Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday's Reflection: Coloring Mandalas

I broke my ankle four weeks ago. Since the surgery and coming home from the hospital, I have read nine books, started and rejected several others, paged through a pile of magazines, caught up on my email, including listening to a number of TED Talks and reading various blogs. I have watched movies on my laptop, since our television is in the lower level of the house, and also enjoyed once again all three seasons of the BBC series, Rosemary and Thyme. I have written thank you notes, paid bills, played solitaire on my i-phone, and napped in the afternoons--not every day, but often. I have written two posts for this blog each week, and I have resurrected a writing project started a year ago, but set aside when the pace of life picked up, beginning with my father's surgery late last spring. 

I have left the house only twice: once for a doctor's appointment and then Sunday for Easter brunch, thanks to the assistance from my husband, daughter and son-in-love, for it takes a village to support GrandNan. I was able to sit outside on our small front stoop one rare sunny, warm afternoon, and when a neighbor discovered I had a broken ankle, he said, "Well, at least you are not a horse or you would be glue." I will add, "I am not glue" to my gratitude list.

I have meditated and prayed and simply sat quietly watching the activity on our street. I have enjoyed company, as well as my solitude. 

Childhood Pleasures
However, anticipating my husband's departure for Madison Sunday afternoon, I thought about what I could add to my repertoire of ways to keep myself entertained and occupied. One can only read and write so much. I thought about activities I loved as a child, such as biking, ice skating, baking cookies, for example. None of those are possible right now. What about coloring? I loved to color and always had a big stack of coloring books. A favorite present was a new big box of crayons. 

One of the benefits of having grandchildren is coloring with them. The subject of the coloring books may not be too inspirational--Elmo or Star Wars or Disney movies--but opportunity for easy conversation has been sweet. What's your favorite color? If you lived in another house, what color would you paint the front door? How many things can you name that are red? Tell me about your best friend and what the two of you like to do together? 

At ages 6 and 11 now neither of them are coloring as much as they used to, but that doesn't mean I can't color, and it just so happens that I have a big set of markers and a stupendous set of every color in the rainbow colored pencils. I kept hoping I would discover hidden drawing and sketching talents in myself, for after all our talented son was a drawing major at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, but no such luck. I do have on hand, however, two different mandala design coloring books, and actually, that's enough for me. 

A New Kind of Meditation
Bruce gathered my materials for me, and the last couple days I have sat at the dining room table and colored mandalas. As I did so, I could feel myself quiet and become still, except for the hand moving slowly and gently across the page. A mandala is a sacred circle, a symbol of wholeness found in all cultures throughout time. In the past I have drawn my own mandalas tracing a plate to create the circle and then have drawn my own designs rather than following someone else's lines. I suspect I will do that again someday. Maybe tomorrow. But right now I am content to sway with the rhythm of back and forth, light or maybe a bit heavier. 

A kind of prayer. A time of meditation. A pathway in this healing process.

One of the other things I enjoyed doing in my childhood years is putting together jigsaw puzzles, so perhaps that's what I'll do next.

An Invitation
What enjoyable childhood activities have you not done for a long time? What are you waiting for? I would love to know.  


  1. I love that you are doing this, Nancy. I, too, loved coloring as a little girl, but my grandsons are not "into' it at all, which has kind of saddened me. My daughters still remember me coloring with them and they've tried to encourage their sons to "color with the best colorer" to no avail. Perhaps this is why I love 'stamping' and making cards so much. It is an adult appropriate way to 'color' and create. Go for it!! You continue to be such an inspiration! Cathy

  2. Maybe we can color together some day!

  3. What a delightful message....


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