“Without emotion, there is no beauty.” Diana Vreeland
I remember the festival of Holi! People throwing handfuls of colored powder at each other on the streets of Delhi. Clothes stained in every color imaginable – pink, blue, red, green. Peals of laughter. Thinking about it brings a distinct feeling of happiness. Holi was joy!!
The colors of Holi are no exception. Bright colors adorn festivals around the world. Colorful dancing dragons in the Chinese new year. Bright feathered costumes during the Carnival in Brazil. In cultures across the world – from pinatas in Mexico to aboriginal rituals – colors are everywhere.
In her wonderful book “Joyful”, Ingrid Fetell Lee discusses the often ignored connection between colors and feeling. Bright colors buoy our spirits. Colors make us happy.
Ingrid makes a remarkable observation.
If colors bring joy, then why are our lives in developed countries marked by muted colors. Most cars are silver, white or grey. Most suits are black, charcoal or navy. Sofas are ivory. Bookshelves off-white. Our walls and curtains are cream.
Very few of us would say our favorite color is grey or white. Yet, we bathe our lives in dull color. Why?
We hide under the guise of “sophistication”.
Color is frivolous. Color is for children. Serious sophisticated adults prefer gray and beige tones.
Yes, there is a word that captures our fear of color – Chromophobia! Ingrid argues that behind the choice of color is the fear of making a choice. A fear of being wrong. A fear of not fitting in.
When we search for a new piece of furniture or peruse catalogs for the color of our walls, we browse several colors but in the end choose trusted off-white.
The path to joy goes through the choice of color.
Hope we can learn to make that choice!