How Our Coloring Book Came to Be

I often need reminders to slow down. To take it all in. To really sit back and listen to what my intuition or soul is trying to tell me.

In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the flow of things and just take things as they come. But that’s not how an intentional life is built… That’s how you loose your way.

Juliette Meditating

I always hear success stories from people who’ve built daily meditation practices. But I’m not one that can easily sit in silence and meditate. I’ve tried. I find it painful. (My daughter above totally didn’t learn that pose from me!) The idea of it is oh so intriguing, but it just doesn’t feel right.

What works better for me is to do something that keeps my body busy yet allows my mind to wander.

Things like showering, washing dishes, and doodling are great for this. Have you ever done something similar and found yourself in a relaxed state? Or perhaps getting hit with clarity or inspiration? If so, then you’ve experienced the benefits of active meditation.

I don’t always find myself in a state of meditation when doing these things though. Sometimes I do it so quickly, I don’t get a chance to enjoy it. Or sometimes my mind just starts rambling off negative commentary or things on my to-do list, and I don’t get around to the relaxed wandering.

That’s where intention and daily practice comes in. And if I had a choice, I’d rather do something more creative than washing dishes or showering (duh!). Doodling is fun, but sometimes I just want something completely mindless – like coloring.

coloring

Coloring brings me back to a playful, child-like state.

It makes me smile. It’s something I can do alongside the kids without worrying about a big mess (bonus!). And it lends itself really well to active meditation. So well, in fact, that I often zone out when coloring.

It almost becomes like an escape from reality.

Which brings me back to my initial “problem”: I need reminding to listen to my intuition, to listen to what my soul is telling me so I can live a purpose-full life.

So I started to think: How can I use coloring for my daily meditative practice, yet not zone out completely? How can I remind myself to be present, to listen within, to use this time to gain clarity around my life?

…And that’s when I got this idea:

What if the coloring pages themselves reminded me? What if each page had a prompt to get me thinking?

Oh, so brilliant!

But where would I find said coloring book? Even though adult coloring books were on the rise, I had trouble finding exactly what I was looking for. And it would be no fun coloring in my own designs day after day.

So I set out on a mission to gather other talented artists to collaborate with me to make this dream coloring book come true.

Color for Clarity Sneak Peek

I am so thrilled and blessed to have found five amazing artists who are excited about the idea! We’ve been drawing our hearts out and listening within for the words that inspire us to create the most thought-provoking, beautiful coloring book we can muster. I cannot wait to see this baby in print and dig in with my crayons! And I just know you’re going to love it too!!



With Love,




Our book: Color for Clarity arrives at Amazon this November!! Be sure to sign up to receive sneak peeks and updates over on our webpage HERE.



Busy Mom VS Daily Grind – What I’ve Learned

New here and wondering what’s going on? Busy Mom VS Daily Grind is all about making the dedication to do something every day that will help you live a happier, more fulfilling life. I have committed to document my journey of developing the habits of living moment by moment, being grateful, and bringing self expression + creativity into every day. Read more about the challenge HERE.


Taking on this 30 day challenge was an amazing experience. It took all of my strength, energy, and dedication to keep at it, but I survived! And not only have I developed the habits of being present, relishing the happy moments, and bringing creativity into every day; but I have also learned a lot about myself, about creating habits, and about creativity in general.


Some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • When doing a blog challenge, you should have some money squirrelled away, or a backup source of income if you work from home. Blogging everyday took up all my energy, and I had none left to focus on my business and keep my income flowing!

  • Trying to develop more than one habit at a time doesn’t work very well. Developing a new habit takes a lot of work. It would be much easier (and I’m sure more successful) if you focus on one habit at a time.

  • You don’t need to be “in the moment” for every moment of your life. Your body and mind go on auto pilot sometimes for a reason. The trick is to be able to snap back into being present during those important moments, such as when you’re with people you love or experiencing something new. 
     
  • Happy moments are too easily forgotten. Our minds our wired to remember bad experiences more easily as a part of our survival instincts. So in order to lead a happier life, you need to compensate for this by focusing more intently on the good that is around you. 
     
  • Research doesn’t make you an expert; experiencing it for yourself does. I have been following the world of collage and art journaling for years now, and having all this knowledge on the subject and images in my head from other artists makes me feel like I’ve been doing it myself for years. So when I finally had the courage to start my own journal, I expected something amazing to come out of it. But it didn’t happen. Because in reality, I’m a complete novice; and what I really needed to do was start at the beginning. 
     
  • It’s never wise to focus on the outcome of creativity. It only creates stress. You need to focus on relaxing, having fun, and playing with your creativity.

  • Having a daily creative habit doesn’t mean you have to make something everyday. Small things like going for a walk, taking photos, or doodling on a napkin can be ways to exercise your creative side.

  • Waiting until the end of the day to do something creative (or work on any habit) is torturous. It makes you feel pressured, and then you don’t want to do it. Having a plan on how to tackle it during the day is much less stressful and more enjoyable.

  • Having someone to cheer you on while you’re trying to develop a new habit is very helpful, if not essential. Without the support of my friends, family, and all of you, I’m not sure I would have made it this far!
     

I’ve always believed that having a daily creative habit helps you live a happier, more fulfilling life. But now that I’m actually experiencing it for myself, I am amazed at how it has been transforming my life. I’m living with more clarity, experiencing inspiration all around me, discovering my true inner feelings easier, and living with less stress. 

