The Light Can be Kind, The Light Can Give, The Light Can Take Away!

I was wondering today why our 12 year old son, who has atypical spectral sensitivity, comes to life after dark but only in the middle of June and October to December! Why doesn’t he come to life after dark at other times of the year? I have been so puzzled because after all, even being colour sensitive, in the darkness, colour should no longer be an issue.

Of course, I have realised today, it is because the light has given to him or been kind to him on those days. In June, even though the light is very bright, it feels more balanced to my son and so he has a better day. He feels good and can enjoy doing more things that he is passionate about. The brightness and balance somehow inspires and energises him. So by the evening his energy is actually in credit. He has extra energy to enjoy.

In the winter, the light may not be giving so much but it feels kinder to my son. In the dimmer light, the feeling of imbalance no longer rattles him in every cell of his body, like it does at other times of the year. So by the evening he is keen to find his torch and go walking in the fields in the dark. Or he is up for a badger hunt! Or he wants to go on a late evening picnic! On these sorts of evenings we see our son as he really is – confident, chatty, energetic and full of humour. He suddenly relaxes in the kindness of the light.

How is the light treating you today? Is it being kind, giving or is it taking away?

Being Highly Sensitive – Our Only Constancy is Rhythm and Pattern

I don’t have colour constancy so my brain is always trying to decide what colour something is. Are my pink trousers really pink today or are they red or are they orange? They haven’t changed much from yesterday but there is some subtle change to the hue which alerts my brain that I am now seeing a different colour.

I don’t have sound constancy so my brain is always trying to decide what sound something it. My heater is clicking in the corner of my room. Is it the same click as yesterday? Or is it slightly brighter, duller, louder, quieter? Again, not much change from yesterday but my brain still has this insatiable curiosity about the quality of sound.

I don’t have touch constancy so my brain is always trying to decide how something feels. Every day I touch the cushions on my settee and my brain wonders if they feel the same as yesterday. Are they a little softer, a little too soft, a little harsher? Again not much change from yesterday but my brain cannot help itself but ask the questions.

And then there is smell. Do the chips cooking smell the same as yesterday? And taste? Do my chips taste the same as yesterday? Yes, my brain will not be happy if it hasn’t considered these things.

Exhausting – you must think! Well, yes it is! But I have a solution.

I need to work out what the pattern is. How does my cushion feel in January, February, March . . . ? What does the kitchen tap sound like and how does it make me feel in January, February, March . . . ? What colour is my strawberry jam in January, February, March . . .?

Then when that time of year comes round again, I won’t be shocked. I will be expecting each variation of the stimuli as I move through the year. Constancy, any way you can get it, is comforting. Lack of constancy is disturbing and makes us feel insecure.

I don’t have constancy for any of my sensitivities so the only thing constant in my life is rhythm and pattern.

It’s Harder for Some of Us to See Out and for Others to See In.

I have wondered my whole life why my face appears so unrelaxed when I catch sight of myself in a mirror. And it is more than this – it is as if I am struggling to connect through my eyes. There is just the odd occasion when I look in the mirror and think ‘Oh, there you are, so you do exist after all!’

Now I know that it all has to do with my difficulty in always perceiving enough blue light. I am not talking about violet or green or any other colour – no, specifically blue. I always have this feeling at this time of year from half way through February to the beginning of April. I discern enough violet light (I know that because my brain is so active, intuitive and creative,) but I am struggling to perceive blue light. I know this because I can feel quite alone and struggle to be a team player.

As I see my own and other people’s energy, I am able to find clues to connection and disconnection, that others may not have. When I perceive too little blue light, I literally see a band of low energy going across my eyes. I find myself trying to connect with people through eye contact but not really feeling the connection I want. I feel open-hearted, but it is amazing how cut off you can feel when you struggle to connect through your eyes.

I have to learn other ways to connect – voice, feelings, touch, smell, taste, movement – whilst I am waiting for the blue light to come back!

My Power Comes from Imbalance, not Balance!

I wanted to be balanced – I really did – but that is not my destiny.

I live in a nearly continuous state of imbalance because of my reaction to the light spectrum. In fact, if the light ever feels balanced, I feel quite lost and don’t know what to do with myself!

