Tag-Archive for ◊ Green Zone ◊

25 Feb 2010 Lesson #1: Don’t Buy Cheap Crayons!
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Week 5 of “Celebrate 50!”, an Intentional Living Project

I was watching for the right time to do this week’s activity.  I got started on it yesterday, but it turns out it wasn’t the right time…today would present a better use of this intentional living activity, #8, Color!  I found that at noon today my head was, in highly technical psychological terms, all discombobulated. I had a bunch of thoughts swirling around and considered recruiting someone to just slap me to get my head screwed back on straight!  I also had just been outside doing a few things to prepare for the impending snow storm.  So the stage seemed set: this would be the perfect time to snuggle up with a nice hot cup of coffee, gaze out at the snowfall, and color.  Lunch time at it’s best. 

When I put this activity on the list, I actually thought when the time came that I may end up thinking this was a pretty silly choice and feel pretty dumb doing it.  I surprised myself though.  It turned out to actually be a pretty cool thing.  I got involved in the coloring and it ended up clearing my head, giving me some distance, clarity, and perspective.  In the world of my wellness work I would call that getting me back into the Green Zone.  But really, the zones are more about stress levels.  I wasn’t stressed, I just was too much “in my head”.  And this little baby pulled me back into my body.  I think it was the physical nature of holding the crayon, seeing the color, etc.  And also it disengaged my brain from the swirl.  I got involved in the goal of finishing the picture.

 So let me tell you what happened.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

First, a few days ago, I bought cheap crayons and a coloring book.  Yesterday morning I set up to begin my coloring project.  But the crayons were garbage.  Hardly no color to them.  See exhibit A !  So I went back to the store in the evening and bought genuine Crayola’s.  While the actual coloring was engaging and calming, the buying of the crayons was actually pretty fun… OK..if you don’t set high fun expectations! & let yourself have fun in all the little moments of life.  So I evaluated all the options…8, 16, 48, 72..then I saw this box of 120.  Yeah!  Go for it.  And also decided to try out the pack of 50 markers.  What the heck.

color exhibit B

Exhibit B

 So today, when I would get more out of this activity than I would have yesterday, I started again.  I love how life works that way, don’t you?  Coffee.  Coloring book.  Crayons.  Markers.  Music..the sound track from French Kiss.  Can you see it?  Decided to finish the page with the crummy crayons for comparison.  I found myself trying to find the “right” color to make sure the picture would reflect how these things occur in nature…that perfectionistic part of me coming through.  I told myself, on the next picture I would make myself color things in any old color…be wild!  Then I opened my box of 120 crayola’s..eager anticipation.  All those color choices so I could go wild.  I had never seen a box of 120!  Big let down.  Turned out inside the box there were 2 boxes of 48 and a box of 24..all strange colors…which was perfect!  I couldn’t even color them the “right” color if I had wanted to! 

color exhibit c

Exhibit C

As you can see from Exhibit B, though, I didn’t stray far.  On to the final page..coloring with markers. I thought I would enjoy the vibrancy of the colors the most…I did, but the perfectionism in me didn’t care for the unforgiving nature of markers.  But finally, by page 3, Exhibit C,  I was a little more willing to try any old color that I happened to have in my hand.

So what did I learn from this silly coloring project?  A lot actually.

  1. Don’t buy cheap crayons.  They don’t color well..more wax than color.  And they don’t even have names on them, which you’ve got to admit, is part of the fun of crayons!
  2. It took till the 3rd page to let go of the coloring “rules” I set up, FOR MYSELF!
  3. It was self-calming and mind-clearing to get lost in silly childhood coloring.
  4. I was able to color intentionally, without feeling like it was a waste of time.  I was able to stay focused on the moment and make it all it could be.
  5. I will be adding coloring to the Yellow level of my Red Light Plan as an option for helping me de-stress from a moderate stress level (Yellow)
  6. I will keep coloring as an option for a slow down activity.  Principle #9 of my Energy Equation wellness principles is to Slow Down.  I learned the hard way why it’s so important to build some slow down time into each day.

OK..here’s my challenge to you.  Can you color and do it WITHOUT feeling it’s a waste of time?  Take the challenge and let me know what you thought of it.  Post your project if you can.  I am new to blogs so am not sure if you can do that or not.  Oh, and by the way, coloring with your kids or grandkids doesn’t count.  You have to sit down and intentionally do this for yourself.  Got it?

OH..for additional incentive.  Turns out Crayola has this new cool thing to “transform your photos into coloring pages”.  It will drain the color out of your photo so you can color your own photo.  Code “kjmkhlwq”.