Blues & Blacks: Wired Up But Melting Down
Blues & Blacks: Wired Up But Melting Down
Blues and blacks: symbols of inspiration for writing, creating,
dreaming. I probably dream in blue, and most certainly think in blue.
Sometimes yellow enters in the distance; it softly blends with the soft
blue haze and quietly mutes the image. Then, serenity enters.
In this serene holodeck world,
creativity also begins to enter. I create (or is is the holodeck on
automatic pilot?) a vividly lush green background with bright colorful
flowers blossoming in the foreground. They symbolize life and energy.
"Oh, we are us, sir. They are also us. So, indeed, we are both us." -Data in "We'll Always Have Paris."
While other colors enter images and then leave, I often go back to
blues and blacks for intense sources of inspiration. Despite their lack
of ‘high energy,’ these colors remain a constant for many artists and
I think of the writings of some of my earlier favorite authors like
Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Hemingway, Andre Brink, and Doris
Lessing. Inspirational but at times, very dark. The emotional and
physical battles they lost and of course, so many that they proudly won.
Black often brings on inspiration (writings of Israel, Palestine,
Ireland, South Africa, Tibet). It’s no grave surprise that I couldn’t
stop writing when I lived in South Africa and spent time along China's
borders back in the late eighties. Blue is often the same way. (Picasso)
Have you ever noticed that when true inspiration comes to you, its
often not convenient? You scramble to find something to write with or
on -- a paper napkin or scrap paper by candlelight. When I was last in
South Africa, it was an antiquated typewriter with sticky keys which I
gave a beating to while watching smoke bombs from Soweto in the near
I wonder: did the recent Code Red provoke me to write this? Perhaps
at a subconscious level. Or perhaps it is the trip to Central America.
It's hard to tell with these kinds of things, isn't it? (don't think
too hard or long about this......the mind can be stifling).
In worlds accustomed to ongoing deprivation, capital punishment, gas
masks, home destruction, discrimination and religious wars, there’s
always something to ignite fire in your belly. And somehow along the
way, you move to blues and blacks.
Yet, at home, in the melting pot that has plenty of deprivation and
discrimination, we often take a stand back. We feel that perhaps
there's nothing to lose on foreign soil by stepping up or moving
forward. Yet, I can’t help but wonder what a united states of states we
would be if the courage 'outside of ourselves' that is always
accessible to us 'inside ourselves,' could be replicated at home - everyday.
The wonderful thing about exploration away from our home
environment, is that we’re forced to slow down and reflect. We start
saying to ourselves, “how glorious, why don’t we remain in this place -- reflection on the things that matter the most -- all the time?“
And then we return home and begin to slowly suffocate again in a
nation that pats itself on the back for its internal trimmings:
Starbuck coffee shops, strip malls, fast food chains, a so-called
democratic government, sitcoms that make my stomach churn and endless
commercials that tout the latest pharmaceutical drug to cure stress,
anxiety, acid reflux, ADD, ADHD, depression………Sound familiar? It is
where you may in fact be living.
---Enough, Ruling Your World, Fast Food Nation, In Praise of
Slow, The Death of Television, WalMart: The High Cost of Low Price---
We live in a society that takes pride on less sleep, working more
hours, having more gadgets and widgets and participating in as many
social online forums as we can – all in lieu of real human interaction
An illusion that we have to live like this – most of the time? An
illusion, just like your favorite painting in all your favorite colors,
the one with the blue and black shadow, the shadow that gives you
clarity, inspiration and energy to refocus on things that matter most.
When we start to not just dream of a simpler life, but live in one,
all of the shades begin to melt and fuse together. The clutter becomes
softer, the noise diffuse, and those fabulous mellow blues bring you to
the most serene holodeck you can possibly imagine.
Says Loehr and Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement, “We
celebrate breadth rather than depth, quick reaction more than
considered reflection. We’re wired up but we’re melting down.”
“At the heart of the problem is a fundamental conflict between the
demands of our man-made civilization and the very design of our human
brain and body……we are machine-centered in our thinking—focused on the
optimization of technology and equipment—rather than
human-centered—focused on the optimization of human alertness and
Some will argue with me that this is overly stereotypical of
American and western societies and that many people do in fact live
their lives in harmony and balance; and often have examples to prove
it, i.e., yoga, buying organic, banning television, spending time with
their kids in nature.
Sadly, it is not the norm in most of the circles I witness. The pace
continues to accelerate and everyone struggles to keep up, buying more
technology that we hope will increase our productivity and free up our
time to do the things that make us feel truly alive. I’m not
anti-technology -- as long as it serves us.
See the world as a clean white canvas that has more possible
outcomes than you have ever imagined. Indulge in blues and blacks for
renewed inspiration or whatever that ‘blue and black’ is for you. And
just when you think you’re about done, start over. Each outcome will
bring more clarity than before you started. And most certainly, more