In a week, I am moving into a new home. This new home is in no way ready for me (and Figaro) to move in.
Granted, my remodel plans were ambitious; some, (clearly lacking vision) might say “crazy,”
but as the plans developed and the contractors were found, I learned what to let go, what to save for later…I prioritized. (the TARDIS stays, but I haven’t begun construction yet; the tile and the Sherlock Holmes fireplace have to happen first. TARDIS happens before the Secret Passageway Bookcase. See? I am quite sensible.)
I also decided I wanted to paint some of the rooms myself (and my Dad did a *lot* of the work, too) because I wanted to get to know my home, and inhabit it in this way before I moved in.
Great! Sounds nice, yeah? Reasonable?
I was buying paint for an accent wall – a small thing, you’d think – and it mysteriously came out Bright Barney the Dinosaur Purple.
Ok, this wasn’t what I had planned – I wasn’t remotely going for purple, but, being a go-with-the-flow type, I tried it for a bit and even tried to like it or see if I could make it work (maybe by hanging a wall-sized mural over it?)
Okay, maybe not.
I took it back. They put it on a shelf called Mis-mixed paint, rather like the Island of Forgotten Toys. I felt a little guilty. I found a new color entirely, and even switched to an entirely different brand,
but failed to note that it was the same person mixing my paint.
Looking back, I am quite sure there was a Malevolent, Dinosaur-ish, Purple gleam in her eye.
I went home again, tra-la, and began stirring the paint with a sinking feeling…
put the paint on the wall (maybe it looks different ON?)
Barney the Dinosaur Purple.
Same. exact. Shade. If I had paid her to match it, she couldn’t have done a more impeccable job…not even if I had decided to hold a contest for the most Devious Mixer of Paint Who Could Infallibly, Impeccably Recreate This Abhorrent Purple.
I have a bad habit: I see symbols, metaphors, messages – in *everything.*
a can of paint could maybe just be a can of paint, I see that. I really do.
I once auditioned for a dinosaur in “Barney.” it was a boy, six-year-old-ish, who was a “scat-singer” or rap artist.
Maybe I should be grateful that my wall color didn’t mysteriously turn out to be “Riff Orange.”
It was one of the coolest auditions I’ve ever experienced, as it was in a sweet little hidden studio with awesome exposed brick and crazy decor.
They told me after my audition that they felt like they’d just been to a Toots Theilmans concert. That felt awesome, which made it o.k. that I didn’t get the job.
Still, good memories and all, I don’t know how to live in a room with a Barney Dinosaur Purple wall.
And I think the lesson here is: you don’t have to make something work, even if it’s *very* persistent. You also don’t have to stick with something “for Old Times’ sake.”
O.k., there is a time to stick with it and work at something. For sure. That’s my definition of “romantic,” actually… when people have positive connections that outweigh the troubles, and they stick together and work on things. (But the positive needs to outweigh the negative! that’s key!) Loyalty. Awesome. That and honesty are top things on my list of desirable traits in a partner.
But knowing when to let go is important.
I used to be one of those people who hung in there no matter what. I was a freaking barnacle. Through storms, through high seas with no rum in sight, I was stalwart. I Remained. I held on. Even if people were horrid rotten little perishers, I was loyal. Stay at the party hoping it gets better! Stay till the bitter end! Hang in there and keep hanging until you turn into an albatross!
Being like that is like having a business that is deeply important to you, but then hiring anyone who walks in and keeping them no matter what: your business is going to die in fearful agonies. It’s important to define what you’re looking for in employees (yeah?) and make sure that relationship (the work) has a sort of maintenance aspect- it stays healthy, or it needs to end. Yes? Why is this easier to see about business, and so much harder to see about our own amazing, precious and beautiful selves? And our lives which are finite and irreplaceable?
Letting go of caffeine. Huge one for me. Maaaaajor detox symptoms. It was so hard, but I did it, and all of a sudden, I feel so much healthier and my hypoglycemia turns out to be non-existent.
Let go! You may experience unpleasant side-effects at first, but still – let go!
That friend who chooses to see the world through complaint-filters, who dims your sparkle but is there! and persistent! and you’ve known them forever!
sometimes, it may even be HARD to find what you’re looking for – that Barney Dinosaur Purple may keep showing up – but hold on.
Hold on to the vision of what your soul needs.
“Letting go” is a passive-sounding phrase, but it is one of the hardest, most demanding-of-action things I have ever experienced…because carving out a new pathway takes persistence and awareness. It’s so easy for the mind (and, by extension, our choices) to follow the well-worn habitual pathways. So letting go properly is something that requires you to be fully present, and very clear.
So – here’s my lesson from the paint store today: define what you want. Set your intention. Get clear, and then let go of anything, any color, or anyone not in alignment with the way you want to show up in the world.
and here’s the really hard part: go in and try again, try as though it is the first time and you haven’t just been given one gallon after another of Barney the Dinosaur Purple. Hold your little paint card and valiantly ask for Eggshell or Winston Churchill Buttercup, completely believing that it’s going to work. Show up fully.
I pretty much failed to do that today… I stood there looking at all those little cards and clever little pamphlets showing perfectly painted rooms (no purple in sight) and all I could see was that Lurid, Eye-bruising, Artist Formerly Known As, not-found-anywhere-in-nature, purple.
I finally had to leave and ask my saint of a mother to go request a color. I felt Jinxed. I felt Cursed. I felt that if I looked one more time into the clearly-plotting-some-kind-of-purple-colored-revenge eyes of that Wicked Paint Mixer, I would blurt out “PURPLE!” and get another can of you-know-what.
So I’m still learning this…
Letting go completely, so you can focus your entire heart in a positive way on the intention ahead of you. That might be a lifelong master class! (I wonder who teaches it? I hope it’s Morgan Freeman.)
Letting go of that job that is wonderful, but isn’t your genius work or dream and is using up time that you need in order to do your Real Work-
Letting go of that friend whom you love, but who is dragging you down –
Letting go does not require disapproving, disliking, disengaging, or dysfunction. It can be done with love, and it can be a compassionate and very kind thing to do. Sometimes it can be a blessing for the ones you let go, too – it can be a springboard for them to find where and with whom they fit- now that there is not space and time filled up by trying, trying, trying to mesh with you.
Barney Purple, I don’t care how many times it takes, I’m replacing you with a restful, warm, elegant parchment-ish color. It’s not that I don’t think you’re great, in areas where you are appropriate (like the big huge costume of a dinosaur character for kids) – I do. It’s not that you don’t bring back a wonderful memory – you do,
but your persistence , your insistence at being in my house and on my wall is puzzling in the extreme. Please, go tell Kafka I’m hiring another writer to conduct my life…
his name is P.G. Wodehouse, and he has a much more restful color sense. (pay no attention to that lurid dinosaur purple cover. I am quite sure Plum did not choose it.)