Throw Away Your Coloring Book


Featured picture from Pinterest

I challenge you.

Well, okay, you don’t HAVE to throw away your brand new adult coloring book…but it might be a good idea.

Or, just don’t buy it – it’s expensive anyways, especially the fancy schmancy ones.

Just like anything in this world, coloring books have an upside and a downside.

The problem comes when you think there is only one side to the story.

When there’s a hype around something usually people aren’t informed of what the negative side of it is.

But, what is there to be concerned about – you say. It’s just a little coloring.

And again, just like anything in this world, one thing cannot be suited for everyone. When we think it does, that’s a mistake.

 

Why throw it away?

A good rule of thumb for doing anything is: everything has a time and place for it.

So who is coloring books suited for?

 

It’s good for people who need structure and can work within that structure.

Because all that a coloring book is is a structure – a bunch of lines and boundaries for you to put color inside.

It’s very safe for someone who need structure because they’re feeling “all over the place,” or overwhelmed.

Sometimes you need a good solid structure.

Or it could be that you are used to having structure so that it’s something that you rely on for safety.

When you’re not confident about “going all out” and creating original stuff, coloring books can be useful to get your feet wet in expressing yourself.

The structure gives you the guidelines, and some might say that most of the work is already done for you.

It gives you a promise for a neat and perfect picture.

But sometimes you don’t need the structure of a coloring book – and what you really need is creating the structure yourself – changing it with your own hands, having control, and making a new path.

 

Going outside the lines

When you’re creating something without the lines and boundaries of a pre-existing picture, you’re making something literally out of the box and original – you create something that you and only you can do.

It’s 100% you, nowhere to hide and no time to worry about what you put out there. Because it is original and there is no match for it. What is there to judge? There is nothing to compare because it’s original – there’s nothing else like it. It’s an honest, raw expression of who you are and where you’re at at the moment.

I do think that there is a reason adult coloring books are all the rage right now.

Maybe we need that dose of color in our lives – to be creative, be expressive, be bold and colorful. (Don’t we all try to suppress it trying to be reserved, be average/fit in, and be a square?)

And maybe at the same time, we need that structure set up for us, that path paved out, that boundary letting us know where we can be neat and safe.

And maybe we need that (almost) guarantee of masterpiece-worthy results. Of perfection.

 

So…what happens when we realize that we don’t want perfection, but we simply want to know who we really are?  What happens when we realize we need to let our story be known?
Then I think it’s time to cut up that coloring page and make your own picture this time – perhaps a collage of the cut up pieces, as a start?

from bitter to sweet
-Y Jung

Throw Away Your Coloring Book
Throw Away Your Coloring Book

Trying to Find Out What the Heck is Meditation

My journey in meditation

I always thought myself as a sensitive person.

I was the emotional type who was easily hurt.

My emotions sometimes engulfed me and I didn’t know where it all came from. It just seemed like it was coming from nowhere. Emotions controlled me.

I was studying Psychology during undergrad years (to helps others, but also to help myself!) and stumbled upon CBT, which led me to ACT, and then to Mindfulness-based practices.

While CBT sometimes felt very difficult to master, ACT and other mindfulness-based practice felt more compassionate and kinder in their approach; it was easier for me to stick to and actually apply it.

That’s how I got into mindfulness meditation. That was the first time I’ve really learned what meditation was.

 

Before then, I had this idea that only monks and secluded spiritual people did meditation. It was definitely not something that regular people did on a regular basis.

But when I learned about meditation and tried it out for myself (using guided meditation) it felt very natural and nurturing. It was an only time when I could stop doing and start being.

I could reflect, decompress, and seek refuge from the chaos of the outside world.

 

Perfectionism

 

The thing is, it was great at first.

But my perfectionistic tendencies were coming out while I was meditating. Even in meditation, I would measure myself against the “standard” or rule of what it is like to be in a perfect mindful, “meditative” state.

If I didn’t feel calm or focused, I would feel bad about how I wasn’t doing well in meditation.

I noticed so many thoughts were popping up in my mind, bothering me and I couldn’t let them go! I thought it meant that I wasn’t doing it right.

I’m sure, monks don’t have thoughts while meditating, right? And I thought If I wasn’t doing it like a monk, then I would “fail.”

I couldn’t get my life straightened out, and now I couldn’t even get meditation..urgh.

These thoughts made it harder and harder to meditate. Why is meditating so hard? – I thought, while it was *me* who was making it hard.

 

More allowing

 

No. The thing is I came to realize meditation is not about achieving a certain state.

It is a practice and a ritual.

It’s not like you reach this level and you’re done. You don’t go from A to B and then you’re finished.

Like brushing teeth, you do it because you want to be healthy and you want the rest of the day to be more fresh and clean.

 

With meditation, you’re not trying to affect how you feel during meditation.

You’re trying to pave the road for the rest of the day when you’re *not* meditating. What I mean by paving the road, is that meditation can make the rest of your day more mindful and peaceful.

You’re more centered and more focused.

So It doesn’t matter particularly how you felt during meditation.

But the fact that you sat down and took time to simply notice your thoughts and sensations is what matters.

Think about it: how many times do you actually consciously face your thoughts? Most times, thoughts just come and you become controlled by them or you just run away from them.

Meditation (mindfulness type) helps you be honestly close to yourself and allow you to be you (finally…after trying to make yourself become someone else!).

 

Realizing this, meditation became so much more easier and natural for me. There is no “achieving” or reaching a certain state.

It is just a simple practice where I notice and repeatedly come back to my breath. It’s not really that complicated.

Sometimes I notice my mind if crazier than other times, but that is just how it is. I note it and move on.

At some point, you learn that thoughts are really fickle, temporary, and random. Seriously.

They have nothing to do with who you are. They come and go, like clouds.

Welcome them when they come and let them go when they leave.

 

Y Jung

 

Trying to find out what the heck is meditation

Featured image by Rocio Montoya

Save