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by Juliana Serrano

In 2001 while I was as a student at Loyola Marymount University, I had the pleasure of meeting a Buddhist monk that was visiting from Tibet. He and I spoke for over two hours one afternoon as other monks were creating a sand Mandala in the atrium of one of the buildings. We talked about faith and religion – our similarities and our differences. And at the end of our conversation he asked me “do you meditate?”

I responded “no” and quickly and defensively explained that my work and school schedule was very busy and how active I was with my volunteer work, and, and, and. He ended our conversation abruptly by stating he would meet me again, some time, some place. I felt ashamed and embarrassed, and in the years that followed I tried different styles of meditation, several times. And, I never really connected to the practice. So, I just claimed it – I don’t meditate.

ColoringMed3That is until this year when one of my best friends gave me a coloring book and colored pencils for my birthday. I heard “adult” coloring books were the new thing. I was a bit apprehensive. Could I really enjoy coloring (within lines) once again? After my first attempt – the answer was yes!

ColoringMed2

 

 

 

 

As I color, I am finding myself to incredibly focused. I am thinking strategically about the colors I choose for each section, and even which part of the design I want to color next. I find that the degree to which I put pressure on the paper as I color varies with my mood. When I am more relaxed, my coloring is softer in color and in strokes. When I am more tense, my colors are bolder and more rich.

ColoringMed1I am completely concentrated on making the pattern look as beautiful as possible, and completely oblivious to what may be on TV, the radio, or if my phone just alerted me of a new text message or email. I can work on a piece for more than one hour and not even be close to done, so I contemplate what I will finish and leave for tomorrow. I muse about how I actually don’t want to stop. It is wonderful. I am finding so much joy in coloring and how this coloring is actually a meditation each day – a sacred time to think, reflect and be in peace – in a way I have never experienced before.

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