You may be wondering why I am choosing to embrace my colorful self after reading my first post on this subject. My short answer and my long answer are the same: God told me “It’s time.”
From my earliest memories I heard the conversations. Two or, at times, three voices talking in my head. Sometimes they agreeed – like when we wanted to play, and sometimes confusion reigned like when we felt scared. The conversations never seemed weird to me, I thought them normal. At four years old I never considered asking someone about the voices in my head.
Why am I colorful?
As I have spent time learning about myself through my collages and dialogues with my colors I discovered the truth that all my colors carry the best and the worst parts of me. The best parts are valuable, treasured and loved. The worst parts bring me to repentance and help me to realize my utter need of Jesus in my life.
My colors not only carry the best parts of me – they all represent part of who I am. The wholeness of my identity cannot be expressed without the colors. In some cases the colors may have names or some other expression of their ability to be separate from the core identity. Still the colors are valid, real representations of an aspect of their core’s experiences and responses to life’s realities.
As I have discovered the intricacies of these colors, I have realized how real they have been to me all these years. Their expressions, their mannerisms and their ability to relate all represent me. Who I really am. I have to choose them and they in turn have to choose me. Without their agreement I would not be able to find wholeness and safety in my identity.
I introduced you to the cast of heady characters sharing themselves with me in my last post. And late on Friday night the last of the colors chose to embrace Jesus and join me as my core identity.
Afterwards I spent some time in reflective prayer with Jesus. Picture He and I sitting on the sofa in my living room. He has just returned from escorting Red, Aqua and Brown into the center of our being. As He sits we begin to talk.
JESUS: Yes, Michelle.
ME: Are they really part of me now… I mean, they really aren’t separate from who I am anymore?
ME: Why did we separate?
JESUS: Well, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. But, life is hard sometimes. Too hard for little kids with undeveloped minds to handle. When things hurt or get too loud sometimes the mind just splits apart and walls off bad experiences – then the parts create jobs that need to be done to manage the damage.
ME: And You created me that way?
ME: Why didn’t you just stop the things that would hurt?
JESUS: Because the plan doesn’t work if We interfere with human will. The plan has to include you and those like you who choose to follow Us, be transformed by Us and teach others about Us even through their pain.
ME: I see.
Conversation in prayer. A conversation that involves talking, relating and asking questions. I also listen for the answers.
Realizing how my right brain helps me related to God empowers me. The right brain houses my intution and my ability to interpret and translates that interpreation into expression through my left brain. Subconsciously our brain is always processing the information it receives. In our sleep, our right brain works processing the smallest details of our experiences throughout the day. Our right brain produces both dreams and nightmares. It brings us experiences of “deja vu.” Our right brain helps us relate to God.
God created us mind, body and spirit. Three distinct parts with one identity and purpose not meant to be independent of one another, but instead they meant to be integrated. Three working as one helping us connect to God. The mind will and emotions must connect to the spirit for God to be realized in our lives. For transformation to happen our spirit must connect our mind, will and emotions to God. And furthermore, if we ever hope to receive physically from God we must first receive from Him through our spirit and our psyche or soul.
My mind has a unique ability to stop me from accessing things that would be destructive and hurtful. But, my body and my spirit still know what lies beneath the surface waiting to destroy me. These can be called strongholds. Areas of self-sufficiency where I have created a way to cope subconsciously or consciously with the painful and traumatic events of my life.
So, how did this all start for me?
Well, it started with that first brain map. I colored it and listened carefully to the thick, african accent as Dr. Mungadze spoke to us about the intricacies and the various functions and potential problems of the right brain. I heard colors mentioned and wrote furiously all I could capture as his words both wizzed by me and landed on me. I tried to catch as much as I could. Still I left without answers just the way a child often misses most of the bubbles he is chasing when the wind passes through the wand. I did not know what the colors in my brain could mean.
I took my brain map home and sat with it during my quiet time. “Lord, I don’t know what this means, but you do. Would you tell me what is going on here?”
