Mandala for coloring

Mandala for coloring

I’ve been trying to create line drawings of my mandalas in a format that can be printed. I think I’ve finally figured out a method thanks to a few different suggestions online as well as some trial and error on my part.

I know there is a lot of discussion surrounding the use of mandalas for coloring and the idea of coloring at all as a means of personal therapy. I love mandalas. I make my own designs. I use them with clients in art therapy. Coloring does not take the place of therapy but it is incredibly relaxing.

So, here is a mandala for you to print and color – you can also add to it with more lines and shapes. You can resize the image before printing and the lines will be just as clear as they are here. Have fun.

 

Sun Mandala

 

2017

Happy New Year

so far, so good.

resolutions? the same thing I resolve to do every day – try. Try to be consistent; try to go easy on myself when I’m not consistent; try to be a better person; try to make the world a better place (yes, I believe everyone can); try to raise amazing kids (they are definitely amazing); try to be healthy (eating, exercise, meditation); try to be like Yoda, “there is no try, only do”…

 

img_2666

I’m still trying to find my word for 2017. Maybe it’s “try”. That doesn’t sound very powerful or impactful. But maybe it is. Maybe it is the most powerful because it can be so difficult to get up each day and try again. It can seem futile to keep trying when things are difficult, but that’s when it’s most important to do so – to keep trying. Each day – each minute, second – is a new opportunity to try to be your best. Hmm, I think I’m approaching this from a very mindful mindset – maybe all the ’trying’ to meditate and ’trying’ to be mindful has actually been way more effective than I realized.

 

I will try. I will continue to try each day – each moment – to be the best version of myself. To be authentically and unapologetically myself.

Save

Mindfulness in Action

Mindfulness

The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something

 

I’ve been intentionally practicing mindfulness a lot in the past few months because I know how important it is to regulate my own stress levels. The benefits of mindfulness have been researched and include improved overall well-being, reduced pain, and enhanced empathy.

Mindfulness is something I bring to my art therapy practice with the intention of teaching my clients skills they can use on a daily basis. For example – The 5 Senses Mindfulness Exercise to help you focus on the present moment; and Daily Visual Journal techniques for when you have some time at your desk or in the morning before you start your day.

But do these things really work? I like to know something works – to measure it – but it can be difficult to measure whether or not your mindfulness practice is helping. Keeping a daily journal and making a note of how you feel during a stressful moment and what you did to relax can be a helpful way to measure the effects of your mindfulness, but remember it takes time and repetition to create lasting changes.

In The Science of Mindfulness article Dr. Daniel Seigal states:

“Studies show that the ways we intentionally shape our internal focus of attention in mindfulness practice induces a state of brain activation during the practice. With repetition, an intentionally created state can become an enduring trait of the individual as reflected in long-term changes in brain function and structure. This is a fundamental property of neuroplasticity—how the brain changes in response to experience. Here, the experience is the focus of attention in a particular manner.”

I recently gave a presentation on art therapy and mindfulness to a small group. The presentation was being recorded and I was a little nervous. I practiced deep breathing beforehand and the 5 Senses Mindfulness exercise to focus my attention on the present moment. Once I began speaking and showing a few slides I realized I was more relaxed than I’ve been in the past when giving a presentation.

I even remained relaxed and improvised when my short video demonstrations that I thought were embedded in the slide show presentation were not. I had spent a good amount of time creating the videos and choosing soothing music to play along with it and was proud of this part of the presentation. But my disappointment in not being able to share those videos was extremely brief – I just moved right along and did a live demonstration instead.

Then, close to the end of my slides a few maintenance guys came to remove the TV so they could install it in the new office that this group was moving to across the street. Literally, my slide was up on the screen and I was talking to the group and then there was the sound of a drill behind my head while three guys disassembled the large flat screen and took it off the wall. They even asked me to have everyone move while they walked the TV out of the room.

None of this bothered me! We all just went with the flow and joked about how this is out of our control so why worry about it – nothing we can do. It was actually a great way to model mindfulness in action. I kept my presentation going until the end without any problem. This was proof to me that practicing mindfulness on a regular basis is incredibly helpful – a year ago I was have been so flustered and felt uncomfortable about the situation. I wouldn’t have planned for the glitches in my presentation, but I’m glad they happened so I could experience first hand how much I have benefited from my mindfulness practice.

 

Mindful Mandala drawing / painting

Mandala on canvas with watercolor

This is an experiment and see how the watercolor paint would work on canvas and since this canvas already had a mark of blue paint on it I decided to record myself creating a mandala.

I used a Sharpie marker so that the paint wouldn’t smear the lines. Each section of the mandala added has a specific meaning to me – it’s part of my mindfulness practice using mandalas 🙂

This took an hour to complete, so this video is obviously a time-lapse of the entire thing… I really enjoy watching myself creating art in a video – it’s such a different perspective and I notice things I didn’t realize I was doing. I can see how I move my hands when creating a line, or how I move the marker back and forth while thinking about what line to add next.