Help! I Have No Colour Constancy!

Colour constancy is learnt when we see things again and again. If we see a red apple, our brain files that piece of of information. Next time we see a red apple, we recognise it. We don’t usually mind if it is a little more pink than the last one, or a little more crimson . We don’t usually mind if the light we are seeing the apple in, is a little more blue or a little more yellow. To most people, it is still a red apple because most people learn colour constancy.

But what happens if you don’t learn colour constancy? What happens if every time you look at an apple that someone else says is red, your brain challenges that suggestion. What if your brain says “Is that really red, or is that orange or even slightly green ?” What if your brain says “I know that apple is red but in today’s light it really looks yellow and in yesterday’s light, it looked orange.”?

Well, that wouldn’t be too bad if your brain was happy to just flick through all these colour possibilities, but it isn’t good if your brain just can’t process all the confusing information. And this is what it is like for me and my son. When we look at a colour, our brains tell us whether it does or doesn’t doesn’t match the light-waves. If there is red in a colour, but we don’t perceive enough red light, then our brain gets confused and we get all sorts of nervous system symptoms. These could be going hot or cold, getting a headache, a sore throat, feeling tight in our chest, getting indigestion or feeling knocked out of ourselves.

It is easy to think that these symptoms are just stress or some other health condition but we have tested this over and over again and they are always caused by the light.

Living with Ambient Colour Sensitivity Keeps Me in Touch with My Needs

When I don’t perceive enough blue light, I know I need to find special ways to speak my thoughts and opinions.

When I don’t perceive enough violet light, I know I need to find little ways to stay in touch with my intuition.

When I don’t perceive enough red light, I know I need to think things, say things and do things, to help me feel more secure.

When I do perceive enough blue, violet and red light, I need to remember to indulge in feeling how good it is to feel connected to all the different aspects of myself!

Living by the Colours I See in the Light: The Joys and Challenges of Having Ambient Colour Sensitivity

I Don’t Do Grounded – I Do Buoyant!

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Ah – grounded!! That word that I have heard so many times!

“Jennie, you’re not very grounded!”

“All you need to do is think yourself down into your feet!”

“Why don’t you go walking bare-foot very early in your garden in the morning dew?”

“Do yoga.”

“Do Tai Chi”

“Chant”

“Use magnets”

“Try bed linen with silver thread in them.”

“Make small talk, cook and sew!”

Well, I’ve tried them all and none of them worked. I remember a therapist telling me to feel into my feet. When I said “It doesn’t work for me” she looked hard at me and said “Well, in all my years of therapy you are the only person it hasn’t worked for!”

So . . . what do I do?

I have to come to terms with the fact that that I am not Mrs Super Grounded! It seems that the way I see the light tends to make me feel the opposite – away with my intuition most of the time! But I am happy there – in my random thoughts like I am having right now – blue sky thinking . . . thinking outside of the box. This is where life is for me.

I tend to perceive more blue on the spectrum than some which means I perceive less red which is probably why I don’t feel grounded.

Naturally I am a ‘blue light’ person so I don’t really need to be grounded.

How about you? Have you been struggling a long time to ground yourself when you might feel better accepting your expansive intuitive self and be happy to be a lighter buoyant person?

Maybe we should start a new feeling state trend and be happy to say “No I don’t do grounded, I do buoyant!”

Don’t put yourself down if buoyancy is your thing!

Highly Sensitives – Your Answers are in the Lightwaves!

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Because I understand my relationship with the light, I know everything I need to know about my sensitive self in every moment of every day.

I know:-

What colour to wear

What food to eat

What sounds to listen to or avoid

What textures to enjoy or avoid

Where to go

Who to spend time with or not spend time with

What to do or not do

And that is an amazing way to live

Being Highly Sensitive – Our Greatest Challenge

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Being Highly Sensitive challenges us to connect with ourselves and our environment in a way that is uniquely right just for us.

Colour Sensitivity – Me and My White Kitchen!

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We have lived in our house for 20 years and in that time we have never had a new kitchen. Our kitchen was a sort of yellowy cream yellowing with age with wood trim, slightly pinky walls and a very geometric patterned floor in reds and browns. I know – it doesn’t sound to good does it?! But you just get used to these things.

When I tried to cook in our kitchen I felt a strange sensation in my legs, a bit like I was being pulled down into a swamp.  And I would feel less and less energy in myself until I would feel like screaming and giving up. Often I wouldn’t finish cooking a meal. My husband would have to come and rescue me! And then I would get very cross if people weren’t appreciative of my efforts because I had suffered so much to do it.

Now I know – I was feeling a sensitivity to the geometric pattern on the floor and the dark brown colour of our gas hob.

When I tried to wash up in our kitchen I would feel a jangly sensation in my body. I would also go very hot, would feel achy and my face would always itch. I tried using washing up liquid without perfume but it didn’t help.

Now I know – I was sensitive to the grey colour of the stainless steel sink and also to the finish of the stainless steel itself. When light falls on stainless steel especially brushed steel it moves in a certain way creating rings and lines that were giving me a feeling of unease.

When I tried to eat in our kitchen I couldn’t taste my food. I would keep saying to my baker husband “Are you sure you put salt in the bread?” because I just couldn’t taste it. I would choose sweet things sometimes just because I could taste them better.

Now I know – Firstly I was sensitive to the blue light in our fridge so even looking for food in the fridge made me feel unwell and much colder than would be normal for a person to feel with the fridge open. Next I was sensitive to the appearance of the colours of some of the packaging under the poor lighting of our kitchen. Next I was sensitive to the orange pine colour of our kitchen table. And finally I was sensitive to the green rim of our Denby pottery plates. No wonder I couldn’t taste my food!

