+ lotus black and white Greyscale Sept 09 11651078_sMy computer knowledge and skills are pretty inadequate, so whenever I figure something out, I get pretty excited about it. My most recent technological step forward is a working understanding of what grayscale is and how to use it when I print a document. I think the grayscale process is kind of magical – how the color of the website, map quest, or advertisement is pulled out and transformed to tones of black and gray. While I like using it to save my printer’s storehouse of colored ink, I also realize that I lose some of the personality and liveliness from the color of the original document.

Gray is not my favorite color, though, as my hair does the change-over, I’m trying to make friends with it. Those of us in the Boston area had more than our share of grayscale this past June, when we had a record few sunny days. As we all complained about missing the sun, I had a different take on it one day when I realized that what I was missing was shadows! Driving down a tree-filled street, I realized that I was lonesome for the design of light and shadow on the pavement that the sun and trees normally created. I missed the contrast of light and dark. I missed being momentarily sun-blinded when walking into a building after being out in the bright sunshine. I missed contrast during June’s grayscale weather.

Gray, of course, is the mid-range color between black and white. I appreciate the place in the middle that it holds in the spectrum. I know that for myself, I’m the most at ease in my life when I’m in the middle of the emotional and energetic spectrum rather than at one extreme end or the other. The middle is generally more comfortable and fairly easy to deal with than the extremes which bring a little more excitement, but also a little more challenge!

I once heard it said that we are meant to be in joy at all times. Unless the word joy is code for Essence, I find myself taking exception to this idea. Joy as an emotion is a pretty high-end level of the spectrum to be experiencing constantly! It would be over-stimulating to feel joy and only joy. I like Anne Lammott’s thought about joy: “Peace is Joy resting, Joy is Peace on its feet.”

There are times when I find myself feeling the intensity of the far end of the spectrum.

Sometimes this is joy, sometimes it is pain. I experienced the painful end last week when I heard that my revered graduate school piano teacher was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s disease. The thought of her mentally compromised, of no longer making music or teaching students, filled me with sadness and grief.

It’s been hard feeling these feelings. Grief is a difficult emotion that goes right to the core. I found this out when my parents died; but I also learned that while grief broke my heart, the breaking allowed my heart to open. It was painful to feel so much, but it was profound as well. That, I think, can be the gift of this end of the spectrum, of experiencing even the most difficult emotions. The parameters on both ends stretch us and we can feel the entire spectrum more fully.

So, for the most part, I don’t want my life to be grayscale, I want there to be the richness of hue, of contrast, of saturation. I want to touch into the extreme ends of the spectrum at times, but not to get stuck in any point, just to keep flowing and experiencing all levels of energy.

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