Coloring book - breathe quote
Appreciation,  Gratitude,  Great information,  Health and wellness,  Inspiration,  That's Life,  THOUGHTS

#Coloring Books and Life – One Day at a Time

breathe

I have a mantra. It’s been used by many, advised by many, including myself – it’s called ‘One Day at a Time’.

 

I’ve often preached this saying to others when they’re feeling overwhelmed, as words of wisdom to help lessen their load, but I was usually guilty of not following my own advice – until this past year.

 

It’s easy for me to pass on words of encouragement, because I’ve always been a builder-upper of others. But when it comes to myself, I know I sometimes have a difficult time taking my own advice. But this year, I learned the meaning behind that phrase.

 

I’m a bit OCD when it comes to my ‘to do’ list and getting everything accomplished I set out to do in my own self-imposed time restrictions. But when life threw me some frightening curve balls for the better part of the first half of this year, with my husband’s health issues, I had to take heed to my own words or I’d have been swallowed up by the abyss of pressure I put on myself.

 

Duty called. There was no book writing, I had no time, nor the mental capacity to focus on writing. If I wasn’t running to doctors and hospitals on a daily basis, I was nursemaid to my husband’s needs, and couldn’t concentrate on anything while I worried every minute if he needed meds, food, his legs rubbed, some words of encouragement, or if he was too silent left unattended in another room for more than twenty minutes, or that he may have passed out yet again.

 

My blogs were written in midnight hours, and blog reading became my escape from the madness, reminding me that I was still part of a community, other than living in the realms of life and death. I learned quickly that I couldn’t make plans for tomorrow, next week, or even think about next year. My life was on hold, and I only had time to do what needed to be done for my husband at any given moment.

 

My ‘to do’ lists became everything medical – appointments to make, follow up with, chase doctors, and go back and forth from long hospital days and nights. This was when I learned to Let Go. I could no longer worry about my book waiting for me to come back to and all of my self-imposed deadlines to do the things I normally did on a daily basis. I learned to surrender to the moments and let go of letting to dos overwhelm me, and stop dwelling on the things piling up I’d have to catch up on. I learned to accept each day as it came, in gratitude that my husband was alive and that he was my only priority in those moments.

 

What spurred me to write this post is a coloring book I purchased that caught my eye in a grocery store one day. The pages had beautiful art to color in, but within each picture is an inspirational quote.

Coloring book - breathe quote

 

Now I’m going to be honest, I failed art in high school. Heck, I could never even stay within the lines in a coloring book, which coincides with my atrocious handwriting. But I was always a writer. I had a lot of creativity in my head – it’s just that my head could never translate to my hand, my creative ideas. This is similar to the way I design my book covers – in my head. Sure I have an artist who makes my covers for this very reason, my lack of art skills. But I come up with what I’d like to see for my covers, and describe them to my artist, who then creates my visions.

Coloring Book quote Live simply

 

But getting back to the coloring book, when I pull it out, usually late at night, after the computer is shut down, and I’m looking for an hour to relax, I open it to a new page and I’m immediately overwhelmed by the amount of detail there is to fill in. At first glance, I think to myself, Omg, this page will take forever with all those tiny details.

Coloring book quote - I Am

 

But I developed a strategy. I start in one corner with one color, then decide where in the picture I wish to use the same color. I then move on to a new color and do the same, using color as my guide to the next place to work on. Within 2 hours I realized I’ve completed a page, and I stand back and say, “It’s just like life, one day at a time, one color at a time, and eventually I get there.”

 

*Coloring book photos from Posh Coloring book by Deborah Muller

©D.G. Kaye July2016

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

47 Comments

  • Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Great article as always Debby and shows again your strength and resilience. I started doing tapistries 25 years ago when I gave up smoking and needed something to do with my hands. That turned into a pastime that has produced a number of wall hangings and something to retreat into when times were stressful.. I get it. xoxox

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for chiming in Sal. No doubt you’re a woman who has to keep busy, just like me. Years ago, I got addicted to rug hooking. I also made plenty of those which have all seemed to disappear through my many moves. Although, I still have one in a halfway finished stage I abandoned about 12 years ago, lol. Thanks for the reminder. xoxo <3

        • dgkaye

          Lol Sal. Why must we be so similar? I’m afraid binoculars wouldn’t be of any help to my eyesight either. Now I hope there is one thing we won’t be similar in, and that is you being a candidate for Lazik. My tried a few years ago, but due to the astigmatism coupled with the lazer holes I had drilled into my eyes 10 years ago to relieve my retinas of pressure buildup and stop me from going completely blind, I am not a candidate. Thank goodness they’ve at least found a way to grind down those coke bottled lenses I wear. 🙂 xoxo

  • Jane Sturgeon

    Debby, lovely, lovely Debby, who keeps it all so real. Yes, you reach out to others all the time and that is what your book is all about. Wrapping you and your husband in love and sending healing thoughts from ‘across the Pond’…. <3 I felt a little lost today, weary and needing to pick up the threads and find new ways to breath life into what I am doing/hoping to dream into being…and your blog post just hit the spot…thank you. <3

  • marianbeaman

    The coloring idea is the perfect image for your one-day-at-a-time theme. I completely understand this line: blog reading (and writing, for me) became my escape from the madness. Though I can’t concentrate on my memoir writing right now, I can write in short spurts that blogging. requires. Besides, I like the online connection to like-minded folks.