Solution

We finally have our new kitchen. It is not all clinical white as that would be too cold and not good for us at all. We have light ivory cupboard doors that have a certain warmth. We have surf white work surfaces which make every coloured package on the top appear more to their true colour. We have a white composite sink and white tap. We have a white glass splashback and upstand and a white glass hob and white oven.  All the whites are slightly different – a little blue, a little green here and there – but I like this. Our floor will be a polished concrete effect vinyl and our walls F & B All White paint. Our lights are all dimmable.

Yes, it does look cool (!) but more importantly it feels amazing. I fully interact with the kitchen, happily going in the cupboards and drawers, using the sink and the hob etc. Whereas my kitchen used to repel me, now it it draws me in and hugs me. I feel very alive and I tend to do things more slowly than I used to as this feeling of calm overtakes me. I no longer rush to get out of my kitchen. I relish the time I spend in there and look forward to it taking me on many happy cooking journeys.

My son (11) who takes sensitivity to a whole new level and literally would spend no time in our kitchen and not even eat with us now goes in there and dances around happily wanting to learn to cook and do everything himself. It is the most amazing thing to see.

So . . . how do you feel in your kitchen? Is it helping you to nourish yourself or could it be hampering you?

Colour Sensitivity – Christmas Day Cloud Therapy!

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Why did the light change yesterday?!

I have been sailing on through November and December thinking the light is good. I have been able to project manage our home improvements. I have even been able to sort CD’s and books and tolerate the constant chaos of stuff around us.

Then yesterday . . . my mood suddenly changed. And it wasn’t because it was Christmas Eve! I looked around me and realised I wasn’t seeing violet light but not enough blue and red light.  This usually makes me feel a bit downhearted. I was gutted, realising that is would likely be another struggle of a Christmas Day.

And here we are  . . Christmas Day . . . and lot of black cloud!!  And grumpy wife and mum.

What can I do to cheer myself? 

Sit in the only light there is and do my jigsaw puzzle that is full of whites and neutrals. This is the best Christmas Day Cloud Therapy there is!

Jigsaw Puzzles for Ambient Colour Sensitives!

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There is something about doing a jigsaw puzzle with snow that really gets me going! I love working with the different shades of white. I can’t do the puzzle on a cloudy day – when I can’t pick up all the light frequencies – only a day when there is enough blue and violet light around to make the whites ‘sing’.

Colour Sensitivity and Our Experience of Intimacy and Expansiveness

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I am trying to learn all I can about my experience of colour and light.

Yesterday was a hot sunny day.  My son who is 9 and also colour sensitive decided he wanted to go to the beach.  I thought ‘Well, this is the first time we have been to the beach since I have started my investigation so it might be interesting!’

We arrived at the bustling seaside town of Lyme Regis (our nearest coastal town) and I had worn a fleece and a summer beany because I am always cold and feel shivery in the sun. As soon as I got out of the car I realised that in my effort to stay warm I had forgotten to bring a hat with a brim to shelter me from the sunlight so our first stop was the hat shop! From a small collection of hats on a stand outside a little seaside store I chose a hat. I wouldn’t usually choose anything so quickly but the light from the sun felt unbearable and the buzz on the prom and the nearby icecream store was beginning to jangle me. There was no mirror, it was slightly too large but my husband said it looked good and I had no intention of taking it off so we bought it!

Under the refuge of my hat I still needed to find shade so we went up into the park that rises steeply and looks out over the sea. It is a considerable slope and there were many steps to climb. My legs felt like lead.  Strange – they were fine when I got up that morning. Ah, it must have been the light. When we reached our shady spot I felt relieved. I looked out over the bay and thought about the colours. The blue sky was ok to me through my sunglasses that have a brown tint. The sea I could tell was a gorgeous combination of blues and deep turquoises but my reaction did not match my perception. I felt unmoved by the colours. They were ok to me probably because of their luminescence – otherwise I may I felt repelled by them. I then thought about how I felt in other ways. I felt very ungrounded and pretty disconnected with myself and my family. I felt like everything was too big – the sea, the sky – and I asked myself the question ‘What am I doing here if it doesn’t make me happy?’

By this time I wanted to go home but my son reminded me that we had to go to the beach. Oh no, I looked down at the beach and all the buzz and colours and the walk in the bright sunlight to get there . . . and  then I conceded that I would give it a try.

When we had climbed down the slope and reached the streets running adjacent to the beach I felt ok but when we arrived at the beach itself I was amazed to find that the sand looked glary to me – sandy coloured and glary! Why had I never noticed this before? So many times I haven’t been happy on a beach but I hadn’t realised that it was the colour. It looked miles down to the sea and the blue didn’t look so good now as it had looked from up high in our shady spot. How was I ever going to make it? I felt upset that I couldn’t bear to go to the sea with my son.  And I didn’t want to wait while my husband took my son to the sea. Why would I? I was hot and shivery and all the colours were looking wrong to me.  I didn’t feel safe to just be left by myself. The beach didn’t feel like a friendly local little beach. To me under the glare of the sunlight and with the subtle visual distortion I was experiencing it felt more like the Sahara Desert!

A Revelatory Moment!

What if had glasses to balance the colours? At the moment I feel that I am not picking up enough red and as red is a grounding colour I am not able to feel grounded. Colours that make me feel more expanded (blues and greens) look wrong because of the absence of red. Therefore I can’t enjoy feeling expansive either.  Colours that make me feel safe – the earthy colours some way between grounded and expansive – yellows, browns and oranges – also look wrong because of the absence of red. So I feel I have no grounded place, no safe place and no exciting place to go. I am STUCK and all because of my perception of colour!

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