Coloring books are stressful.
You know the ones—the coloring books that are made-for-grown-up-people, the ones with page after page of line drawings with intricate patterns and hand-drawn details and lots of little tiny bits for meditative coloring. Those ones.
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I picked up a couple of wintery ones to try in December, thinking that anti-stress holiday coloring sounded BRILLIANT. I was going to be blissed-out all season long. This was anti-stress-planning genius!
Things did not turn out quite that way.
First of all, pine needles do not look very pine needle-y all colored lime green, even if that is the only green you can find.
Then some of the little patterns are so small, there’s no such thing as “coloring inside the lines.” How would you even do that? What do you color with, a toothpick? And there are so many teensy shapes that you NEVER FINISH COLORING.
I probably just have the wrong colored pencils.
(Yes, I am conveniently overlooking the time I went to my friend Bonnie’s house to listen to a podcast together, and picked up one of the spare coloring books she’d set out. I wound up hunched over my paper, desperately trying to color all the curlicues green before the podcast ended. I have no idea what the podcast was about, I forgot to listen to any of it.)
For a recovering perfectionist…
For a recovering perfectionist, all those swirls and crisscrosses and leafy shapes are not an invitation to be meditative, they are an invitation to be obsessive.
Are my triangles colored evenly, not sketchily? Am I even supposed to color this edge piece? I didn’t put a bunch of clashing colors next to each other, did I? OH WAIT I DID. And now there’s too much red everywhere! What happened to my carefully planned color scheme?
At some point you have to admit the problem is not that you have the wrong markers or the wrong colored pencils or the wrong book. At some point you have to face the fact that this is not soothing or meditative or even particularly holiday-related.
But. Good news!
You don’t have to keep doing things that are supposed to be good if they actually aren’t.
You don’t have to keep doing the things that are supposed to help but don’t actually help.
You don’t have to keep doing the things that you’re supposed to enjoy but don’t.
(Though maybe I can find a crumb of gratitude for becoming aware of the thing that bothers me, and for the chance to practice letting go of it. Again. MAYBE.)
So I am going to practice letting go and also coloring less.
Instead, for the next few weeks, I am going to do something that actually makes me feel refreshed and refueled.
I am going to read all the books.
I’m going for books that will help me think about old things in new ways, that will give me insight into my own mess, and that will make me feel hopeful about all the things. (Or at least an occasional thing. Some things. I will take hope about some things.)
What I’m reading to refuel
Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior, because we need more love warriors in the world. I think love is meant to be our full-time job, guys.
How to Be Here
Rob Bell’s How to Be Here, because here is where I want to be. It’s the only place we can find each other—and the only place we can really find ourselves.
Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing, because I want to soak up ideas about creativity and craft. (And because I read Dani’s spiritual memoir, Devotion, a few months ago, and I am already ready to invite her voice back into my head.)
Year of Yes
Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes, because I have been practicing saying yes to the things that make me feel like I’m going to throw up and I could use some literary encouragement.
Commonwealth & Today Will Be Different
Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (because: Ann Patchett) and Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different (because: who didn’t love Where’d You Go, Bernadette?). And because sometimes fiction tells us the truth about real life.
What to read for YOUR fresh start
What’s that? You need something to read, too?
You want something to help you reflect on where you are right now, and how you want to show up in the year ahead? You need space to think about who you were made to be? You need ideas for how to let go of everything else that gets in the way?
Well hooray, because I’ve put together three e-book experiences for you!
They’re all for sale now in my Digital Downloads shop.
Do Your Thing
How to Make Time For All the Things You Were Made to Do
How do you do it all? It’s the question everyone wants answered.
But what if there’s a better question? What if you don’t have to do it all? What if the more important question is: What are you meant to do?
It is possible to live a simpler, less hectic life. It’s possible to live a life more full of meaning, and less full of busy. I’ll show you how.
What Readers Say
“It’s like having a long, deep conversation with a friend you don’t get to see nearly enough. When you finish, you feel more grounded and inspired to cut back on those things that are depleting your reserves and say yes to those things that fill you up and make you whole.”
CAITLIN FITZPATRICK CURLEY
“It feels like a guide to starting over to me. And as I read it line by line, I begin to see little glimpses of what could be next.”
KARA S. ANDERSON
Learn more about Do Your Thing.
Find Yourself, Free Yourself Extra!
5 Lessons in Slowing Down & Figuring Out Who You Really Are
If you’ve taken the free Find Yourself, Free Yourself mini-course (and if you haven’t, get on that! It’s free), you know it includes five lessons in slowing down, listening for the voice inside, and figuring out who you really are.
Because so many of you asked, I gathered the exercises from the Find Yourself, Free Yourself mini-course together in one place, added in answers to readers’ questions (How do I know what I need next? Does trusting yourself ever get easier? How do I give myself permission? Am I really brave enough? and more), and packaged it all up in whichever ebook format you prefer.
Learn more about Find Yourself, Free Yourself Extra.
Mindspace (Brand New!)
10 Practices to Help You Let Go of Mental Clutter & Make Room for More Joyful, Creative Living
It starts as soon as you wake up, some days: the mental chatter, the comparisons, the fears and frustrations, the never-ending to-do list to keep track of, the digital frustrations. There’s so much going on in your head, there’s hardly room to think.
But you don’t have to live like this. It’s time to quiet the noise in your mind so you can focus, be present, and get down to creative flourishing.
- Uncover the connection between clutter in your home and chatter in your head
- Learn to make peace with your inner critic and quiet the negative self-talk
- Open yourself up to creative possibility, by making space for ideas to grow
- Find freedom from digital distractions (without becoming a technological hermit)
You already spend time and energy organizing your home, right? I want you to have these ten simple ways to organize your inner life, too.
Learn more about Mindspace.
Or get all three!
You can grab the bundle here (and save a few dollars).
Psst… If you’re on my email list, you have a secret discount code to take an extra $5 off the whole collection in your inbox. If you don’t see it, check your “Promotions” tab or wherever else email sometimes goes to die. (In Gmail, go ahead and drag that message into your “Primary” tab instead.)
If you aren’t on my list yet but want in on that, add your email address below and I’ll send you a discount code, too!