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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Coloring books for adults?!

For the past couple of months, I have noticed in my shopping excursions, there are a plethora of adult coloring books.  Whether I was in pursuit of groceries, crafts or browsing, these paperback books filled with intricate black and white drawings are flooding the shelves everywhere I shopped.

 One day, my curiosity was saturated, and I picked up a volume entitled Mindfulness. In my Graduate classes, this topic has been very prevalent and it’s been in the forefront of my mind.  I flipped through the pages and saw this book have elaborate drawings waiting for colored pencils to bring to life. I also noticed that there were quotes from a variety of luminaries such as Carl Jung and Socrates. Since I am a huge fan of sage and concise quotes, I immediately bought it.

As I opened the book and absorbed the words, I found that this activity could easily lend itself to a relaxation experience. I am always looking for opportunities for self-care, so I decided to be very conscious of the whole experience in coloring. I found meditation music to help me ease into the relaxing mood. As the music played, I let my thoughts wax and wane.  I paid attention to the soft, rustling sounds of the lead on the paper.  I let my eyes wander back to the quote to pounder it again.

Typically, when I hold a pencil, I tend to grip it very tightly and cause painful callouses on my fingers. Yet, during this coloring sessions, not once did my right hand hurt. I wasn’t clutching the colored pencil for dear life, but rather let it sit propped in my fingers as I lightly glided it over the designated blank space.

As I colored the drawn flowers, I figured another way to relax was not to use the expected palette of the flora. I didn’t worry what color to choose—purple leaves on the blue roses, why not?! By allowing myself to not cave into conventional coloring, it was freeing and interesting to see what came from the pastel pencil.

I looked up at the clock and was surprised that 20 minutes had flown by.  I continued to color, then felt I had to finish the picture. This nagging drive for completion was not conducive to the relaxation I was trying to build, so I put away the pencils and closed the book.  I promised myself I wouldn’t open it again until the feeling of urgency had subsided and I was ready to just enjoy the sensation of coloring.

I am aware that not everyone shares my pleasant experience. I had brought up in casual conversation my observation about see so many adult coloring books for sale and have been met with rolled eyes and scoffs.  However, I find the process relaxing and rewarding, and encourage anyone who is looking for another way of self-care to try it. After all, there is no limit of places to purchase these books!