It is getting close to Christmas time again so you might have thought that the title of this newsletter was about making your wish list for Santa. Although that would be an interesting activity it is not what I planned on sharing with you today. Instead I want to share with you the fun and benefits of one of my favourite childhood past times. Did you know that colouring has become a popular past time for adults as a stress reliever and a tool to release our creative juices. I never thought I would be spending an enjoyable evening with my 90 year old father colouring or with my 50+ girlfriends as our girls night out activity. The most amazing thing is that I never would have expected to have an “Ah Ha” moment while colouring.
When I was a child I enjoyed the rainy days because it meant I could stay in and spend the day colouring. I always enjoyed colouring and enjoyed it even more when my best friend would come over and we could spend the afternoon together colouring and playing. As I grew older and had children of my own I was once again happy to sit indoors on a rainy or snow storm day and colour with my children. I was fascinated to recently discover that adult colouring books are now readily available in book stores and on line and it has become a socially acceptable adult past time.
Adult colouring books are quite the rage at the moment. People are colouring to help to distress and relax. According to Wikipedia “Possible explanation for the relaxation effect of coloring might be due to the back-and-forth movement of a pencil or crayon. Such a movement engages both spheres of the brain, reinforcing the connection between the two lobes and turning off the frontal lobe, which controls your organisation and regulation of your surroundings. That’s why losing yourself in coloring can make you feel more relaxed and balanced.” All I know is that it makes me feel like a kid again.
My “Ah Ha” moment occurred while colouring with my father. He just turned 90 however due to dementia our roles have reversed and he seems more like my child now than my father. Colouring was one of his favourite things to do with his grandchildren. My father now lives in the memory care section of the retirement residence. Last month, we were sitting together in the activity room and I asked him if he would like to colour. His eyes lit up and we both enjoyed our special time together colouring and talking. So much so, that I went out and bought some crayons and books to have in his room so we could colour on our next visit.
On my next visit we coloured once again and it was during that time that I experienced an epiphany. We had pulled out the book and crayons and were preparing to colour a picture with 2 birds. He wanted me to colour on the same page and we each chose a bird to colour. I reached in and selected a black crayon and starting to colour my bird. Dad chose a purple. Then Dad used orange. It was when he reached for the turquoise blue that I felt a shiver go down my spine. The kind of shiver not from sensing cold but when we get a surge of energy flowing, an intuitive hit, when we experience an “Ah Ha” moment.
Colouring gives us the opportunity to be creative and free, to let our imaginations go wild. When I started learning Reiki I felt that same shiver go through me. The Birds don’t have to be black or brown. Grass can be purple. Who says the sky has to be blue? With Reiki I felt that I was no longer constrained to use what are now termed “traditional” ways to help me get well and stay well. I could “be colourful and even colour “outside of the lines ,” using Reiki and other non-traditional therapies to help me. I felt empowered to try new things. I was unique. I learned to listen to my body and to my intuition to use the things that feel harmonious and right for me. I was more relaxed and less stressed. I have begun to learn the power of the mind in helping us heal. The sky does not have to be blue and the Sky is not the limit. We place limits on ourselves and we need to learn to be kids again, to be creative and let our imaginations wonder. When we open ourselves to new possibilities we can once again see the beautiful colours in all of the things in our lives.
A few weeks ago I enjoyed a Girls Weekend with 7 of my long time friends. I have know all of them for over 40 years and some over 50 years. Now that you have a sense of how old we are, you will be surpised to know that we spent the evening – Colouring Yes, there was a bit of wine involved along with some good food, laughter and our crayons. We had a friend call us from France to connect with us and she coloured too. This event reminded me of sending distant Reiki. It was a wonderful evening to connect with one another and to be kids once again.
Here is a picture of the New Group of 7 and our colouring accomplishments. (I am the 7th artist but I was taking the picture.) Looking at the photo now I am struck by the uniqueness of each design chosen, colours used, types of crayons and even the style of colouring. We are all unique even in our colour choices and colouring skills. Our bodies are unique as well. I suggest to my clients and students that we should listen to our bodies and do what feels harmonious for us. What is right for one person may not be the best thing for you. Listen to your body, choose your own colours and sometimes you might just want to colour outside the lines. 🙄