The Most Blissful Aspects of Coloring that Help Ease Depression

Finding time to actively be in the moment is important for good mental health. Coloring can help put you there. By setting up a routine to create a focused experience, we allow our mind to shift gears out of out of the negative thought patterns in which we often get stuck. When we are deliberately focused, we experience a different state of mind. In this mindset, we are less likely to ruminate over things that happened in the past, or worry about the future.  Life is richer and more rewarding  when we choose to live in the moment. Coloring is a simple, low cost way to engage for a period in practiced mindfulness and possibly experience a brief second of bliss.

  • Coloring helps fight stress and elevates mood.  If you are feeling run down and spread too thin, think about spending a few minutes engaging in an activity that forces you into a state of mindfulness, a non-judgmental state of focus in the moment. After a few minutes coloring, you will find yourself engrossed, in the flow to the finish.
  • Coloring can help us to experience clarity of the mind.  If you are trying to remember something, like where you put your phone (memory issues are often a side effect of depression), the answer will come to you later when you’re doing something else entirely. Something mindful, like coloring.
  • The experience of coloring can take you back to the (sometimes not so) gentler days of childhood. It provides a bit of escapism from an overactive brain. When you’re coloring, you’re not really thinking about anything else. In that moment, you almost go back to being a kid again.

Below is a linked coloring page for your enjoyment and a book review from 6 years ago.  If you haven’t colored in awhile, print this  Birth of Venus coloring page from http://www.thecolor.com and run get yourself a medium of choice- crayons, markers, colored pencils- whichever you prefer.  I loved, and still love coloring.  The smell of  fresh crayons, the fine tips of colored pencils, or that saturated tip of a fresh, fine-point marker, right out of the box, these put me on the path to relaxation.  I love the first mark on a page, that bright shot of color, and a quite moment of focused flow.

After coloring, maybe you feel really relaxed. Maybe you want to read a good book.  Maybe that Birth of Venus page you just printed and colored got you thinking about Botticelli and Florentine Renaissance art. Art History fiction is cool in that it sets a scene of possibility in an actual time and place.  The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato is The Da Vinci Code meets The Birth of Venus.  An Italian girl escapes with her life after she accidentally discovers a secret while modeling for Botticelli. I even wrote a review on Shelfari about this book, that is how much I enjoyed it. Then GoodReads took over and Shelfari is no more, but that is a complaint for another time.

On May 28th, 2010, after finishing this book, I wrote: “I love this book- It had action; adventure; mystery; romance- I was skeptical for the first 50 pages, or so. But if you love Tracy Chevalier, or Fortune’s Daughter by Isabelle Allende AND also love a good Dan Brown book on the beach, (i.e. you love to read and aren’t a literary snob) then you, too, will probably love this book. It really draws you in with good pacing. The end is great, as well, and when I put the book down, my first inclination was to write Marina Fiorato and tell her that I think she is fantastic!”

Finding the coloring page for The Birth of Venus brought up a memory of that book and how much I enjoyed it. So color away and take some time to think about art and where it comes from.  Like coloring, a good book can really transform your mood.

The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato– check it out here!

*Next time you are subjected to a family dinner at Olive Garden or Applebees, ask for a box of crayons and pull out some home-printed Coloring Pages and go to town.

*A quick gift- a few coloring pages printed on quality paper, wrapped in a bow with a few fancy felt tipped markers.

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3 Most Popular Viewpoints Reckoning Life After Death

Nearly all people who are religious believe in afterlife, reincarnation, heaven and hell, or the soul.  These are the Top 3 most popular viewpoints regarding what is happening with my dad right now, who has been dead for 28 days exactly.

  1. Christianity: So my dad, along with 2.4 billion other people, was a Christian. Obviously what he would have wanted is Heaven. According to his beliefs, he is hanging out golfing in the best style, beyond any perfect golf experience imaginable, with other Righteous Christians who loved golf.  On this course, every game is a new perfect game as one waits for the Resurrection of the Dead and Life Everlasting and the return to the New Earth, a Pangaea of golf course perfection.
  2. Definitely not a Muslim, and in fact, fearful of Muslim terrorists infiltrating our borders- yes, I am embarrassed by this fact and I blame it on his being a middle-aged, over-medicated veteran and a viewer of FOX-yet if 1.7 billion people who practice Islam are correct, then my dad is very restless in his grave right now, awaiting a golf tourney in Jahannam, where it is hotter than Death Valley at Noon on Tuesday. In August. No worries. My dad loved the heat. What he didn’t like was double-bogeying every hole. Here he would be condemned to suffer a bad game of golf for all eternity. Which is why I know my dad isn’t there because he lived a good life and deserves a good next whatever…
  3. One billion people believe the Lord Krishna who said that just as a man discards his old clothes and wears new ones; similarly the soul discards the old body and takes on a new one.  This would explain the progression of animals that tried to get into my parents house in the 4 days following his violent, sudden death. I have no doubt that my dad will have more good karma than bad karma in his next lives to come.

I fall into a combination of religious ideas. Intellectually, I know nothing about these ideas and I don’t practice religion, but I will lay out for you the sum of my  honest beliefs.  Death is not the opposite of life. Life IS everlasting. We are all trying to find our way home, we humans just have different ideas of what that home looks like. And maybe the end of everyone’s spiritual journey looks like they want it to, but a million times better and after all life lessons are learned.  Taking that in to consideration, any current view held on the afterlife is very limited. Ask me again if you see me hanging out in  Sheol or Hades awaiting my own day of reckoning.

The soul belongs to the spiritual realm which originates with God. A soul is born again and again, until it can merge back with God. According to the Sikh scriptures, and the 30 million people who believe them, the human being is the closet form to God and the best opportunity for a soul to merge back with God. “Nothing dies, nothing is born, everything is ever-present, it just shifted form”.  The soul is never born and never dies because it is a part of God and hence not subject to life and death. We are just changing from one form into another, climbing the higher planes of existence until we reach that perfect state and become whole once again.

My dad has moved on; shifted forms; entered a new realm to continue to work through the karma that has troubled him. He will get home.  Maybe we will even arrive together.

Zero Six Sixteen of Twenty Sixteen

My dad died suddenly 1 month ago this week.  That is what is obit read: Suddenly.  He was 61. In fair health. His car swerved off the road and hit a tree. Probably due to a seizure.  About 200 yards from the street that my parents live on. A short walk. According to the M.E., it was over instantaneously. Lights out, dad.  Game over.  I am grateful for the last 5 years most of all, and the time we had together.  Mostly driving in the car, singing and laughing.  A lot of our good times happened in a car.  I wish I could hear him laugh just once more; that is my special grief these last few days.

Grief is a wild fire; some days it consumes everything in its path, and some days it’s contained.  Firefighters of my mind circling the grief zone: a burned out shell of a crater in my being that was once filled by the lively spirit of my dad. These mental heroes hose down the borderlands, watching for the hot spots to flare up- coals simmering beneath a surface wet with tears.

If you are grieving, or know someone who is, give yourself or that person the space you need to express your sadness and loss. Journaling and meditations are helpful. Overeating and over-drinking, probably not so helpful.  Speaking from experience, I am not only sad, but also feel like shit, physically.

Hang in there. We will get through it.  I believe my Sweet Bird- poor two and a half year-old, suffering from a grieving mother- when she says, ‘You’ll be ok, mommy.’ Then she puts her arm around me and kisses my head. I allow her comfort to wash over me and quench another hot spot.  We lay there together and watch a movie in bed, snuggled under a blanket in the cool air-conditioning and I know she is right and my dad would say the same thing. I will be OK. We will all be OK.