“I should meditate.”
“I should read one book a week.”
“I should take cold showers.” (Wim Hof is popping up everywhere now.)
It’s easy for us to want to try too many things. I have numerous goals, but I have found that making them into little experiments is a way to welcome new habits, or write them off with no pressure. This approach makes new goals fun opportunities instead of telling myself “I should do it because I should.”
This allows me to take obligation and pressure out of the formula.
A good example is my 25 days of no swiping experiment. I thought I would keep going, but I’ve been swipe-free since January ’17 and LOVIN’ it.
Coloring books as a meditation technique
I was reading an article in Men’s Health about the benefits for meditation, for men that
The first time – and the last time – I tried it, I fell into a deep meditative state. I didn’t bring myself out of it in a prompt manner. I couldn’t feel my phone vibrate and I set THREE alarms.
As a Deaf person I can’t experience meditation with soothing apps like Headspace or a yoga teacher’s instruction. The notion of being motionless didn’t fit my approach but I still wanted the experience.
While I pondered the situation, my memory was jogged about some additional alternative techniques. I latched onto the idea of coloring books.
I jumped on Amazon to order one. I wanted something elegant but not too….kindergarten. If I was coloring Donald Duck, boredom would emerge rather quickly.
Some interesting alternatives were appealing.
I settled on the Jungle Adult Coloring Book: Featuring Sweary Words & Animals.
What did the experiment reveal?
Perfect timing. The book arrived on a day I was feeling grouchy and anti-social. I had a long Saturday morning of work, and when I got home, I had a bunch of creative blocks I couldn’t crack.
I wasn’t sure if I should read or watch TV so I opened up my coloring book and settled on a peacock with “motherfucker” written out on its feathers (excuse the language here).
45 minutes later (Notice the fine detail of my peacock. It was easy to get lost into creation of my masterpiece) my mood eased and I could feel my stress levels dissolve. So far, so good.
I was kicking it back at home with a few IPAs. I wondered about other ways to engage my mind. I was certain that expanding my artistic skills beyond the peacock would do the trick.
Giddy, I grabbed for my coloring book and sipped on my IPA as I tackled my next creation.
The next morning, I saw I had colored out of line, added grass and scribbly notes. Oops.
Note to self: Get a separate coloring book when alcohol is involved. Patience doesn’t last long under the influence. The whole coloring book experience inspired me to host a coloring party. Methinks this is a great idea.
One weeknight, I was hashing out a blog but struggling with my thoughts.
I failed to inspire my writing and the clock neared 8 PM (the time at which I call my mind in for ANY work) After some feeble attempts to break through writing I decided to go to my coloring book in order to relax and reset my mind.
I was frustrated with my creative side.
I colored for a mere 20 minutes and was able to let go of the “I should be doing this instead” guilt. I made my blog a priority the following morning. I looked forward to being creative. I was no longer stressed and hit bed earlier than normal. I slept like a baby.
On Friday nights I usually indulge myself with some favorite food for dinner. I’m talking burgers, cheese and fries. As I sat in a food coma afterwards, I was unsure about what to do in order to stimulate my mind and avoid making the night a total waste.
I was going to color but was seized by the idea of some serious binge watching with Netflix. Their original series programs are really good. They have great writers. The fitness great John Romanellio admits he watches a ton of Netflix to “stretch the imagination.”
Bye-bye any guilty feelings. I tossed the coloring book aside.
I hosted a small get together for my college crew and coloring was on the agenda.
That activity didn’t see the light of day and was shoved aside once again. Neverrrrmind.
I hadn’t colored for weeks and I told myself to give it one more go after Sunday meal prep.
But then I remembered about the new Netflix series, Iron Fist. It features a good lookin’ blue eyed lead character. I love Marvel. Blue eyed gents make it the perfect package for me. You might remember their value from following my blog.
Blue-eyed Marvel men > coloring books.
Are coloring books in my future?
Will I give up coloring? No. Coloring will happen again. I adore my jungle book and will use it when I need to let go and reset my mind. The activity does not fire up my creative side enough to make it a frequent habit.
Maybe when I run out of Marvel characters to watch, I’ll color.