And God did. He began to explain. I later learned through another class with Dr. Mungadze that collaging helps people to understand the colors by giving expression for me to “talk to” the colors about. “The colors know why they exist there,” he assures us, “ask them.”
By the third time I sat in a room mesmerized by this fascinating subject – feeling the immaterial parts of me leaping for joy on the inside as I learned more and more. I continued to experiment by coloring brain map after brain map and talking to God about it. I must admit – talking to colors felt unsettling. It really shook me at my core. As much as I wanted to know more, I realized that to have a better understanding I would have to experience the reality of what Dr. Mungadze shared.
By this time, my brain presented fairly calm and normal. Lots of faith and peace appeared to be present. Dr. Mungadze’s associate commented, “This looks like a fairly normal functioning brain.”
Excited by his words, I wrote my interpretation: “Pretty calm brain, fairly normal functioning.” Well except for the reaction triggered at the end of the night which produced a rage in me I did not quite understand. A rage connected to how others were feeling and acting around me. A rage that consumed me and frustrated me.
I stepped into the car at the curb where my husband waited to drive me home and said, “I bet my whole front brain is red right now.”
My front brain indeed held the color red. The anger pulsed through me like red, hot lava and erupted in verbal expression as I vented to my oversight pastor by phone. I clearly had been triggered but I didn’t know why.
I went home and sat down with my crayons and a fresh brain map. The colors had begun to subside and my once red frontal lobe now presented pink – in a highly emotional state. Red had been locked up in what my colors refer to as “the closet” and I settled down to pray. God showed me that the red had come up because of how I felt about women who would not speak up for themselves and who would say they were fine when everything else about them screamed they were not. Red’s anger frightened me. I didn’t know if I wanted to learn more about that color or not.
Over the months since that day I have colored brain maps after arguments with my husband and discussions with my friend. I have tried to manipulate the colors and just put in a color that I “wanted” but when I asked my brain where it went I would always select a different color. I don’t know how or why it works, but I just know that what my brain has revealed to me through the colors has not only made me more aware of who I am, where I need to allow God to work and what has happened to me along the journey to this place… They have also helped me to discover God in a whole new way. Deeper, more sweetly embraced. An intimacy with God opens to me now more than I have ever experienced before.
A few weeks ago I stood at the bathroom counter, hair dryer in hand, when I heard clearly, “You need to color your brain today.”
I knew the voice well enough to know God wanted me to take a detour from my morning routine. He and I have been dialoguing this way for a few years now. At least since I sat in Bob Hamp’s class on “Hearing God.” That night I asked the Lord if there had been a lie I had believed about You. His response, “You think I’ve been sitting up here waiting for you to screw up so I can say, ‘Gotcha!'”
I found myself amused by His reply. “If that is a lie, what is the truth to replace it?”
He then said, with so much love I could feel it, “I’ve got you. Stop trying so hard.”
What else would I do when I hear God? I colored my brain map and asked God about what I saw there. There in the midst of all the colors I had come to recognize in my own brain experience sat GRAY. Gray I would learn had been there when Jesus knit me together in my mother’s womb. Half praying and half conversing with the colors I had the realization that Gray liked to pretend. Gray hid something in my memories from me.
The collage I did after this particular brain map stirred up anxious and fearful feelings. I reeled with inadequacy and felt stuck. I wanted to be free. I wanted to know what the pictures and the stories meant and I wanted the anxiety and the fear to stop. I didn’t know how.
By the time I saw Dr. Mungadze at another training class my heart pounded wildly as I waited for him to look at my brain map and confirm or redirect the processing I had done. He confirmed what I had come to realize. Gray it would turn out also had a demonic link. A spirit of self-sufficiency deeply rooted in me generationally that manipulated my subconscious and interjected pretense as often as possible.
Gray not only pretended… Gray out and out lied. I went home that afternoon and collaged Gray from Google images on my computer. I would be making an appointment with Dr. Mungadze within the week.
