Colouring and My 6 Year Old Self

 My first mandala art to hang - photo by Lauren Garrett

My first mandala art to hang - photo by Lauren Garrett

Over the past month I have been reacquainted with my 6 year old self. A moment in time that I struggle to remember.

As you may know, I have been exploring different methods of meditation, or ways that I can be mindful, still and calm in body and mind, and in ways that don’t necessarily require me to perch on a cushion in silence. 

And...... I have an eye for mandalas; mandalas and meditation. The geometrics, the colours, the harmony and calmness that they bring… the depth of which you can lose yourself in their beauty. I have also been yearning to be creative, and for me, the best way I thought I could start was to get back in to some good old fashioned colouring. 

Now please, I may have lost some of you at this point, but please hang in there….. I’ve come from advising General and Operational Managers about their people and strategy to now locating quality, coloured pencils…. and guess what I am not looking back. If I was back in HR land, my team would be taking time out to colour - daily!

And through this experience guess what came up….. I still hold my pencil as tight as I did when I was 6. Yes, I could see myself, I witnessed myself, gazing down through my 6 year old eyes, staring at my hand and my middle finger, it’s little bunion still turning red, swelling and aching from that hell bent grip that I still have.

Thankfully with time, pencils are now shaped with 3 sides, more comfortable for those (me) who grip their pencil so tight in fright that it might run away. No more pen grip required here.

That perfectionist that is here today, (you may remember when I introduced you to her - Miss Goody Two Shoes), well she was clearly there all those years ago.  At the age of 32, that same strength holds that pencil, the same mental force to gain depth in colour, that determination and penetrating focus to stay within the boundaries..… no margin for error - yep she was always there.

I still carefully select the right colours to complement each other; as if no one is going to allow me to print the page and re-attempt it. I struggle to have willingness to let nature take its course, to let things flow, I give myself a light scolding here and there when I go outside the line and a constant trawling to colour over and over the same spot to reach perfection of colour depth that is pleasing to my eye (that or an unwillingness to let go of control).

Some things just don't change.  

This was certainly not what I was expecting to find through my curiosity to create mandala art. It does however make me smile…. I am the same girl that I was, all those years ago, my inner child is still alive inside of me. I do like that determination, curiosity and passion that is within me and I have often wondered where it came from. I wonder what it was all those years ago, when those characteristics started to form?

But back to the reason I was colouring….. I can now say I have 2 rituals on my list that stop the rat race of my mind… reading and colouring. Both of these activities bring calm, focus, a quiet mind, ease in my body — yep freedom and peace for a short while in my day. 

Keen to give it a go? Head over to my Pinterest Board for a few colouring suggestions!

And just to ensure you are maximising your experience - 

think your favourite tunes, a cuppa, candle light and yes, that meditation cushion and get colouring…. or perhaps that 5 minute window in your diary before meeting with that Manager that you can never meet eye to eye with.

See what the power of that pencil may bring.


Keen to get started - a few adult colouring books to try… but who says you can’t start with Dora the Explorer?!


A few fun facts…

For the yogi’s and mandala enthusiasts; a mandala in sanskrit (yogi language) means ‘circle’.  It is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism representing the Universe.  The sanskrit term, appears in the Rig Veda (like the beginning of yogic documented time!). Mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space, and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala 

How were we graced with the pencil you might ask? Well as early as 1500, a large deposit of graphite was discovered a parish in Cumbria, England and the locals found it to be was very useful for marking sheep! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pencil