As I type this week's post the sun is streaming through the window and the weather man has promised a spell of sunshine, ice cream's, paddling pool's and a hose pipe ban - okay so I made up the last bit!
What a wonderful way to start my July challenge, this month I have to 'be grateful for what I have by giving something up'.
Sounds simple enough doesn't it? Over the next month I shall be giving up my car, Facebook and the television, this week I gave up the hardest thing of all - no, it wasn't chocolate.
At the request of my eleven year old daughter, I gave up wearing black clothing. You may think that sounds very trivial but I DARE you to go through your wardrobe and remove everything black - see, I'm not the only one who has an ocean of black fabric in their closet am I!
My daughter is always telling me off when we go clothes shopping as I always navigate my way to the dull and boring black outfits. 'Mum (rolls her eyes) get something colourful.'
Of course at eleven years of age she rocks the whole multi-coloured leggings, layered t-shirt look, but I like my comfy clothes and I like them to be black.
So I decided to appease her and agreed to go one week without wearing ANY black item of clothing. I realised the magnitude of this challenge when, on day one, with bleary eyes and bed hair, I fished around in my underwear drawer for any other colour of pants! (Note to self - pant situation critical)
Fortunately I did find the appropriate undergarment and could move on to the rest of my outfit - but wait, my work uniform is BLACK!
So at 6am I found myself digging through the very large ironing pile to find an old white tunic and tan coloured trousers which had been my uniform five years ago - oh god would my backside fit into the trousers? This challenge could get embarrassing.
Panic over, it all fit (snuggly) and I could at least continue with my working day. Fast forward to the school run and...thank goodness for blue denim that's all I can say.
With two minutes to spare I stood in my jeans and bra (white one) looking at twenty five black tops. If I turned up at school in just my underwear my daughter would disown me, then I remembered a multi-coloured t-shirt I'd bought for an 80's fancy dress party - yes, I wore it.
I didn't think it was possible for an eye roll from an eleven year old to stop me in my tracks but hey, this challenge was never going to be easy - on either of us apparently. So, after receiving strict instructions to stay in the car from now on, we went home.
I decided that some planning was needed if I was going to last the week stress free. I took out everything I owned that was black - wardrobe, drawers and even the shoe rack.
The result was quite surprising; looking at my now colourful rail of clothing (yes there were a few bright bits and bobs hiding in there) I realised I was 'smiling'. Don't get me wrong, I smile all the time so this isn't a new phenomenon but it was the reason for my smile that intrigued me. The colours were lifting my mood.
When I teach my meditation classes I include a topic on 'colouring in' and how this simple act can calm the mind and help us be in the now. As part of the topic we also look at our choice of colouring pencil to give us a guide as to what mood we are in - colour therapy. How amazing that this simple lesson could overlap into my day to day life.
Over the course of the week I tried to wear a different colour each day and the results were quite astonishing:-
- Red top - I cleaned the house top to bottom and felt very 'active'.
- I had to attend a funeral this week and so instead of the usual black attire I chose to wear blue, I felt quite peaceful despite the upsetting circumstances.
- When I wore my pink jumper I enjoyed an entire hour of me time, chilling with a book before spending the evening doing lovely family stuff with my children.
- When I wore my green t-shirt I noticed that nothing seemed to bother me.
- Red - Commands action, helps express passion, joy and anger.
- Blue - Creates a feeling of serenity and trust, good for communicating your needs.
- Pink - Loving colour, promotes a calm atmosphere and relieves tried muscles.
- Green - Great for balancing, self love and stress relief.
As the actual sun is shining I am looking forward to getting my tropical clothes out and carrying on with this challenge, although black can give the illusion of a slimmer body, it can also drain your emotions and leave you feeling...gloomy.
I end this week with a challenge for you. Can you go without wearing black for a few days? How hard would it be? Let me know how you get on.
I had a hilarious discussion with my meditation ladies during the week about colour coordinated underwear - I think that's a whole challenge in itself! Watch this space...