Coloring relaxes people. In recent years, coloring for adults is back again. If you feel rushed, want to relax or you want to turn off your thoughts, start to coloring with crayons. But, I asked myself, is it still relaxed having a deadline?
During my New Zealand tour I bought a 24 pages coloring book. After buying it, I clearly realized how beautiful it would be to browse through the fully colored book.
As these things go, nothing much happened in this coloring book. I was occupied with other things, all the desire still being there, but that is a different story.
This challenge was also to let a small wish of mine come true. Would I be able to color these 24 plates in 31 days.
I must be honest to start with. There were some colored items in the book already. So basically there would twenty-two and a half pages to be colored in 31 days. Would it be easier to pass over? I do not think so. It gave me a slight edge in my challenge, but with the holidays on the doorstep and the many social obligations that would come with them, I could perhaps have less time to spare, I knew. But I started in good spirits. The beginning is always fun; it's new and exciting.
When to do it
Because I have a toddler and a baby in the house, my me-time is limited. I had to find my own moments each day. This was mostly in the evening, when the children were in bed. But increasingly I started in the morning with my coloring job , before they were awake. The advantage was that I had already done a lot, just before starting the rest of my day. That gave me a relaxed feeling.
The first three weeks passed like a train. I colored each day and it was a kind of meditation for me. Totally zen I started and ended my day. That felt good. Until I went to calculate how far I was and how much I had to do to reach my goal. Then the stress came and I feared to fall behind. It was not a meditative process anymore, there were days of too much pressure. I noticed changes of the colors I used. I choose dark colors, coloring was less precise between the contours , the palette of colors did not match.
Then I started listening to podcasts during my colorings: podcasts about creativity or productivity and interviews with writers. It felt good to combine. I became more and more relaxed again.
The first day of Christmas I celebrated with relatives. I feel blessed that I feel so comfortable with them that I was able to color for an hour. An aunt even found it interesting and we have been talking a long time about creative challenges.
Boxing Day was at home. My son, almost 3, joined me. He colored throughout one of his coloring books, finishing it in no time and the next day he did one again. It was the same to him whether it was beautiful or ugly.
That reminded me, I didn't have to mind the colors I used, or that I was working precisely within the contours. The color itself was beautiful in its own. For me it was a reminder that the light and airy character of my challenge was to continue in feelings and emotions.
The final days
I had many appointments by the end of the year. There were some unexpected ones. But the many times without sleep because of the nightly feedings of my daughter, made me sit down coloring at half past five before sunrise. On such a morning I realized that my being relaxed or stressed was a choice. I was very stressed and during coloring. So my choice was between continued thinking about my calendar dates, or let things happen as they occurred. I began to realize more and more that if I would not realize my goals I could be proud of other things that I achieved. My creative river had begun to flow again, my blog was launched, my training of English Grammar had started and I had enjoyed colors for a month. A good ending of the year, looking at it in that perspective . And that brought me back to zen during coloring. A good feeling.