Thinking outside the box and inside the lines

Just ahead of the launch of a new class, Mindfulness through coloring, Kathy Curtis, healing artist, is reaching out to educate the public on the benefits of picking up some colored pencils and tuning into yourself. We asked her to share more with us.

Coloring comes so naturally to us, from the time we’re children, so it’s not something we should overthink. Typically, when we color, we enjoy getting lost in the feeling of crayons flowing smoothly across the paper, in the satisfaction of staying in the lines or of combining certain colors together, in the escape from thinking about our worries and concerns, and in the joy of sharing little moments with a child or with other adults. So coloring, in and of itself, is not necessarily a way of being mindful, unless we set that intention.

If we choose to be mindful of all that, instead of just getting lost in it, our stress is reduced at the same time we're becoming more conscious of how we think, what we feel, what we find beautiful, what holds meaning for us, and so on.

When we color a word that has many layers of meaning to us, and we intentionally color with an awareness of that meaning, we bring together two pursuits that have been proven to reduce stress: mindfulness (awareness) and creativity (self-expression). Combined in the same act, they complement each other and bring us to a new level of self-understanding. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Embark Coloring Sheet

This word means something different to everyone who might color it. It even means something different to the same person, depending on when they color it and what is going on for them in their lives at that time. In combining mindfulness and creativity, we not only allow ourselves to be moved by the feeling of coloring and expressing ourselves, we also ponder what we are longing to embark upon. What that idea makes us feel. How that feeling influences the colors we choose. How being conscious of such an idea and spending time bringing it to life, visually, might help us to actually embark upon that new thing.

As I said, the goal here is not to overthink what comes naturally to us, but to simply be more aware of our inner dialogue about it. Most of us struggle to know ourselves better, and little exercises like this are a fun and simple way to see more clearly who we are, one little facet at a time.

In my opinion, finding inspiration from within is a huge benefit, along with stress reduction, having fun with others, and forgetting about the things we can’t control for a while.

Put it to practice.

A new program is starting soon that combines the science of mindfulness and the art of creative self-expression. This innovative approach to cultivating well-being is offered through the Center for Healthy Living at the Parkview Community Partner Development Center at The Summit. Sessions will be held monthly, and will offer an ongoing way to mindfully manage stress, while developing a more loving relationship with yourself.

Mindfulness through Coloring with Dr. Dave Johnson and Kathy Curtis will develop your mindfulness muscle and your imagination at the same time during an evening of expressive self-reflection. 

In a beautiful space. 
In a loving atmosphere. 
In the company of like-minded souls.

One night each month, we’ll gather for a mindfulness coloring session focused on a word that will inspire you to know yourself in a deeper, richer way. We’ll guide you through mindfulness exercises and imaginative journeys of the mind. As you color, you’ll feel your relationship with yourself improve, month after month. Each word will put you in touch with a different facet of yourself, and as the diamond that you are, there are many. We want to help you know them and love them all.

The black and white word of the month and crayons will be provided at each session. If you have coloring tools you prefer to use, feel free to bring them with you! 

Connect with Kathy on Facebook: Invisible Inklings

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