Today for instance – another cloudy rainy day in the UK. Thankfully I perceive enough blue light to feel open hearted. However, I don’t feel grounded (low red light), I always have my friend, the violet light, though, energising, inspiring and pushing me on to higher and greater things.

I can do much with my perception of violet light. I can get to the heart of things and put on my analytical creative hat. I can work with data and make deductions and build theories. I wouldn’t become the crazy analyst if the light was balanced. I am pretty sure I would be doing something a lot more mundane!

Balance is nice if you can get it but maybe a little ordinary. It is imbalance that leads you into the extra-ordinary and and if you hold its hand, it will take you on the most exciting journey!

Help! I Over-see Contrast!

I have been trying to get to the bottom of my issues with processing pattern for three years now. First I thought it was astigmatism, then I thought it was my binocolular vision. Sometimes I do have these issues but I knew there was something else going on. It isn’t just lines or grids that I can’t process. It is the pattern of blades of grass and branches on a tree. Or looking at the shelf above our fireplace, the sharp edge of my desk, or the food on my plate.

Some days the problem is there and some days it isn’t. It all depends on my perception of the spectrum. If the spectrum feels more balanced, then pattern feels more integrated. If the spectrum feels unbalanced, then lines and patterns seem to stand out.

My experience of the spectrum is that if I perceive a little too less of one or more colours, then I have an unbalanced perception of colours around me. For instance, if I perceive a little too less red, then all colours will be affected and some of them , especially white, will lack warmth. A sky, for instance may appear more stark than it would do with more red light. This stark feeling is hard enough, but if I then look at a pattern of brown branches on a tree against the stark white, the contrast becomes too great and I feel disturbed by what I see.

My difficulty with pattern is more pronounced between the brighter months of February and October, although it drops off and things appear visually softer from April to May, only to reappear again in June and drop off from and July to September. I can only describe the feeling like watching the television on a setting beyond high definition. It is not comfortable and confuses my brain.

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.

We are not Islands When it Comes to Our Well-being – What is Influencing You Today?

I have been thinking about all the things that influence our state of well-being outside of our brains, and our own brains are challenging enough for some of us! Or – is there no such thing as anything outside of our brain because our well-being is all intertwined with our relationship with the world?

With or without knowing it, we are all constantly influenced by:-

  • Our visual perception
  • Our perception of sound
  • Our perception of smell
  • Our perception of taste and texture
  • Our perception of touch
  • Our perception of balance
  • Our proprioception
  • Our perception of colour
  • Our perception of light
  • Our perception of temperature
  • Seasonal Changes
  • The Weather
  • The Moon
  • Our Health
  • Our Cycles and Rhythms
  • Our feelings and thoughts
  • The quality of our family relationships
  • The emotional climate around us
  • Atmospheres of places and buildings

We can’t really separate out these stimuli and and the affects of them on our well-being. I got up today and saw there was sheep on the hill ouside our bedroom window (that weren’t there last time I looked) and felt comforted. I went to the other side of the house and the clouds were as black as black. I felt slightly less comfort but a sort of excitement as the light was bright on the garden, but the sky was dark. Then someone used the tap downstairs and I felt less comfort again, and rattled, and closed the door of the room I was in. Then my husband came in and told me how dark the sky was (!) and I automatically turned to look at it, without thinking first. The colour hurt my eyes. Now I have the sound of hail on my window which sometimes I love, but today I am not so sure about.

And so my day will continue . . a mixture of influences from my own thoughts and ideas, to the weather, light, colour, my son’s feelings . . . I am intrinsically connected to these things. There is no point in seeing them as rude interruptions or nuisances. They shape who I am and what I am going to do. I need to welcome them with open arms and let them move and inspire me.

What I do know today is that this exciting weather is giving me the energy and inspiration to write this post.

We are not islands when it comes to our wellbeing? What is influencing you today?

I Don’t Get to Choose How I Connect Each Day

Having studied all the emotional psychological connections with what I feel in my body, that I can, plus all my reactions to the way I see the spectrum, I am now convinced that I don’t get to choose how I connect each day.

I thought I could heal and become all things I wanted – to be open- hearted, enjoy intimacy, give my gifts to world, have a strong powerful voice, follow my vision, be happy to be vulnerable, work with my cycles and rhythms and find where I belong.

