Red is as Red Does


One of my mentors gave me an interesting assignment one day:  (1) notice how many times throughout the day you see the color RED–notice the emotions you feel; (2) write a blog about this experiment; (3) commit that the next time you have an unfavorable experience, you will deliberately decide to make that experience mean something positive to you.

Okay, I hear something like that and the kid in me jumps to his feet.  Number one, I’m curious…curious as only a little kid can be!  Number two, I love a challenge—throw me a bone and I’ll gnaw on it until I’ve worked it out!  Number three, I love to learn, especially by hands-on experiment!

“There are things that happen all the time, undeniable experiences in our environment.” my mentor explained. Loosely translated that reads, ‘There is RED all around you, pay attention and you will notice it!’

“Most people think that meaning is tied to experience, and that when something happens—it means something,” my mentor continued.  “The truth is, any experience can mean whatever you want it to mean.  Your mind highlights what is pointed out to it, through the filters of perception, controlled by your attention.”

So I’m saying to myself, if I take something simple and common, like the color RED, pay attention at each encounter with it during the day, take notice of the ‘filters’ through which I give it meaning, I could discover something profound about me!  I’m ready–the juices are flowing, the wheels are turning. 


As I step into the early morning sunshine, my attention is immediately captured by the magenta red of the bougainvillea blossoms and the fiery red of the ‘fire-cracker’ fern prolific on our yard.  I pause to bask in this glorious beauty, the masterful display of a joyful Creator who loves to create and re-create with unending and unique variety.

Yes, at this stage of my life I have learned to slow down and smell the roses, to feel the breeze, to revel in the artistry of my Heavenly Father Who simply loves life—and loves me!

I ponder my mentor’s statement as I work in the garden pulling weeds and removing unwanted stones,  “Your mind highlights…through the filters of perception…”  My eyes, my ears, my emotions, even my finger tips are now keenly awake and alert in my menial task.

Mid-morning, I put down my tools to fetch a cool drink.  I reach into the kitchen cupboard for a glass, my brain immediately picks up the signal flashed in less than a split-second from my eyes—RED!

I draw slowly and deeply of cold, refreshing water.  Spontaneously a blessing arises from within,

Blessed are You, O Lord, Sovereign King of the Universe, Who satisfies our mouth with good things so that our youth is renewed as the eagle’s.”  (Psalm 103)


I have not always been positive about life or about myself, and I still wrestle with lingering thoughts of depression, stifling feelings of bitterness, outbursts of anger. Worst of all is resentment fueled by unforgiveness.

But my experiment with the color RED taught me how easily I bring meaning to even the most mudane incidents of life. And the decision is entirely within me whether the meaning I attach to each occassion is negative or positive.



How RED is your day?


Pause right now to focus your attention on something beautiful and release a ‘Thank You’ into your atmosphere:

Blessed are You, O Lord, Sovereign King of the Universe, Who surrounds us with spontaneous beauty of Creation so our spirit within us can be refreshed and renewed in the moment.




Les Dahl