“If you are an adoptive parent, a birth parent or an adoptee viewing the world from a stationary perspective on one side of the adoption triangle, you may be optimistically chasing a rainbow or even a halo on the opposing side of the triad, but don’t be fooled by the illusion that others can also see the rainbow because the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” —Judith Land
Do you feel like you have been chasing rainbows all your life?
A rainbow is an arc of color in the sky that can be seen when the sun shines through falling rain. The rainbow serves as a symbol of peace and serenity, a sign of hope and promise often seen after a rainstorm when the sun finally breaks through the clouds. The appearance of a rainbow signals an inner spiritual awakening, a process that holds promises of new knowledge and truths. A double rainbow is believed to be a symbol of transformation and a sign of good fortune. Some believe a rainbow is a message that their loved one has made it to heaven and sent the rainbow to let them know, especially when accompanied by converging parallel beams of light, “God rays” radiating outward from the sun’s position.
The best time to see a rainbow is in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky. Sunlight passing through raindrops causes rainbows via a process called refraction, which is the bending of light as it passes from one medium to another. Each color has a meaning, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and purple for spirit.
Chasing a rainbow is viewed as a fruitless quest, constantly pursuing illusionary goals that are unrealistic, fanciful ideas that are impossible or unlikely to happen. Since a rainbow can only be viewed from a distance, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow inspired by popular folklore, is forever illusive. You can never reach the end or find the pot of gold because a rainbow is an optical illusion, no matter how you move, the rainbow will always be the same distance away from you. Some members of the adoption triad are dreamers searching for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow where all things are perfect, a habit that is fine when you are young but everyone eventually needs to learn to see the world from the other person’s perspective and circumstances to prove that you worthy as an adult. Empathetic people are curious and possess a desire to know and understand others. Empathy is important because it helps us understand how others are feeling so we can respond appropriately to the situation. Empathy reduces stress and fosters resilience, trust, healing, personal growth, creativity, learning and nourishing connections. Empathy also transforms conflict, and supports sustainable collaborative action and positive social change.
My advice is to be inspired by rainbows but avoid chasing illusionary goals that are unrealistic. To build truly effective relationships, practice facing in the same direction as the other person to fully understand their perspective, situation, and points of view. It is far more exhilarating and delightful to view a rainbow when sharing the experience with someone you care about.