what ifs’ and ‘how abouts’. 🙂

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  5. Great post Liz and just to get in early, happy birthday! That is a great philosophy of life. Things that stretch our individual worlds can be so incredible in their results. I forwarded Steve’s Elvenhome post to Mike, and he clicked through and read this one, and says he is with you right up to the point at which you mention trying a different sandwich for lunch :0

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liz, and yes, on reflection, Mike is absolutely right – what was I thinking?!? 😱😂

      Like

  6. Wonderful words 🙂 I recently posted about the power of authenticity and I think you did a wonderful job explaining it here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this and welcome to the blog – I really appreciate your comments. 🙂

      Like

  7. Love the Chimp Paradox. Enjoy your birthday 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! Good luck with your chimp diary – should be very interesting 🐒😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the post, am nearly finished this book and wow..wow..wow..to say the very least..
    Its one I shall be re-reading, its just an amazing book so thank you kindly for your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this – really glad you are getting so much from your reading, and it is great to have your company on the blog 🙂

      Like

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