Comforting Words: Red

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Colours have their meanings and the colour ‘red’ has become a significant colour in my experience. One source states that:

“Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red.

In heraldry, red is used to indicate courage. It is a color found in many national flags [Canada’s flag is red and white].”

As you enter my apartment, it is one of the first things you will notice – the shades and touches of red that permeate the place.

On an extremely low budget, I redecorated my apartment over the last seven months, with the help of friends, throwing out what bore too many reminders of times pass, what no longer worked or what did not truly speak to nor express the essence of me.

Creating this new space as the real Claudette emerged, red seemed to express a certain important aspect of who I am and am becoming. So too do the shades of deep orange, green and gold.

There are therapists who specialize in colours and what they say about us and recently in a very casual conversation with one; she was right on the mark about the colours that express me. They are the ones most evident not only in my apartment but in my size 12 wardrobe (yes, I am bragging).

Also important in my re-decorating was water. And so, to the chagrin of a dear woman-friend who due to circumstances I can no longer physically journey with, at Christmas I purchased a lovely Spanish-jar fountain.

So, as you enter my apartment, the sound of falling water greets you. I go to sleep each night with that relaxing and healing sound, with palm leaves gently brushing my head from the plant that stands behind my bed.

Yesterday (Wednesday) as I casually pushed my trolley through the fateful grocery store where the death of a once dear friendship had its roots, I smiled. This was my first time back at this store and it was a deliberate choice. It was part of my taking back my power.

Carefully selecting supplies for the month, a sense of wellness and well-being overcame me for many reasons.

For one, in doing my grocery or any type of shopping now, I am more selective about what products I purchase – mindful of my budget of course – yet happy that no longer do I have to be concerned about explaining or justifying the bill. I can purchase anything I like!

This thought struck me most as I was picking up body care items. Since the beginning of this year, I have taken a conscious decision to purchase only Dove’s Pro-Age line of body and hair care items. (Incidentally, the containers are a deep shade or red) For me, by doing so not only am I making a political statement on behalf of all women who celebrate their aging process but I am celebrating the freedom to be me!

These Dove products, like some of my nutritional ones, are a little more expensive than what I once bought but as I look at myself in the mirror, as I experience the serenity of my space and as I listen to my heart it feels right to take care of me.

I will never forget what my woman-friend from Toronto, who rushed to be with me over Christmas 2006, said to me as I wept in anguish over my 'loss', “You teach people how to treat you!”

Should you enter my space today, the first lesson you will learn is that this is holy ground – rid of all evidence of shame, hurt and despair. It is a place of passion, courage, determination to be love and be loved.

Through its many colours, each area with its own theme and colour scheme, my home gives very clear lessons now. However, it is the red pieces – in my kitchen cum dining room – the first areas that you enter that make the statement: “This is a place where only love resides and is welcomed.”

Another thing that I have started to explore is the occasional glass of wine. Due to the years of abuse that I experienced by those who were alcoholics or children of alcoholics, I have stayed clear of alcohol. Now I have come to realize that it is one more fear that I had to have the courage to embrace. So my woman-friend Anni has been coaching me on how to savour rather than gulp the red (blush) Zinfandel, which is my favourite.

And so, as I close this post, I raise my glass in a toast to all women over 40, who are:

  • Finally starting to live from their place of authenticity
  • Finally able to embrace all the colours of their being – especially the red (love, passion and strength) in their souls
  • Finally ready to let the waters wash their wounds
  • Finally ready to express their sexuality and sensuality in ways that are empowering and liberating
  • Finally ready to celebrate nature’s aging process with grace.

Encourage mes soeurs!


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