A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the launch of Weleda’s Mindfulness Colouring Book at their headquarters in Ilkeston. Lizzie Hobbs the creator of this lovely book was a gentle, tranquil presence at the event.
Colour, texture, fabrics and yarns, eye makeup and nail varnish have all delighted me over the years. I have haunted wool shops, dived down dark alleys and passages in far flung corners of the world to gaze at intricate carpets, wall hangings and rolls of lush silk. I and my daughter have fingered and then been seduced into buying shawls of yak wool and Laotian silk. I have in our home, hangings constructed from pieces of Indian wedding gowns. I simply love the large rug I bought in Morocco which was hand woven by the Bedouin and holds stories of their lives within the patterns of the vibrant wools.
Colour is so important to me and yet colouring-in has never been part of my life. My memory of childhood is, granted, somewhat hazy but I truly do not recall colouring books being that important to me. I was a child who roamed the neighbourhood. I was scruffy and being outdoors was a huge adventure. I was given jam sandwiches and instructed to take my sister with me and to behave. I am not too sure that I fulfilled my mother’s expectations as I regularly left my young sister to fend for herself and then behaved according to the whims of my imagination and urged my friends to join in.
The closest I got to actually sitting down and creating something that involved colouring was being given ‘Painting By Numbers’ whenever we went on holiday. It was for rainy days and there are many of those in the UK. Foreign holidays were certainly not part of my upbringing back in the fifties and sixties. It was a family thing and really lovely for that. We all had our own and whenever it became too wet or we simply ran out of dry clothing we would get on with our creations.
I have been aware of the many books available to colour-in and my sister mentioned ages ago that she was loving her venture into this particular aspect of the creative world. So, my invite by the lovely Susie Fairgrieve sparked my interest. The morning was lovely and the event was held in the Garden Room and there was cake! The cakes were fabulous, but I digress.
The following are words from Weleda….
“Although it is very much in vogue today, the concept of mindfulness and really ‘being’ in the present moment is not a new concept. In the early 1920s it was valued by philosopher and scientist Rudolph Steiner, who was the inspiration behind the original green beauty brand WELEDA.”
Mindfulness is about being in this very moment. It is about taking time to pause and truly notice how you are. To breathe, feel and be present now. Therefore, sitting down and choosing colouring-in can become mindful. It is a space you have created purely for yourself and all that matters is that the colour flows onto the page as you breathe softly. You settle your hunched shoulders down and soften your jaw and you notice when you tighten your grip on the pencil and release that tightness from your clawed paw. All is well in this moment.
I returned home with my goodie bag and over the past couple of weeks I have sat and given myself over to this delightful and creative venture. I weave it in amongst my knitting, my yoga, my walking and my meditation. It really is a delicious thing and it does soothe my soul.
The artist, Lizzie Hobbs who was commissioned by Weleda, is a specialist in pattern-based art and draws her inspiration from designs found in Asia and the Middle East. Each one of the beautiful pages is inspired by the botanicals and key ingredients found in Weleda’s range of products. There are twelve pages which takes you through the year and the book is part of the many Christmas gifts available from Weleda.
Recently I have taken time out to consider what happens next. I have chosen to give up my massage practice after injuring my spine twice in the space of three weeks. I have also reclaimed my evenings and now only teach one daytime yoga class. These decisions were huge ones as I’ve been massaging for seventeen years and teaching ten years.
One of my favourite people in my yoga world, the lovely Jambo Truong, who goes around the world empowering people through his teaching of Forrest Yoga (and no, it is not about trees), messaged me the other week to say ‘you’re shifting into grandmother energy’ which delights me. I have learnt so much in my sixty one years and I find more and more that I can pass on bits and bobs of that knowledge to those interested. And so, as I inhabit this Grandmother Energy I can delight in colouring-in, having rather bypassed it as a child. I can choose to sit in the midst of the mess created by a scatter of crayons, pencils, patterns and vibrant colour. I can abide quietly and choose to, perhaps sip on a gin and tonic or a lovely glass of wine and let my hand and coloured pencil wander across the page, which is certainly something that would not have been an option for my six year old self!
Many thanks for stopping by and it’s been lovely to get back to my blog which I have neglected somewhat these past months. Big thanks to Susie Fairgrieve and Weleda who are always so welcoming and provided me with the much needed nudge to set some words down.