By the time I arrived at his office I had fully embraced my “brain family” which simply means I accepted that my subconscious mind had created barriers and jobs that allowed them to be separate from my consciousness on a regular basis. This led me to the realization that in order to understand what had happened I would have to call “them” up in my subconscious and invite them to share their stories with the consciousness of me.
I entered his small office with two collages, a painting, a notebook full of brainmaps, his teaching notes and a dialogue I had already conducted with Gray, Blue and Purple. My desire? Have him help me see if I had missed any part of what my brain demonstrated in the collages and the brain maps. He affirmed my work to be quite thorough and we laughed out loud at some parts of the dialogue as I recognized that on some level Gray had worked hard to wall God out of my subconscious brain. Gray warred with the Yellow in my brain all the time. Fighting against my faith to keep me from being free.
Before I left I knew the next part of my work to be done. Pink and Green had come up for air and their feelings stirred deep within me for days. I arrived home and collaged them straight away. By the end of the night I had dialogued and introduced Pink to Jesus and convinced Green that Jesus helps us to be family. Both decided to join Jesus at the center of my being and Brown and Orange settled on having nothing better to do – they should join Jesus, too.
As for the colors… I found Pink to be delightful. A little girl of four in every sense of the word and age.
A couple of my favorite moments with Pink:
ME: Do you remember Blue and I talking about Jesus?
PINK: (giggling) I remember Jesus. He is my favorite. He gave us to Mommy and Daddy, Right?
ME: Yes, Pink. That is right. What else do you remember about Jesus?
PINK: (singing) Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white… (sudden feelings of extreme sadness.)
ME: Pink, are you sad?
PINK: Jesus don’t love Pink.
ME: Oh, well… Pink. That son is about the outside color not the inside colors.
PINK: What color are we on the outside?
PINK: (giggles) OOOOOHHHH! I get it, silly.
And then after Pink decides she wants to go with Jesus she takes a moment to run back to me.
ME: (kneeling down) What is it, Pink?
PINK: (takes my face in her hand) Will you really be okay?
ME: Yes, I’m sure. Jesus said I would. He’s taking care of me.
PINK: But what about Mommy and Daddy? Won’t they miss me?
ME: Mommy and Daddy won’t have to miss you because you will be a part of me. You just won’t be a separate part of me. If you go with Jesus, you’ll be one with me and that will make growing up easier.
PINK: Will youp play with me still?
ME: Yes. You will be the part of me that loves to laugh and play and sing always. I love you, Pink. Jesus is waiting go to Him.
PINK: Okay, I will. I love you, too. (she runs to Jesus and takes His hand. She looks back and waves) See you later.
As I said before the conversations have always been there – the voices of accusation and confusion, the voices of argument and conflict, the voices of escape and wistfulness, the voice of God. I’ve heard them mixed and mingled into my thoughts throughout my life. I had always heard it said, “It’s okay to talk to yourself, just don’t answer yourself because that means your crazy.”
Who could I tell about the conversations in my heard without sounding crazy? I talked to myself, in fact, I had arguments with myself. I answered. That makes me crazy.
All I know today can be expressed this way: On Friday, for the first time in my life I wept in the arms of Jesus over all that I’ve discovered in these last few weeks. I wept tears, but not just any tears. The tears that fell… Mine. Not Red’s, Pink’s, Orange’s, Blue’s… Not any of the color’s tears – these tears belonged to me. Afterward, Jesus helped me to fully and finally release those who had hurt me through forgiveness including myself and the colors. When I asked Him for an exchange – He gave me a picnic basket full of flowers representing all the colors in my brain. He took them in his hand and wove them into a wreath. He wrapped the wreath with a white ribbon and then placed it on my head.
“That’s perfect. Now you will always have them with you right where they belong.”
Jesus loves me this I know, for He, the Word, tells me so… Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. He always tells me so.