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Coloring for Adults

Right here in the midst of the busy holiday season, I’ve been coloring mandalas. I had an article due, and I took a half hour to color a mandala. I had paperwork looming and I colored a mandala. I was on a conference call and I colored a mandala.

I loved coloring as a child, but I hadn’t done it since. I’m sure you’ve seen the cornucopia of adult coloring books popping up on bookstore and craft store tables, with images of flowers, sea creatures, fairies, Celtic designs, and more. But it was this coloring book filled with mandalas that grabbed my attention. As a bonus, it has perforated pages so you can neatly tear out a page at a time to color (important to the Type A in me).

When I bought the coloring book, I thought I was purchasing it as an optional creative activity for my October retreat participants—but I was the only one who used it! During the retreat, I sat in the common room from 5 to 5:30 each day to be available to any retreat participant who wished to discuss a writing project. If no one came, I colored. When I got home, I bought a bigger box of colored pencils. I haven’t stopped since.

The mandala represents balance, something I sorely needed in my life, as we all do. I had been so busy planning and crossing items off my to-do list that I had forgotten to simply let go and be present. Coloring mandalas brought me back to myself, and reminded me to follow where the creative impulse leads. As a bonus, I’ve discovered that some of my best creative ideas come when I am bent over the page, immersed in color and pattern. Wherever your creative impulse leads, I encourage you to follow it. Who knows what unexpected delights await you?

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