And I have achieved all these things to a point. But it wasn’t the point I was dreaming of! I thought if I could become whole, I could just get on with things!

But wholeness isn’t all about me. I can’t be whole by myself. It isn’t possible. So God made me really sensitive to the light spectrum just to make sure I knew that!

But, ever ambitious, I have had a similar attitude with the light spectrum, almost expecting to be able to outsmart my reaction to it. After all, if I don’t perceive enough blue light, then I just need to be a bit more open-hearted. If I don’t perceive enough red light, then I just need to be more aware of my physical connection with the world

But how far can this new insight take me, I wondered?

If I just open my heart, could I get on the next plane to the Middle East and help refugees?

If I just let in trillions of support, could I foster a houseful of children?

If I do everything I can to make myself feel really secure, could I jump out of a plane?

Aaaargghhh!! NO, I CAN’T

I can heal myself, which I have done, but now I have to be part of the world. I don’t perceive enough red light in February so I don’t even feel grounded enough to bake a batch of biscuits, let alone jump out of a plane! I can’t make myself feel grounded. I can only do things that help to give me a greater feeling of security.

I can’t make myself feel anything. I can only be open to feeling. I don’t get to choose how I can connect each day!

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

Anxiety – Does it all Really Come from Within?

If you had asked me the question – “Does all anxiety come from within?” a few years ago I would have said “Yes” without hesitation. And as a result of thinking this, I have had a lot of therapy and worked long and hard with my self development, expecting to resolve my insecure anxious feelings and thoughts.

A Story

Today I woke up feeling bright and breezy and decided it would be a good day to go with my family to a small seaside town and play mini-golf. Now, for our complicated family, it is amazing to just get out of the door, let alone make it down to the beach and participate in an activity! But I felt the light was good, my energy felt good and it was worth giving it a try.

As soon as I decided to go out, I felt my anxiety levels raise. I started thinking about all the things we needed – rucksacks, juice, chocolate, tissues, paracetemol . . .! I then told myself that this was just like any trip for us. We would take the same things for an appointment at the hairdressers! So I relaxed a bit. But I noticed I still didn’t feel as grounded as I had felt when I first got up. My legs were a bit achy and physical tasks like carrying things around the house were starting to feel difficult. I then realised the light had changed – I was perceiving less red light than when I first woke up. I wondered if I still really felt like going out. But of course, with a 12 year old who is excited about the prospect of mini-golf by the seaside, you don’t really get a choice. With the suggestion comes a commitment!

So . . I committed and off we went! When we arrived, I felt the same as I had done at home – happy, pleased to be alive but ungrounded. How does this feel? Well . . it feels like my legs aren’t as substantial as the rest of me. This feeling used to make me feel insecure but it doesn’t any more because I recognise it and understand it. At the seaside today, I knew I was safe and all was well and it was this knowing that I depended on. The real give away with how my perception of the light affected me, was just how much my legs ached when I had to climb lots of steps to get to the golf course. I felt as if I had run a marathon in the last 3 days, it was so painful. Also, when the energy is low in my legs, I have a tendency to pull muscles in my knees so I have to be super careful how I I use my legs and the rest of my body.

At the mini-golf I felt just OK. When you don’t feel grounded, it is harder to feel more than OK sometimes. it takes a distraction like seeing an amazing gull or getting a hole in one to feel more than OK. This feeling of just being OK can raise the alarm that something isn’t right but I am used to the feeling now and just stay calm and go with it. As I say, I know I am safe and that all is well.

My son, who is 12, has a similar experience to me. As he is a child and not always thinking rationally, small things can knock him off balance emotionally, and have massive impact on him physically. After the game of golf, we decided to go to the fish shop which was at the bottom of a very steep hill. I could see the pain on my son’s face as he walked down the hill, and the fear in his eyes that he might not make it back to the car. I remember this feeling so well from when I was a child. I would sometimes feel that I could not walk another step. But there is nothing wrong with our legs. Having rested a little on the drive home, my son got out the car and ran to check on his pet doves. I just got on with life as normal.

Not being grounded and having low energy in our legs does affect our daily life but it affects us much more when we try to go out and have some fun!

Anxiety definitely doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes we don’t know what is affecting us. We just know we don’t feel right.