Coloring in is on the rise in France
I was delighted to read a couple of articles this week about how French women have taken to colouring in like never before and have embraced it as an "anti-stress" activity
In her article Why felt tip pens are colouring French women happy Olivia Goldhill writes that colouring books are out selling cook books in France and how sales of a low selling colouring book were boosted after the words "stress buster" were added to the front cover.
In one facebook group there are over 1000 French women sharing their beautiful interpretations of colouring black and white pictures that we knew so well as children.
I have been creating Mandalas for women to colour in for many years and Olivia's article and another on the BBC World Service facebook page are a sign that the big secret is out!
Colouring in is a relaxing form of medARTation at a time when many women are yearning to reconnect with their creativity and return to simple pleasures in this highly complex world we are living in.
I began to create colouring sheets for women after I read Carl Jung's writings on how powerful the Mandala form is as a tool for self reflection and personal transformation.
I was working in a women's homeless and domestic violence shelters at the time and it was apparent that whilst many women were not reading books and were too uncomfortable to take on training and education at this stage, most had a yearning for new information that would enable them to break out of the limiting and often self defeating patterns in their life. So I created art work that carried the theme of that days discussion.
If we were discussing how to recognise patterns in relationships, the art work reflected the information that once was given in the form of written handouts and power point presentations.
When the conversation was about overcoming stress and anxiety or healing past issues, I created a colouring sheet that brought Nature into the concrete confines of the shelter walls and opened doors into a world many women had not considered before.A couple of years ago, after almost 20 years of creating colouring sheets for women, I was encouraged by a small group of women to create a colouring book that had both the Mandalas (Circular patterns) and life coaching information so that women outside of the shelters and prisons where I was working could also enjoy colouring Mandalas.
It seemed like a good idea and with their love and encouragement I created The Big Girls Little Colouring Book as a download & self published it as a hard copy.
If you haven't come across the benefits of colouring in before, here are just a few of the things I have discovered over many years and if you work in women's services in any
capacity, I can not recommend highly enough how powerful the process is for women to relax, unwind and connect with their intuition and creative imagination.
It is also a terrific tool for staff development and team bonding and a Vision Statement workshops.
*Colouring in is an open eyed meditation. As the hands rhythmically colour the page, the movement is akin to a mantra that focuses the mind, relaxes the breathing and centres the consciousness into the Present moment. This form of medARTation is especially good for women who find that their thoughts are racing and are easily distracted.
*The colouring in process is a wonderful tool for creating Women's Circles. When women come together to share food, conversation, creativity and laughter, there are enormous benefits for health and well being.
*Colouring in is not restricted to an indoor activity. My Mandalas have travelled in aeroplanes on long flights, gone to the beach for summer holidays and are at the centre of Big Girls Picnics where we head out to Nautre for a day of creativity, fresh air and delicious food and cups of tea.
I am truly delighted to see the growing interest and reclaiming of colouring in as a wonderfully simple tool for relaxation and fun. Although many women hold the belief "I am not Creative" they soon discover that once they put the coloured pencils back in ther hand, like we did so often when we were young, a certain kind of Magic awakens and we are transported into the world of imagination and possibilities we knew so well as children.
If you would like to download The Big Girls Little Colouring Book and experience the fun of colouring the 20 Mandalas with their accompanying Affirmation postsrs, click here The Big Girls Little Colouring Book Store and enjoy what many French women already know...Colouring in is magnifique!