Sunday, 3 December 2006

A Dark Tale of Coincidences

Even though at times I struggled with completing the 8-part programme Inside Out, l had the urge to write a ninth segment. Inside Out is infused with colour but, for the sake of completeness, I felt I needed to address the absence of colour. So I decided to write Faithful/Black.

I was having lunch with a friend at Planet Organic and was talking to her about Positive Body Image and Inside Out and I mentioned that I was working on a ninth segment. She had to get to another appointment but before she left I told her about some of the colour-related incidents that happened as I was writing Inside Out.

After she left a middle-aged man asked if he could join me. This was not unusual. Planet Organic is foremost an organic store and so seating space in the eating area is often at a premium. I indicated that he was welcome and he sat down. He was dressed completely in black. The foreword to Inside Out was still on the table and his eyes were drawn to it. I briefly explained what Inside Out was about and told him that I did coaching.

I asked him what he did and he told me that he was an architect and an award-winning architect too! My father was an architect and the reason why black has such significance for me was that the first time I wore black was at my father's funeral. I was ten years old. As you can imagine, that event had a profound effect on my life. My inner radar was now on full alert.

This architect said jokingly that many architects wore black and that he was colour-blind. He said, as I already knew, that colour-blindness mainly affected men and that many architects were colour-blind. He spoke of getting into trouble at school because he would draw red trees. (He couldn't distinguish red and green – the most common manifestation of colour-blindness.)

I tried hard to imagine what that must be like. I stared at a tree just across the street, looking at the contrast of the tree's green foliage against the beautiful blue sky and felt a little sad that someone would not be able to appreciate such splendour or fully appreciate the changing colours of leaves in autumn. At that moment, as if to emphasise the point, a red taxi drove past (in London taxis are usually black).

This architect said that colour therapy would not be helpful to him but I suggested otherwise for although he could not visually distinguish certain colours that there were other ways to benefit from their vibrational energies. For instance, eating foods of different colours is one way of helping to maintain balance in our chakras. For comparison, I also cited the example that people who are deaf are still affected by music.

I'd like to think that I gave him something to think about. I left him finishing his lunch and he hinted that our paths would cross again. I must confess it was a little uncanny and part of me wanted to rush back and discover more about this stranger. The situation reminded me of John Harrichan's book When You Can Walk On Water Take the Boat – a wonderful tale of discovery through the chance and unpredictable encounters with a stranger. If you haven't read this award-winning bestseller yet I highly recommend it.

Now to conclude my tale, considering that my world is awash with colour it is very difficult to imagine how those who are colour-blind see. It turns out that they see red and green as shades of grey. Mmmm. Interesting.

My chance encounter with this architect brought me back to one of the first quotes I used for Inside Out:

"An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while the pessimist sees only a red stoplight. The truly wise person is colour-blind."
Albert Schweitzer

Go figure!


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