So what does orange mean? That’s what I was asked recently by someone I met who had fallen in love with the colour. And my favourite anecdote of all was what happened when I was sharing with a new contact that orange is all about connection and inclusion. She does Diversity and Inclusion work and all her packs go out in orange folders. We both laughed at how in tune that was when she didn’t even know that was the case.
In Colourful Boardrooms, I share a series of business principles that I designed to use with CEOS and their top teams and the one for orange was Value and recognise others in their wholeness. Diversity brings richness and infinite possibilities. Just imagine what the world would be like if that was the norm. And in a month when we celebrate the African diaspora this feels like an appropriate time to acknowledge the importance of inclusion.
In exploring this we come to the essence of orange in spiritual terms. It can be summed up in one word forgiveness. This is only possible when we have an understanding of the full situation or the other. When that is not present you are stuck in the shadow side represented by the quality intolerance. This shows up as a distorted use of logic where instead of seeing all the patterns at play so you can see the whole; you allow your emotions to colour the situation so that your argument is based on opinion rather than fact. If we take systemic racism as an example, this is endemic in many organisations and institutions because of an ancestral fear that is carried from one generation to the next.
If we examine what’s happening in the USA as Biden and Trump go head to head, we can see that in its depth this is a culture war between the “liberal elite” and those that consider themselves to be “outsiders. At another level what we see is a fear at an unconscious level of what life will be like when in 2045 the white majority becomes the minority and people of colour become the majority. There is a primal fear about white extinction.
Even if you recognise all this, you will never reach understanding through the mind alone. The way through comes when we take this back to the microcosm you and you giving yourself space to be still long enough to discover a sense of deep awareness from within. Even when you do that there will still be times when you get triggered because you are both human and divine.
Let me share a brief story to illustrate what I am talking about. I had a client let’s call them John who had a strong reaction to working with one of the Colour Mirror bottles. They contacted me to share that experience and we exchanged a series of texts. John wanted to understand what was happening and I was happy to be of service because I love colour. In the exchange of messages, John got triggered and had the emotional bandwidth to share that with me. I took some time to go within to understand the dynamic and offered some of my own insights.
If it had ended there it would have been fine. Unfortunately, John decided to respond again and make it personal. This is what happens when someone is triggered they either go on the defensive or the offensive. That had quite an impact on me and I chose to take many days out to reflect on the exchange rather than react in the moment.
What I had to do was go deep within to see what the learning was for me. It also required me to flex my forgiveness muscle because there was a part of me initially that was angered. I felt my eagerness to be of service was twisted into something I didn’t recognise and was really a reflection of his own situation.
What helped me to reach a place where I could see other perspectives was reading Robin Sharma’s words:
Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.
Then John and I had a frank exchange and explored what was going on for each of us. We came to a place where we could really see the other and respect them. That was possible because we listened and we worked with spirit. For me, I used my own form of tawba which is the Islamic form of asking for forgiveness. It requires you to take 100% responsibility for what has happened. When you can do that without trying to negotiate then the magic happens, you can see the insight for you.
I do that using the words of Ho’oponopono, an ancient Hawaiian spiritual practice that involves learning to heal all things by accepting “Total Responsibility” for everything that surrounds us – confession, repentance, and reconciliation. I say “I am sorry; please forgive me; thank you; I love you.”
If you have never tried this practice then I really do recommend it. It goes beyond understanding and allows for wholeness through the forgiveness process. And I find the added bonus is that you often feel lighter as a result.