After a coloring derail, I want to let go of my coloring expectations and just color along to a pretty endpoint. It isn’t about “trying to do better”, it’s about basic, simple, enjoyable coloring.

Time to drag out my favorite “no expectations” coloring tool. Pencils that feel comfy in the hand and come in a small set of colors. So small that it’s doesn’t make sense to try to pick color schemes. (These are Koh I Noor woodless colored pencils.)

Instead of progress pictures, just a capturing of moments. No need to explain what is happening on the page. It’s just coloring, something we all know how to do.

Coloring along. Catching myself when my mind wanders back to yesterday’s coloring regret and tries to turn it into a reason to be apprehensive about the possibility of maybe having another coloring regret some day. Thinking through the little pieces of that. Noticing the desire to pre-worry about the inevitable future coloring oops or coloring ugh. What is the real concern? That people will know I sometimes make coloring mistakes? That I’ll be less respected than other coloring book artists because of it? Or is it as simple as remembering the yuck feeling and disappointment, and wanting to structure my world so that I don’t have to feel disappointments. And there it is – the stomach flip flop feeling that says “Yes! That’s it! You’ve stumbled upon the truth here.” It’s such a simple and uncomplicated truth. I just don’t like the disappointed feeling and am not ready for another one right now.

Back to the coloring page. Not to try to pep talk myself out of apprehension about inevitable future disappointments. But to color gently and be accepting of my own weird mix of strengths and weakness that ebb and flow from day to day. Future fears suddenly feel so much smaller when I color with a sense of present moment gentleness.

Gradually settling into my coloring comfort zone – the place where I focus on the color and the shapes and the paper. What’s happening right in front of me, right now, is taking its place as the most important thing in my present moment. Past and future become less pushy and grabby. I notice that I’m no longer resenting yesterday’s derailment of my comfy coloring – and also notice that I did really resent the feeling of being jarred out of my coloring zone by the blobby black shape fiasco. A little laugh as I think about how it’s easier to get over it when you have an idea what it is that you are getting over. πŸ™‚

Much less tension. Much happier coloring.