Are you an “out of the lines” color(er) or a person who strives to stay within the lines? Personally, when I start my next coloring project I imagine a perfect mandala like those created by monks who spend months finishing their beautiful sand mandalas. Unlike the monks who destroy the mandala after the creation is finished (to symbolize the transitory nature of material life), I keep mine to remind me that I am capable of some type of colorful artwork.
When my pencil seems to have a mind of its own and “messes up,” even with my careful focus, it always hits me in the heart that my piece will no longer be perfect. In fact, why not just start another one? Why not just rip it up like the monks? Which is exactly what I would do if I made a mistake back in the days when I thought perfection was supposed to be the highest goal of any endeavor I pursued. Perhaps the real message in the monk’s mandala is the impermanence of perfection!
Nowadays, I find myself coloring to bring calm, centering and one-pointed focus when my mind starts flying away or I am tired or just plain lazy and need a boost. When the new year began (2016), I searched for a new morning ritual after taking last year to read daily Sarah Ban Breathnach’s, ‘Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.” I needed a different way to start the day and it felt like I wanted a year of coloring beautiful designs that someone else created. All I had to do is choose the color I liked best. Today was my first day to color for a minimum of 15 minutes before starting the day. Now I am finished with the day feeling that I committed to a great new ritual for myself in this New Year.
A few years ago, I remember coloring with a grand daughter and feeling so peaceful. While Sponge Bob and Dora the Explorer did not exactly inspire me, I experienced this long time ago childhood memory of retreating to my coloring book when I needed some “alone” time.
Now I own several adult coloring books, my favorite is Marti McGinnis’ 400 Mornings and within the next few days I will have finished one of the 400 Marti Mornings to add to my collection. Maybe I have finally discovered it is the journey not the finish line and I can slow down, take my time and just enjoy the process. I have 364 days left to discover what will happen.
If you’d like to try this meditative and fun practice out, click here to download a free image to print and color right now!