Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Color Purple

Taken in the Orchid Room at the Garden Conservatory - Biltmore Estate
Asheville, NC - October 30, 2010

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it."
Alice Walker Quote from "The Color Purple"
From early childhood, shades of purple and lavender have been my favorite colors.  My room contained every shade of purple that existed and I am always amazed that I never grew tired of it.  To this day, although many colors have been added to my list of "favorites," shades of lavender always draw my attention.  In 1985, the movie, "The Color Purple," had a profound impact on my life in many ways, but the above quote from the book and the movie, is one that became a mantra and remains that even to this day.  It is rare that I walk by anything that is in the purple family without taking notice of it.  
For the purpose of clarification, let me emphatically state that the God I love, know and serve does not become "pissed" off, but I believe he is saddened in a way we rarely understand, by the lives of those he created as they rush, grab, hurry and frantically meander their way through days in which they fail to "notice" ANYTHING!  
How could you walk by this..............................
 or this.....................................
and not, "notice?"

I've written before (see this post) about our season passes to Biltmore Estate.  One of the joys of having those passes is the opportunity to go with little agenda in mind and just observe.  On this day, here are some of our observations regarding most people's failure to "notice."
  • An overwhelming indication that the day contained no joy of any sort.  Evidenced by observed interaction within their group or family unit, body language and verbal communication. 
  • Physical inability (or refusal) to walk to the gardens from the mansion.  Evidenced by the observation that most of that days visitors were extremely overweight.  The gardens and conservatory are a VERY short walk from the mansion and as I waited near an information desk for maybe three minutes while Mr. B was in the restroom, I heard "can we drive" and "is there anything to eat there?" 
  • Allowing far too little time to visit the Estate and becoming frustrated when forced to hurry.
  • Spillover from pent-up frustration in everyday life evidenced by shoving, horn-blowing, impatience and rudeness.   
I just wanted to cry or scream or something, "people, people, it's SATURDAY, this is a LEISURE activity.  Enjoy this beautiful place, notice the people you are with, learn what life wants to teach you today, slow down, pay attention, get a grip!" 

But I didn't.  I took Mr. B's hand (we hold hands a lot!!) and said, "thank you."  Thanks for loving me through the gains and losses of every pound, through every idiosyncrasy I have (and there are many!), for loving the simple life we have created and for the positive way you have taught me to NOTICE

I am afraid to weigh!  This reprieve has been sorely needed and caused me to deeply examine the pressure I have put on myself to achieve results by a certain deadline.  Being the goal oriented person I am, that has worked in the past, but perhaps the lesson I'm needing to learn right now, is one of change or at least, adjustment.  I cannot describe the sense of relief that washed over me late last week, when I just "let go" and said, "I'll get to goal when I get to goal."  It has been wonderful and I have eaten healthy.  But I know that my jeans were a bit tighter when I slipped them on last night - the "intuitive" eating approach does NOT work for me long term and I will have to return to a "plan" at some point in time.  

Here is what I am NOTICING today:
  1. Be willing to change.  I must be tired of what I'd been doing.  My "plan" needs to be different.
  2. This is very personal so not much detail, but my "quiet time" has suffered at the hands of time in BlogLand.  This cannot continue, but don't worry, blogging is a priority and I will work it out.
  3. I am still working on some boundary issues within some friendships.  This is going well.
  4. I did not panic when the jeans felt tight.  
  5. The time change, although I love the earlier morning light, is still messing with my nights and my eating.  I'm hungry at all the wrong times!
  6. Today, I feel happy, content, settled and calm.
Today is November 11 (thanks, Veterans!!!) of our No Nonsense November.  Let's ramp it up a bit and take the remaining 19 days as the No Nonsense November in which we fail to NOTICE NOTHING!!

Please take a moment to think about this.  I'd love your thoughts, but mostly, I just want you to think!  What have you FAILED to NOTICE lately and what will you do to make sure you are more mindful about NOTICING today?


