We as humans are quick to make judgements from what we experience in our outer worlds, what we see and therefore perceive to be real. This can be a quick way to put answers to things. It does not allow however for what exists in a person’s inner world, their feelings, thoughts, desires, worries, dreams, inner voices. This was broken down to me as the ‘external world’ being the things we believe to be real because we see them and the ‘internal world’ being the things we know to be real because we feel them.

I am drawn the think about the way we use the word “fine” in english as a way to deflect from feeling. In the face of grief it may be a friend seems to be coping “fine” perhaps they did not break down, and share the depths of their pain and loss with us so we therefore decide to make a judgement on face value, that they’re fine and not suffering. We may go as far as to label them as doing “well”. Somehow the lack of sharing ones inner states translates as not having inner states, so they must be well, happy and quite frankly inhuman.

Our inner worlds can be places of darkness and fear, so it can feel far easier to communicate from our outer worlds, but it is our inner world that actually colours our outer wold as we know it. So much of therapeutic practice involves working on a person’s inner world, engaging from a place of feeling rather than seeing. As someone nearly always happy to engage in conversation, I am aware of my ability to talk about a feeling sometimes more easily than feeling a feeling. Language only gives us part tools to expressing ourselves, where as engaging in creative process and the arts can open up depths of expression that have felt impossible. I remember working with the Creative Arts in a group and the feeling of squishing a piece of clay or dragging a red crayon across a white sheet of paper could draw people to tears as that one act of expression spoke for so much that words could not. This primitive engagement allows for deeper connection to ourselves and therefore deeper senses of feeling, release and ultimately, acceptance.

The colours of our inner worlds are developed through experience, through the simple (or not so simple) act of living. The act of recognising and expressing those darker colours, that may have cast shadows upon our existence so far, can only make space for those lighter colours to start shining through.