(a blog I wrote in mycity4kids…)
Hey guys, coming straight to the point on a crisp Monday Morning: this one’s about how I – an educated, fun-loving, social woman in her 40s, mum to a teen and trailing spouse to a typical globe-trotting MNC honcho – managed to tackle stress in my life. I won’t go so far as to say, “beat” stress yet, because it’s still “work-in-progress,” but it’s a very good idea to applaud your little victories too every once in a while. Pat your own world-weary back! Gives an added kick to the whole process.
Yeah, yeah, it’s not the same as the uber glamorous Deepika Padukone talking about depression on national television with a wee-little tear, that made the world sit up and listen. But then, sharing real life stories of ordinary beings struggling with the stresses and challenges of day-to-day living on a platform such as this, I feel, resonates with many women like me and can be therapeutic and cathartic at the same time. And I deliberately avoid the “D” word here to prevent further gloom.
A recent video posted by my dear friend on Facebook, pointed out how “complaining rewired our brain into a neural network of negativity.” This automatically highlights the invigorating power of optimism and positive approach. Personally, an approach where you realize stress is a given, in everyone’s life – without fail, so might as well stop fighting it head-on and instead finding ways to alleviate situations with that famous “Keep Calm” approach. The trick is to discover your very “individual” Keep Calm mantra!
You could “Keep Calm & Love Music”… or “Keep Calm & Chase Your Dream”…. or “Keep Calm & Play Golf”… Dance…. Zumba… Sing… Cook… Travel…. Grow a Garden… Get a Pet… the possibilities are endless. Mine, I realized, quite by chance, is “Colour and Keep Calm”… and then gradually it transforms into “Keep Calm & Colour On.”
Last year I came across an interesting article on adult colouring books and it got me thinking back to the time my teen was in primary. One of my favourite things was to get “Activity Books” for him – from the Rs 150 Vikas Colouring Book from Vyapar Kendra to the glossy Dorling Kindersley & Gold Star Summer Activity Fun Books from mega-mall Emporium in Bangkok. Every day we would spread our mats on the balcony floor and colour. I distinctly remember colouring this huge umbrella, within the lines in neat rainbow strokes with my Camel Oil Pastels 48 pack and feeling quite thrilled with myself. My cutie, meanwhile, got busy with his Noddy and Thomas The Tank Engine drawings. Soon, holidays and breaks became all about camping, football coaching, swimming events and holiday home-work! Colouring some how got lost in the din & rush of growing up.
So after years, 5 to be precise, it was wonderful to get re-acquainted with an old love! Amazing how we forget the little pleasures of life in the large scheme of things. Immediately I started researching on Adult Colouring Books online. Somehow, it did not give me the feel. And I procrastinated for a bit.
One day, however, while I was grocery shopping in Arjun Marg, I was at one of my favourite book stores looking at the Cosmos and Vogues of the world, when I casually enquired about Adult Colouring Books. The options that guys showed me looked very appealing and I instantly went for the soothing “Secret Garden” by a Japanese print house along with a box of 48 Maped Colour pencils (with 2 free pencils inside!).
I couldn’t wait to get started once I was home. As the amethyst blended into the azure and the lilac brushed shoulders with lavender while the golden cerise merged with russet in the background, I could feel my own little rainbow coming to life, splashing me with the vibrancy of a thousand colourful shades. It was one of those transcendental moments reminding me of surreal artist Paul Klee’s famous saying: “Colour is the place where our brain and the universe meet.” The place where we can paint ourselves a happy canvas.
Research proves that coluring for just 10 minutes before sleeping can soothe the worry lines away. And having now graduated to Mathematical Mandalas via Bollywood Mindfulness, I can totally vouch for that. Seeing me colour, my son too attempted a few Geometric Mandals and thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with just the greens: lemon, pale, sea-green, chartreuse, spring, lime and olive!
For me it has gone a step ahead as I re-discovered the pleasures of painting as well — Madhubani, Aboriginal dot-painting, Mexican folk art, Gondh and Warli. With each new creation, the medium changes as well – from pencil colours to acrylic to the latest (but a tad expensive) water-colours in pencil! It’s serendipity, if you ask me, as I inadvertently take a leaf out of renowned psychologist Carl Jung’s book propounding adult colouring as a means to self discovery, an access to the subconscious. An awakening. For just when the caterpillar thought the world was over… it became a BUTTERFLY!!!