What Is Life In The Yellow?

I’m sure in time I’ll be able to explain exactly what Life In The Yellow is with an articulate handful of words but until that happens I’m going to inflict a very basic tree metaphor on you.

I apologise in advance. Brace yourself…ok here we go…

Think about a large tree, something like an old wise fig tree, the kind with arching branches and a thick immovable trunk surrounded by buttress roots.

When I look at a tree like I see myself.

There are three parts to a tree, there are the roots, the trunk and the branches/leaves/fruit/flowers.

Everyone loves the leaves/fruit/flowers part of the tree – that’s where the wow-factor is, next we admire the trunk – solid and strong, bravely holding all the wonder of the foliage up for all to see…and unless a cheeky root was sticking up and tripped you over you probably didn’t even really give the huge root system that sustains that gorgeous tree a second thought.

This tree is a perfect example of the structure of my life (and probably yours too).

I have my inner life:

my soul,
my spirit,
my mental health,
my emotions and my heart

all of these things make up my root system.

Then I have my trunk:

my knowledge,
my logic,
my body,
my abilities,

and finally I have my branches/leaves/fruit/flowers – they things I do:

the things people get from me,
my work,
my skills,
my possessions,
my wealth,
my status,
my career,
my relationships,
my postcode,
my title, the letters and numbers that surround my name.

You get the idea.

We have an inner life, an underground life that is completely unseen and that life holds up and sustains our external life.

The bigger the external parts of the tree the deeper and wider the roots need to be to sustain it.

If those roots die, if they are cut off, left unwatered, if they are compromised in any way that tree will also die. The tree will survive some or all of its external parts being cut away but if it looses that root system it’s game over.

The problem is – most of our education (formal and informal) is focused on how to equip us to live strong, flourishing external lives – we grow big and strong and everyone compliments us on our gorgeous foliage – meanwhile, due to a combination of ignorance, misplaced values and neglect, our root system has contracted some form of root-rot and as our inner world goes into meltdown we are slowly dying, while being crushed under the sheer weight and expectations from our insane external lives.

In essence Life In The Yellow is about learning how to live an outer life from an inner world.

It’s looking past what job you have, what postcode you live in, what status, titles, letters and numbers you use to describe yourself – it’s looking at you. Who you are, your raw soul. It’s exploring the universe that exists inside of yourself – saying ‘no’ to trying a live a life that measures up to everyone else’s standards and focusing on becoming a person you like – a person you love. A person who is actually fully and magnificently alive.

Focusing on your mental health, spiritual growth, soul care, mindsets, self awareness and all things unseen. Recognising a flourishing life grows from a well tended soul – but we live in a world where our external lives are magnified and our internal lives are consistently minimized. This is a place where we attempt flip that.

Oh – and I guess you’re wondering about the name too…it’s a bit of an underwhelming story – it all started with an Excel spreadsheet.

Five years ago, at a time when my roots were well and truly in meltdown and I was watching my life fall part in the most spectacular way, I opened a new Excel spreadsheet and whipped up a weekly planner.

I blocked out all my work hours and any solid weekly commitments I had and then I coloured the rest of the week in yellow – all the free time I had left in a standard week. I had to spend those yellow hours finding a solution to make the rest of my life work…and the more I thought about what it would take to make my life work the more I saw that my external life had outgrown my internal life and I had to shift to really living my life in those yellow hours if I wanted to survive…and so my life in the yellow began.

[Art by Fyona Matters]

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