Thank you to everyone who has participated in our on line survey that invites your input about connecting with Intuition and your experience of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book. If you would like to particiapte in the survey, here is the link: The Best Kept Secret's for Women's Personal Development and Well Being
Like many women, Gerri is very keen to establish her own home Coloring Circle which can also include a Coloring and Conversation Circle in nature and conversations on a particular theme.
I will address Gerri's questions via a Seven Point plan for creating a Coloring Circle.
'My primary use currently is for my own personal development and stress relief. I would like to invite friends to my home and begin a coloring circle - not sure how that would look.
Q. Do we just color and chat?
The first step in creating a Big Girls Coloring and Conversation Circle begins with setting your Intention.
There are no rules as to what your Intention may be - some people create their Coloring Circle solely for social reasons, to catch up with friends and family, to share food and conversation, creativity and Coloring.
Other Circles are created for a very specific reason that may range from Coloring whilst participating in spiritual or personal development related discussions or to gather in the creative space to support a friend who is going through a difficult time. We also gather to celebrate milestones, return from travels and the arrival of children and grandchildren!
You will find that once women are gathered in the Coloring space, conversation, stories and laughter will flow as easily as the creativity that is expressed in the Coloring pages.
Q. Do we color in silence, meditate and chat later? Food / drinks or not? I have no idea where / how to begin.
This is a fabulous question Gerri as it opens the doors to the infinite possibilities that emerge whenever women gather with a shared intention.
I have created a 7 step process for you to follow in order to discover the treasure chest of the Coloring Circle. As I mentioned before there are no 'rules' when it comes to creating a Big Girls Coloring and Conversation Circle but there are well travelled pathways that are easy to follow and will lead you and your guests into the magic of the mandala and the Coloring process.
1. Set your Intention.
Do you want to create a Coloring Circle for social reasons? Are you keen to have deeper conversations with your friends or are you happy to just color and socialise? Your intention will determine how you set up your Circle and who you invite.
Along with setting your Intention you will also need to make a decision about refreshments and food. In some of our Coloring Circles each member brings something to share for lunch or morning /afternoon tea or supper, depending on the time of the Circle.
At other times a hosting member will supply the food, especially if it is a short circle of two hours or so.
If you are initiating the Circle and plan on it growing over time, you may like to provide the initial lunch or afternoon tea and discuss with your invited members how they would like the Circle to develop.
2. Create your invitation list.
You may like to begin with a small group of 2 or 3 friends who either share your interest in Coloring or will be open to experiencing Coloring together in the Circle. This is a terrific way to bring new and old friends together, to connect with family members or simply invite your old and trusted friends into the creative space.
3. Purchase your equipment.
You may decide that you would like to supply guests with a copy of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book if your Circle is for a special occasion such as a friends birthday. If you decide to supply the Coloring tools, pencils, pens, crayons etc you will need to purchase them beforehand. Alternately your friends may have their own Coloring supplies that will be shared on the table.
You can direct people to Amazon for purchasing their copy of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book here: The Big Girls Little Coloring Book on Amazon:
4. MedARTate on your theme.
Creating a space where your friends and family will gather to Color together is a wonderful, inspiring project and it is important for you to have a very clear idea of what your theme will be.
If you are meeting purely for social purposes you will find the conversation rises and falls with a kind of magic that enriches the Coloring experience. If you decide to choose a specific theme, for example "The woman who inspires me most" there will be some beautiful stories emerge that are in alignment with your intention!
You may also like to choose a theme from The Big Girls little Coloring Book beginning with the first Mandala “My Thoughts Pollinate the Ether” Ask your Circle members “what does that statement mean to you?” and the conversation will amble down some very interesting paths indeed!
MedARTating on your theme can include using colored pencils and a blank page to draw in how you would like your Circle to develop or you may like to color the SiStars mandala in The Big Girls Little Coloring Book as you identify your Intention and set your theme.
5. Create your space.
When I host a Coloring and Conversation Circle I enjoy the setting up of the room as much as I enjoy the time we spend in the circle. If I am supplying the pencils for people to use on the day, I always sharpen them beforehand.
I dust and vacuum the room, place candles on the sideboard and prepare the food with a sense of love and gratitude. Meditation music and incence or lavendar oil also add to the ambience of the setting and create a peaceful, tranquil setting for when your friends arrive.
