Monday, March 7, 2011

Color Clarity

I couldn't believe the intense coloring on this log on the beach.

I love color! Color is my passion, well, one of many. But the common thread that weaves my passions together is color.

What is it about walking on the beach - or anywhere in nature for that matter - that brings clarity and focus?

I took a mini-retreat last week to Whidbey Island (by myself!) to calm my thoughts and enjoy some peace and quiet. As planned, I read, I walked, I ate great food, I read some more, I got an awesome massage (thanks mom!), I saw a movie (The King’s Speech – so good), and I even meditated.

I don't know about you but I always read about the wonderful benefits of meditation but I find it so very hard to do. I even bought an interactive guided meditation kit, aptly titled "Unplug," before I went. It included a book, flash cards offering bite-sized tips to get your meditation practice going, and a CD that literally guides your meditation. I even requested a CD player for my room before I arrived. I was bound and determined to meditate! When I found my room without the requested CD player I decided to let it go and just try meditating on my own, focusing on my breath and letting go. It worked ok but I wasn't totally feeling it.

So I turned back to reading the many things I brought to fill my quiet time - a great novel, the March issue of House Beautiful magazine that is dedicated to color, and information my mom gave me about “The Art of Graceful Transitions.” I also read two handouts from a color energy workshop I attended recently that use color as a basis for meditation to clear the chakras and bring awareness to your mind, body and soul. Am I getting too woo woo for you? Please stick with me because this kind of meditation really works - at least if you love color! (I will share the color meditation technique in a future post, because here I want to share photos from my wonderful time on Whidbey Island.)

As I mentioned, I purchased this meditation kit. Unplug became my mantra for my trip: no email, no cell phone, no TV, no radio in the car…. I literally unplugged.

On Friday morning, I set out for a beach walk after reading about transitions. I learned that there are three main stages of transitions: endings, the neutral zone and a new beginning. I realized that I am in the neutral zone and it feels good! The neutral zone is neither an ending or a beginning, and it is the period of “not doing.” Easier said than done, but I am trying because it is so important to go through this phase.
One of the suggestions for this phase is to take your own time in the wilderness (or the beach),  and avoid distractions and take note of your dreams, where your mind wanders, natural rituals that occur, and patterns in thoughts and memories. And, importantly, have no expectations of your time away. This one is really hard because I felt like everyone (including myself) expected me to come home with some big epiphany about what I am going to do. Although not a big epiphany, I felt clarity as I was walking on the beach that I need to do something with color. It keeps bubbling up and capturing my thoughts and boosting my energy.
Everywhere I looked on the beach I saw beautiful colors.  Literally everywhere. It energized me and excited me. This clarity came from unplugging and being in nature and not doing…. What I am not clear on is what I will do or in what industry? Fashion, branding, color consulting, photography, the arts, who knows? But I am focused on and excited about learning all I can about the fabulous and invigorating qualities of color.

I even chose the hotel where I stayed (the fabulous Boatyard Inn) because of the colors, in addition to the great location right on the beach, the price and the lovely innkeepers, Mynda and Annabet, who were so welcoming and allowed me to check in early and check out late.
This Native American carving ran the whole length of the bulkhead on the beach at Langley. It captured my attention right away.

And then I began noticing color everywhere, like this bright blue chain on a big log that washed up on the beach.

And bright greem seaweed was everywhere.

From afar I didn't recognize the remains of a Nutcracker. It looked like someone deliberately placed it here next to a big water basin at the foot of the hillside on the beach.

This beachfront cottage was all blue.
The sign in the front yard read Periwinkle Lane. Charming!

I walked about twice as far as I planned down the beach. At one point I became nervous because I realized I didn't know if the tide was coming in or going out. It had be in most of the time I was there. I don't know about you but I don't read tide tables. They are the original Eye Chart. My heart rate quickened and I imagined getting stranded. Then I saw these two read Adirondack chairs way down the beach and I thought “trust nature, trust color.” I immediately felt calm.

Even the white waves caught my attention.

And how about this beautiful heart-shaped purple clam shell?

As if I hadn't discovered enough color, Mynda, the innkeeper told me about this amazing blogger - The Pioneer Woman. I had never heard of her, but apparently she is a national phenomen. Her blog is gorgeous and a bit addictive. Oh and very colorful!

Finally, I stopped in at the 2nd Street Wine Shop to buy a bottle of wine to take to a dinner party back in Seattle. I left with three bottles and I enjoyed wine tasting during the middle of the day. I chose this bottle because of the colorful label!

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more color inspirations over the next couple of weeks.


  1. Hi! I've missed your posts. Sounds like you were having a wonderful retreat. Good for you. I love Whidbey, so much beauty. Looking forward to more color inspiration! XO

  2. I'm always more aware of my sense of smell when i get back from the beach. Like a palate cleanser. : )