Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching mindfulness to a gentleman who was honest about my instruction not holding his attention. It just wasn’t doing it for him to look out the window at the trees, listen to the traffic or the fan, pay attention to his breath or his body.
Thanks to my own mindfulness practice, I accepted rather than resisted his truth, which my ego could easily interpret as criticism of me. Mindfulness teaches me to shift from judgement to curiosity. He went on to share that he has been doing some interior painting and finds it takes great concentration to paint around, but not on, the brass hardware. Now there is something that holds his attention he said, but the painting project will soon come to an end. I thought he might enjoy painting classes, but knew something we shared was our hesitancy to spend what we consider to be a lot of money. I told him I had an idea which if he didn’t like he surely could toss right into the trash. I pulled up the Amazon website, turned the monitor toward him with simultaneous hope that he would like my idea and as much neutrality and non-attachment as I could muster. On the screen was a photo of a Mandala coloring book. His face appeared to light up. Yes! This is something that could hold his attention and be affordable. I recommended he try thin markers, colored pencils, and gel pens to out which he prefers to work with.
There are many ways to exercise our awareness, that part of ourselves that is our presence, our being, consciousness, the part of us that is not our thoughts, our emotions, our body, or events. When we experience awareness, we find that “peace of mind that protects from piece of cake”. As we exercise our awareness, we find that we “grow inside to shrink outside.” And though of course there is a bit more to it, this is the beginning of how we can color our way to health. It doesn’t hurt that it is nearly impossible to color while eating.
There are many sources to download free printable coloring pages – here is one to try: