Saturday, April 16, 2016

Seeing Red

Say what you wanna say
and let the words fall out.
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
(Sara Bareilles, Brave)

Out root chakra is displayed by the color red. Our sexual organs is the energy center where the red flame burns. We can express it in the act of making love, just as we can transform it by propelling this primal energy via our seven energy centers into our crown chakra. The color red displays passion as well as aggression; so how we use this energy is entirely up to us.

We says hat we are "seeing red" when the aggression takes control of us. We also know that it is not a good idea to wave the red flag in front of the bull, or he will come charging at us. I remember a day when our fixed income colleague smelled blood in the markets. The economy showed signs of weakening and treasury yields were about to fall. Seven out of ten people in a meeting showed up with a red tie that day. A symbolic expression of the drive to take charge at the opportunity that presented itself.

I never thought much about the color red; I mostly avoided it except for wearing the occasional red tie to a Christmas party. But the color red introduced itself to me on the day my father died. A cardinal sat on a fence a few feet away from me and looked me straight in the eye. He must have sat there for what seemed like an eternity and then he flew away. It turns out that our family has a tradition of birds communicating messages to us from departed loved ones, so I figured it was a message from my father. I didn't give much significance to the color red when it happened.

A week later I learned what the true message of the cardinal was about. My father struggled for the longest time with bi-polar, which later turned into a deep depression. I had always conjectured that the demands of him being a judge for family matters had brought out the disease in him. Bi-polar is essentially an emotional imbalance. How hard it must be to decide the fate of children when their parents get divorced. I figured that his heart broke in the process, and that he was simply suppressing the emotions that are bound to come up when you have to make decisions like these.

After my father's death my mother shared a story that shed some color on his struggle. She said that before I was born he was on track to become a judge for criminal matters, but while being in training he had a pedantic superior who always corrected his reports with a stark red fountain pen. My mom said that over time he became so annoyed with these red colored corrections that he decided to move to the less prestigious family court instead, just to avoid the confrontation with his superior. Wow! Could all of his struggle perhaps been prevented had he just kept going despite "seeing red." I certainly don't know, but these facts were revealed to me at a stage in my professional career when I was forced to stand up for myself at work. And being confronted with these symbols made me only more determined to keep going despite the obstacles I was facing. 

Combining passion with purpose is the way to advance everywhere, on a spiritual path as well as in "real" life. You don't have to be aggressive as long as you are assertive. We spiritual travelers do need a little primer on how to stand up for our own rights while being kind and caring at the same time. It can be done, but you have to be in touch with all of your emotions and not suppress them in the name of spirituality.

I thought long and hard whether to write up this note. It seemed a little convoluted to squeeze all of this private information in one little spiritual essay, but while putting a few words down on my IPad, I suddenly saw the same cardinal sitting on a branch outside my window that had sent my father's blessing a few months earlier. Come to think of it, red is a beautiful color. I am proud to add it to my color spectrum.

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