This image below is of the table in my “Big Room” all ready for the guests to arrive:
6. Welcome your guests and Launch your Circle.
It is a great idea to let your invited guests know from the out set what your intention for the gathering is. You may like to write about it in your email message or discuss it over the telephone when you invite them. When they arrive they will have a sense of anticipation and excitement over what the day /evening will hold and you may choose to Welcome them in a way that generates a sense that this new Coloring and Conversation Circle is a place where they can have fun, share stories, laugh and create together!
When I welcome my guests to a Coloring Circle, I pay my respects to the traditional Aboriginal people of the land we are meeting on as a way to acknowledge we are gathering on sacred land.
7. Share your story.
Now that your Coloring and Conversation circle has begun you have joined a growing, global movement of women who are experiencing the joy and the magic of meeting in the Coloring Circle and sharing in the spirit of fun, sisterhood and creativity!
I would love for you to share your experience and stories on The Women’s Coloring and Conversation facebook page facebook page and in doing so you will inspire other women who are interested in creating a home Coloring Circle by participating in a community of like minded women from all over the world!
Have you noticed how many articles and news segments, facebook posts and blogs have appeared in the last few months about the phenomenal rise in coloring books for adults? I have and I'm thrilled that the best kept secret in women's personal development is now reaching audiences far and wide!
Many women experience coloring as a meditation that generates well being and a connection to the spiritual self beyond the every day chatter of the every day life.
I have been creating Mandalas and coloring sheets for women for over 20 years and have seen the tremendously positive impact of coloring first hand!
In shelters and prisons I meet many women who give feedback that coloring is one of the best ways to relax because they experience a reconnection to their creativity. The reconnection often opens up old doors on talents and interests that have long been forgotten. As a staff training and development tool colouring pages offer an experience of mindfulness and creativity in the areas of staff training and development and I have been creating and developing them in these settings for many years.
There is debate amongst art therapists over the value of coloring books as "therapy" but what the women who have been making the connection to coloring have told me over many years is that they find it therapeutic, restful and often a catalyst for exploring their creativity and the role that their hands and imagination can play in moving forward from past difficulties.
As Carl Jung said:
Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.
In celebration of the launch of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book I thought I would share a few of the things that I have learnt about the why part of the Coloring Revolution and some of the reasons we are seeing such a meteoric rise in coloring books for adults.
1.Coloring is therapeutic. In the words of one of the women in our prison group "I've met a lot of psychiatrists and therapists and
counsellors who want me to talk about the things that happened in the past but for me, sitting with the coloring book is one of the most peaceful places I go to".
Coloring a pattern or template is similar to walking a labyrinth. The lines that are followed create a meditative state and within the conformity of those lines, like the labyrinth, the mind and body enter into a soothing meditation that is not confined to or bound by the pattern that is being followed.
2. As children we were very connected to our coloring pencils and often received a coloring book as a gift. In kindergarten we were coloring all the time and then, sometime around junior primary, our colored pencils began to take a back seat to learning processes that were not so much concerned with creativity as academic performance. Many women never found their colored pencils again...until now!
Women are now reclaiming their colored pencils and returning to the fun, relaxing enjoyment of coloring.
3. Many women are tired and exhausted from participating in you can have it all and are now holding down full time jobs as well as running a family full time, pursuing studies and in amongst it "all" are tired, restless and feeling disconnected from their creativity.
Coloring creates a peaceful, personal space that is a form of open eyed meditation. Breathing slows down and the rhythmic movement of the pencils is akin to a mantra that slows the mind and stops its restless chatter.
4. Women experience a great sense of connection and community when they come together to color in circles. This is especially relevant for women who say they are tired of socialising in public spaces and are looking for a return to the Village and the sense of community and belonging that is at the heart of conversation about when the world was a much more simple place.
Gathering in small circles creates a trusting, innovative space where young women and older women can gather. Where we can meet up with friends, make new ones and share food, stories, creativity and laughter together.
The Big Girls Little Coloring Book has 21 Mandalas, each accompanied by an Affirmation poster with a thought provoking message.
It has been a pleasure and a great honour to create a coloring book for women that covers topics such as the power of the mind, the nature of patterns in our life and how to tap into that deep well of creativity that we knew so freely and easily as children and, for many women, are re-discovering again through the pages of coloring books for grown ups!