Enjoy the Quiet Calm, Colouring with Others
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a lovely colouring party. It was a small gathering in the afternoon with just 4 participants including the hostess. We started with conversation and some delicious goodies before starting to colour. While each of us had brought our own colouring books and supplies (ranging from markers to coloured pencils to gel pens to crayons), the hostess had also laid out a wide variety of resources to share. One thing she brought was an ornate colouring page with a motif featuring her most meaningful and symbolic wild animal. Quite spontaneously, we all decided to colour that! It was so interesting to see how our pages all came out so differently at the end, (and we thought they would make a wonderful set of matching placemats if laminated.)
What struck me most about this party and with every other small group colouring experience I've taken part in, was the quiet energy which settled into the room. It as if the brain waves of each person slows down, and somehow synchronizes with the others to create a palpable calmness which permeates the whole space. What is striking about this experience is that it seems to happen quite automatically, with no formal "quieting" rituals, such as would be involved in group yoga, meditation, prayer or breathing practices. Each person just enjoys their own "colouring world" doing their own thing, and yet somehow miraculously co-creates a calm, relaxed group energy, no matter how boisterously the group started out!
While I've only participated in small groups (under 12 participants), I imagine a similar effect would occur in larger groups. Also, I've noticed a somewhat different (but no less remarkable) thing occurs when colouring is combined with other activities–for example, in group discussions. Coordinator Gisela Theurer, who used my colouring cards while facilitating a large group Learning Exchange, noted this: "When we came back from lunch, which is usually a low point in energy, most people kept colouring as they listened to our speaker. I noticed it helped them to focus on the discussion to keep "drawing." There was also a lot of back-and-forth banter later, as they compared their results." Group colouring not only changes the energy in a room, but serves as a natural 'conversation piece' to facilitate interaction and bring participants together.
If you haven't coloured with others, I'd highly encourage you to try it! A 'colouring party' can range from fancy–sporting formal invitations and refreshments, with the host providing all the materials–to low-key, 'pot-luck' type affairs, with all the guests asked to bring their own materials and a snack to share. I've also brought colouring cards or pages for others to use during informal meetings, (which even the men seemed to appreciate.) And I've particularly enjoyed very informal and spontaneous "2-person parties" by bringing out my colouring cards and a few markers when out for tea with a friend. Each experience is different, but also very similar, in the kind of calm energy it creates.
If you've had some enjoyable or remarkable experiences colouring with others, please feel free to share them by posting in the comments, below.