  1. Okay, I had trouble reading this post because I got so distracted that we love the same color! I didn't start on a purple kick until college though, and had even forgotten that until a friend from those days (the one who lives in TN BTW) visited my house and saw the purple in the decor and commented on it. Hmm. But I digress.

    I love number 6. Actually, I love a lot about this post. There is a calmness that is coming through. An acceptance in a very good way. I am happy to read that but a little sad because I don't have it too:( Truth be told.

    Sounds to me like you are doing what we should all hope to do - finding balance and a way to live life while striving to be healthy. Instead of just getting caught up in a diet.

  2. Funny, I was just thinking this week of maybe going to The Biltmore after Christmas. We have never been. I promise if we do go, I will visit the gardens. Are they as colorful in the winter months?

    You given a lot of profound statements and I don't know if I want to go that deep. I do need to notice more as I look for the joy I think I've been missing but probably has been right there in front of me.


  3. This has actually been a good week for slowing and thinking and even better, feeling. The time away in Memphis slowed me down and having a few hours at the doctor yesterday gave me some real focus. Of course having today off from work helps with getting off the treadmill of work and running around. Love purple -- I'd be Lilac if I weren't Buttercup -- and Asheville. Didn't go to MTSU, but lived in Nashville and went to Vanderbilt for grad school. Loved the three years I spent in Tennessee.

  4. Oh purple.It's an amusing color, with a really interesting history. Used to denote royalty, becuase the pigments were so expensive... and got many people falsey accused of withcraft for wearing it. ;-)
    I like #6 too!

  5. Don't you love it when, after struggling with situations, things fall into place and you feel that wonderful peace of mind? Love number 6.

  6. I SO loved reading this post. As soon as I saw that you were from Tennessee I knew I had to stay awhile :) I've never been to the Biltmore but my husband and I plan to take a trip there next year during our annual trek to the Smokys. Your photos are gorgeous. Thanks so much for the post.

  7. My 'scribblings' notebook of the moment has lavender pages. So much more conducive to ponderings than stark white. :)

    When I visited Asheville (about 15 years ago), it was about 110 degrees that day and threatening rain. I hope to go again someday. (With a stop for visiting along the way. :))

  8. When I went to the orchid show in San Francisco a few years ago, I bought one of those beautiful periwinkle/lavender orchids. The most amazing color. Of course, it never bloomed up here in the mountains. Too hot and too cold.

    I do try to be mindful and to notice. I am always looking for inspiration for a quilt project. Still, I can miss something right in front of me, like a massive oak tree. I took pictures the other day, hoping that I would write a blog post about it.

    Just want to say in regards to #2, been there, done that. Not a good thing, and something I have to correct once in a while.

    I'm glad you are taking this break and re-evaluating what you are doing. Take a look at your overall health, and decide what is the most important. My persnoal bias is to urge you to continue to increase your repertoire of healthy foods.

  9. I absolutely love it here in the fall. The colors are amazing and we have this awesome fog that rolls in each morning. Every year I tell myself that I can't forget to notice the scenery. Well it's almost over and there have been many times that I've missed it. It's so sad....It's all because I'm off to the next thing and not enjoying the now.....

    Thanks for the reminder!

  10. As I read this, I couldn't help notice how we seem to be in the same place...again!!! We have so much in common with our journey's that I can't help but smile every time I read your blog Sharon.

    As for Biltmore, I can't believe that as long as I've lived here I've never been. It's right up my alley as far as places I'd love to go. I really need to make this a 'must see' sometime soon.

    I've left you a message on one of your posts a week or so ago about our hike, but I'm not sure if you saw it. Are you still interested in going?


  11. I have often questioned how people don't recognize God as Creator when He has displayed Himself so incredibly through nature.

    Don't be afraid of that scale. It is not our measure of success, it really isn't, although it feels as so.

    Let's continuing to focus on eating healthy and in a way that honours God, who provided the food in the first place. The numbers will fall into place...they will.


  12. Ah yes... #2.
    As you work it out, I hope you will share any insights you discover.

    Purple... I love color, and purple is right up there. Definitely a show-stopper in nature!