Yesterday as I was colouring in a person that Bloody Good Chap drew for my client workbooks, I realised that mindfulness colouring books have really very little to do with mindfulness and a lot to do with pretty pictures and excellent marketing.
Buttering gluten free toast with gluten free vegemite is a mindfulness activity, or a mindless one, but
[bctt tweet=”I don’t see anyone buying me a million gluten free toast buttering vegemite mindfulness books for Christmas” via=”no”]
Mindfulness colouring is an activity that you can do mindfully or mindlessly, like every other activity ever. The mindfulness is not in the colouring, it’s in the way you choose to direct your attention.
If while you’re colouring, you’re watching the ink as it comes out of the pen with curiosity and amazement, smelling its felt-tippy smell, noticing the sound of the pen dragging across the paper, the flick of turning pages, the contact between the edge of the black lines and your pen, the feeling of your hand moving through space, your skin on the page, and observing emotions you experience inside your body when you bugger it up and colour the owl’s eye red.
THEN you’re practicing mindfulness colouring.
Anything else is just zoning out, daydreaming, letting your mind wander while your hand goes on autopilot to get the job done,
like almost everything else in your life.
Last week I read a Russ Harris newsletter that confirmed that I’m not alone in my thoughts on this. Which is why I now feel brave enough to make my stand.
Because heaven forbid I announce my opinion and you give me the new FB angry emoticon and announce that you DON’T AGREE.
But I digress. As per.
[bctt tweet=”Mindfulness is attention training, it’s about you, your observing self, and your mind.”]
You can train your attention with any activity ever.
But that’s cool, if you enjoy colouring, absolutely go for it, it’s super fun to do things we loved as a kid. We’re really just kids in an adult body suppressing our emotions so we don’t look weird. Sometimes we suppress them so much that we can’t feel them anymore, and then we find life tedious and dull.
If you can learn anything out of mindfulness colouring, learn that the things you loved as a child are likely the things you still love now.
If you’ve forgotten what gives you passion and zest for life, start at 4.
And by handy association, you might even find yourself naturally being drawn into a mindful state.
“Get in the zone” you might call it,
if you’re kinda annoying.
Why? Because young children’s minds aren’t fully developed, so they don’t have a perpetual voice in their head dragging them away from their excitement in the present moment.
Kids love games and creating and doing things with their hands. These activities require our full attention, very little mind activity, just using the right side of our brain to learn and experiment, kinesthetically, not analytically.
This is mindfulness –
intense focus on what you’re doing (even when you’re doing nothing), with curiosity and openness to anything the experience brings you.
Time flies when you’re having fun. Why? Because you can only have fun now, right now, which means that fun only comes from a mindful state.
Your mind lives in the past and future, which is why time doesn’t fly when you’re not having fun, it drags, it’s boring, it’s dull.
Life can only be dull when you’re not in it – when you’re in the past or the future of your mind rather than experiencing what’s right in front of you.
So colour in your colouring books, make papier mache balloons and bicarb soda volcanoes, climb trees, do handstands.
Just do it with the intense focus and beginners-mind curiosity of a small child.