My friend Patricia sent me a box of Derwent Inktense watersoluble ink pencils in January when I was first diagnosed with cancer. She also included a small turquoise hardback sketch book from the same company. I loved the gift and didn't use it. Well, that's not quite true. Because Patricia is a spokesperson for using those beautiful journals rather than storing them I made a mark with each of the 24 colours on the clean, fresh, white and intimidating first page. I did it for Patricia and put it away.
Of course I couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling that in my role as Program developer at Wellspring, a cancer resource centre, I was a BIG promoter of creative workshops for healing. Not only that, I was also on my soapbox about creative activities of all kinds as the secret to the fountain of youth. In fact I would quote Dr. Gene Cohen who calls 50 plus the age of creativity. I was enthusiastically drawing links between both areas of research-healing and ageing.
Since I am 61 and now have cancer I decided the best time for me to take the plunge was now. Please bear in mind that there are hundreds of ways to be creative but I had always wanted to do something with coloured pencils or paints and was afraid to start. I also remembered that six years ago I had ordered a Mandela Colouring Book from Shambhala and knew that it was stored untouched in a desk drawer. And so I began with that.
To my amazement I became engrossed in the colouring, losing track of time, and as I coloured I became more interested in the patterns and the look of the colours on the page. And then...when I dipped a small brush into a tiny dish of water and carefully went over my colouring with that wet brush... magic! My mind and spirit became enlivened and absorbed in the simple act of turning marks made by coloured pencils into vibrant, lively colours through the act of applying water with a small brush.
Although it is (
only)a colouring book, I felt like an artist. And I still feel that way. When I am colouring in that lovely book by Susanne Fincher my mind becomes absorbed in the activity. I lose track of time. I settle into the moment and my mind no longer gallops off into the "what ifs." When my colouring is finished I have something of beauty for me to look at.
Last Saturday I invited a friend to colour with me. It was so much fun that we will do it again. You don't need to wait until you are 60 or have cancer. Why not carve out some minutes everyday to add colour to your life, in whatever way that means to you. Don't wait a minute longer