    I admire your tenacity through your husband’s medical challenges. Some gratitude points for you here: Your husband got better and you relaxed with your personal to-do list. In retrospect, trials make us stronger, more mellow, if we let them. I can relate to all of this: I have an OCD streak too. Can you tell – ha!

    • dgkaye

      Lol Marian. No doubt as writers, I think we all have our little quirks. And yes, it’s easier to write a blog post than a book. And make no mistake, I am full of gratitude, and although my to-do list never seems to shrink, at least I’m back tackling it every day.
      But I had to laugh when you said trials make us stronger. It reminded me of a FB post I’d seen that said, “If I get any stronger, I’ll be able to life park benches.” 🙂

  • Marianne

    I bet that coloring book calms you enough to go to sleep better. Whenever I nightly write in my gratitude journal, I always do some drawing in it, also. I find when I’m drawing – making the lines and swirls – that I am completely focused on it, all other things locked out of my thoughts, and in no time I am ready to go to sleep. A meditation of sorts.

    Thank you for sharing this, Debby. Keep coloring and imagining good things for your life.

    Hugs,
    Marianne ♥

  • shehannemoore

    D.G as the dudes call you–so much I want to say to you here, ok? But instead I am just going to concentrate on a few things which probably don’t even top the list. Ok, well this one does, you are an amazing lady in every way/ For all you’ve been through and just gone through, I high five you. Thank you for coming by my blog during this time. I totally love you even more for it. I also totally get it re that colouring book by the way when it comes to do to lists…. I guest lastly –and I am not religious in any way–what that your one day at a time title reminded me of a singer and her song from Scotland I never even liked, called One day at a time. I guess while I never liked it, some of the words were kind of right about just that biz, One Day at a time. That is the way I take life xxx

    • dgkaye

      Hello my beautiful friend. First of all thanks for taking a moment to drop by and leave your lovely words. I’m truly touched! I’m not religious either. I’m guided by the angels and the universe and believe in God, and that’s good for me.
      Sometimes we don’t have to be religious to find something resonates with us, like that song.
      It’s nice to know we roll the same way, lol. And I so enjoy visiting your blog, I get such a kick out of your humour. Even though it’s the ‘dudes’ speaking, I know it’s your script, and your blog makes reading posts all the more enjoyable. You rock my friend!
      Oh, and PS, thanks for not bringing the dudes over to create havoc LOL xoxoxo <3

  • amreade

    What a wonderful metaphor- that just as you fill in the colors one at a time, you fill your days one at a time, too. So glad you’re back to writing your blog. “One day at a time” is a lesson that so many of us still have to learn, and I think sometimes it does take a jolt of reality to learn it. I’m still working on it…

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Amy. I think we’re always still learning. But like most things in life, you’re so right, it takes that jolt. 🙂

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    These adult coloring books are so therapeutic! I have one my BFF actually published. Now to get some sharp colored pencils. Thank you for sharing how leisure therapy helped you get through the tough times.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Terri. Indeed they’re therapeutic. Get yourself some pencils and choose a picture later in the evening to settle down after the day, and you may find it helps make you sleepy. 🙂

  • Ann Fields

    At a time when I’m feeling stressed (again) and overwhelmed (again), this is right on time. Thank you Debby for the reminder to “surrender to the moment and let go.” Comforting words and a beautiful coloring book.

  • Teagan Geneviene

    Debby… I should have known you were a color-er. Me too. I’ve gotten several “adult” coloring books this year. For decades some psychologists have recommended coloring to help with stress. Back when I used to paint, someone asked why I didn’t just draw or paint. But that (for me) was another stress. It had to be right, and it was never good enough. But If I’m only coloring in a coloring book, it doesn’t matter. Plus the adult books are so detailed that it requires a level of focus that lets us shut out the troubles.
    Lovely post, my friend. Mega hugs.

    • dgkaye

      Why of course I’m a colorer Teag. 🙂 I’m glad you find it mindless and relaxing too. No thought involved except just focus in the lines. 🙂 xo

  • Lorna's Voice

    I see these adult coloring books everywhere. There is even a type of free-form quilting where you doodle with free-motion quilting on beige or white fabric then color in your shapes with permanent fabric pigment pens. I never understood (until now) why these coloring adventures are so popular!

  • elainemansfield

    Color away! I love to work with paints and colors, although I don’t use coloring books. I’ve been painting my world in water color and acrylic for a long time. I find it most soothing and revealing to paint dream images. Some of the dream pieces I painted after Vic’s death feel like my grief treasures. More recently, I create collages (we call them soul cards) in my mythology class. Meaning seems to arise from the depths. I’m not a skilled artist. Collage with a stack of magazines, a scissors and a glue stick is easier and less pressure to make something look right. I’d probably like coloring books too, but haven’t tried them for a long time. Painting and drawing are especially great when we’re sitting in hospital waiting rooms praying for good news.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for sharing more of your talents here Elaine. I think any creative outlet is great for the soul. I was never much good at drawing and creating art, hopefully I’m better with words, lol. I admire your talent to paint create collages, although I don’t know how you have the time. For me, at the end of a hectic day, it’s just easier to focus on the lines already drawn for me, keeping my mind on nothing except deciding which colors to use and trying to stay in the lines. 🙂

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