When I was a child I was a champion at coloring. I loved my crayons. I loved to paint. Every day in first grade, the teacher handed out "washing hands" papers. They were mimeographed pages with simple line drawings and we were supposed to color them, quietly, and when we were through we could wash our hands and get ready for lunch.
I remember my teacher praising folks who colored within the lines. I colored within the lines.
I didn't stop coloring within the lines until... college?! I was a conformist, most of the time. Don't judge.
As an adult, I've often thought of a time in high school when some friends and I spent about an hour at a kids' playground playing. Swinging on the swings. Going down the slide. Yes, we were teenagers, but there was nobody around, and it was glorious, being able to just step back a bit and play. Most of my frantically busy high school years are a blur, but that hour is clear to me.
As adults, we often don't give ourselves permission to stop "adulting" sometimes, and just play. We have to take the kids to sports. We have to get to work. We have to clean up the kitchen. We have a million things to do, and all of it's important and we have to do it all RIGHT NOW. Perfectly. We are expected to color within the lines or face severe judgment from our peers, neighbors, families, you name it.
A few months ago when I was still feeling pretty wiped out from the surgery and was bored, I decided to order myself a coloring book. I saw this: According to psychologists, coloring is the best alternative to meditation. I ordered my book from Amazon.
Michael started coloring, too, and picked up the new colored pencils shown about, at Walgreens.
"Coloring allows us to unlock that creative potential that we all possess. Yet more importantly it helps with relieving anxiety and tension. When you are coloring it helps unlock memories from childhood, such as having fun laying on your stomach on the floor and letting your imagination run wild and free."
When I am coloring, I am not thinking about anything but making my picture look nice. I often have to TV turned on, but I just listen, or turn the sound off entirely.
Some people cannot meditate. I can, but it's hard to relax completely. Expecially when the neighbor's yard guy is blowing leaves, and Lola is snoring, and I've got a sinus headache, and... you get the idea.
For those of you who can't meditate, try coloring. Put on some music you like, and just color. Don't worry about it being perfect. Nobody needs ever see it. Just use colors you like, and have fun.
Once I got that out of my system I went back to coloring within the lines, of course...