Red Doors: from Heliotrope Nights

Every month I share an excerpt from one of my books. For July- month of fireworks and the leo and summer’s heightened sense of creativity and movement, I thought I’d share Red Doors, one of the essays from the Fire & Light chapter in my latest poetry and prose book, Heliotrope Nights.

Happy Reading!

Once upon a time, in one of my former lives, I had a front door that was painted red. A beautiful uplifting red, cheery and inviting. And perfect therapy for those long (very long) winter months.

Just a door. Just some paint. Yet so much more. A true symbol of what made me happy. Of what allowed me to dream and imagine and explore my existence. That red door signified a welcoming warmth and safety in my inner haven, a daring sass and grit out in the world. Exactly the way I wanted to be.

So I started following that feeling. I began living out my red-door adventures. And it led me to the most amazing possibility. Living in Italy.

Possibility. A word rich with promise and hope. Roll the word around on your tongue, let it linger in your mind for a few minutes. See what it conjures up for you. Do you have a small-but-meaningful reminder that stimulates you to get up and get going? What red-door possibility exists in your life? How will you live out your once-upon-a-time red-door adventures? -April M. Lee

Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door was my Aunt Olive’s favorite perfume. Whenever I smell it, it brings back memories of warm summers in Evansville, Indiana, Olive’s quick and ready laugh, circus peanuts in crystal dishes, and dancing green eyes. Even now after all this time, all I need is a hint of the scent to remind me of a woman who did her best to embrace, embody, experience life.

She knew how to reach for possibility.

We all have our Red Doors. Gateways that ask us to step into something brighter and bigger. Thresholds, some tangible, some intangible, that invite us through, reminding us there is great life waiting on the other side. Things that ask us to dream higher and reach further and find the extraordinary in the ordinary span of our day.

Sometimes simple. The tulips you buy yourself for no reason other than you love fresh, pink flowers. Hanging artwork of faraway places with vision and intent to travel. Deciding to never again save sequins or china or champagne for special when Tuesday and Every Day and This Moment Right Now is waiting to be celebrated.

Sometimes grander. Leaps of faith. Change of address. Change of name. Change of self. We leave, we arrive, we revolve, we evolve- through our doors stepping into the full of who we are.

It doesn’t have to look a certain way- our possibility of being. Possibility just asks to be realized, actualized, and experienced in our own sacred ways. Possibilities are the gift of life. The gift of being. The gift of choice. And as long as we are here, in the space of right now, we always have opportunities for better, for more, for growth, for change, for new possibilities.

For new doors.
Like Olive. Circus peanuts, warm zest, green eyes dancing, dancing, dancing. A spritz and a spray and a dash of perfume. Always ready with her Red Door.

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