I want to thank all of you who have supported me through this journey. I couldn’t have done it without you! :)

 

If you’ve missed part or all of my 30 day journey,
here are some highlights:

Day 1 – A rocky beginning, and learning about how our minds remember the negative experiences more easily than the good.
Day 3 – Scrappy Tags Tutorial!
Day 5 – Finding the key to fighting the daily grind.
Day 8 – Stressful beginner’s syndrome
Day 9 – Winning a losing battle – “staying in the moment”
Day 10 – Kids Keepsake Magnets Tutorial!
Day 17 – A shared story, my first time on a paddle board
Day 21 – A complete failure, when it all turns around
Day 27 – My advice to budding artists
 


Has any part of my journey really inspired you? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!




Busy Mom VS Daily Grind – Day 21

New here and wondering what’s going on? Busy Mom VS Daily Grind is all about making the dedication to do something every day that will help you live a happier, more fulfilling life. I have committed to document my journey of developing the habits of living moment by moment, being grateful, and bringing self expression + creativity into every day. Read more about the challenge HERE.


Today was a complete failure. :( Even after making a quick creative list yesterday, I still failed to do anything creative all day. And can you believe I forgot my camera at home again!?


I’m starting to think its going to take me more than 30 days to get a hang of all this. 

I thought I was making progress in the beginning, but now I think it was just from all the excitement and gung-ho I had starting the project. Now I’m in real life, learning the ropes.

I need to figure out how this all works in real day to day life. 

Its unrealistic to think that I can create a painting or a whole project everyday. I knew that from the start, but I went in with no ideas on quick creative things I could do daily. As a result, I ended up leaving my creativity until the end of the day when I’m pooped out and need to be writing. 

I thought the creative ideas would just come to me as I went along. But it doesn’t work that way. That’s why creating a new habit is tough. You have to work hard at it in the beginning, until it becomes natural to you.

Living a fully creative life isn’t natural for me yet. I don’t always think of how cute those flowers would be as a crown, or how my leftover tinfoil would be perfect to create a sculpture, or to arrange my food into an appealing design. I want these ideas and more to just come to me naturally throughout the day. In order to make that change in my mind, I need to practice it. 

So, I’ve decided to try and give myself daily challenges to see if that helps.

Tomorrow, my challenge will be: to create a sculpture or an arrangement using objects around the house. 

Wish me luck!!


PS. Feel free to join in on the challenge too! Leave a comment here or tomorrow’s post when I share mine, with a link to yours so we all can see! :)





Busy Mom VS Daily Grind – Day 5

New here and wondering what’s going on? Busy Mom VS Daily Grind is all about making the dedication to do something every day that will help you live a happier, more fulfilling life. I have committed to document my journey of developing the habits of living moment by moment, being grateful, and bringing self expression + creativity into every day. Read more about the challenge HERE.


I have found that the key to fighting the daily grind is to intentionally do something, anything, that you don’t do daily.

Sounds simple, right?

Not exactly.

The more frequently you think or do something, the stronger the pathway becomes in your brain; creating an automatic way of thinking. Imagine a dense forest, so dense its almost impossible to move through. Now envision a single worn pathway through this forest. This is the path you take every day. It’s easy to follow. You know every curve and turn. You go down it every day without even thinking.

In order to break free from this path, you have to first wake up from autopilot and actually see the path that you’re on. Then, you have to hack your way through the dense uncut forest to create a new pathway.

Cutting the new path isn’t the hard part – its remembering to wake up and snap back into the present moment while going through your daily tasks. 

And when you do – it creates an opportunity to change your day from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Which is what happened to me today. As I picked my daughter up from pre-school, the sun hit me just so and woke me back up to life. Why get in the car to go back home to do nothing, when we have this beautiful new town to enjoy on this sunny day? So we took a walk instead, and did some exploring.


We just recently moved into this area this past September, so its our first summer here to discover our new surroundings!



We even found a new playground to explore!



And when we got home, baby did a little more exploring on her own. I enjoyed watching her crinkle and rip up the newspaper. :)


After all that excitement, she actually took a nap. Yay! So I was able to get in a little creative time too. Here’s a sneak peek below. Hopefully I will have the project finished tomorrow to share with you!

  

Remember to snap out of auto pilot every once in a while, and see what opportunities await you!




Busy Mom VS Daily Grind

I’ve been bouncing around like crazy because I’m so super excited for what’s coming up! (And I have a video to prove it!!) 

YouTube Preview Image (click here if you can’t view the video)

Seriously, if you stick around to the end – you’ll see how nutty I get when I’m excited for something! he he

So what am I so pumped about?

My new project: 

Busy Mom VS the Daily Grind 

You know, that thing that plagues us all – when we have to perform the same mundane tasks day after day… after day… until it gets ingrained into our minds so deeply that we let ourselves run on auto pilot. You start to go through the motions of your day without really living your life…

kind of like a walking zombie.

I believe that this is a key factor in a lot of people’s unhappiness – because it makes you forget who you really are. 

And I know, you can’t just up and stop your daily tasks… so how can you live a happier life? 

By intentionally living moment by moment, by acknowledging and appreciating the happy ones, and by bringing self expression and creativity into every day.

At least that’s my theory – and I’m going to put it to the test. I’m going to dedicate 30 days to focus solely on battling the daily grind and developing these three aspects into daily habits.  



HABIT #1: To be present for every moment. 

I hope to develop this by keeping my camera with me at all times as a reminder to take in my surroundings more and see the beauty in every day life. Also by calling it quits to multi-tasking during important activities like playing and spending time with the kids. 


HABIT #2: To acknowledge and appreciate those happy and beautiful moments of every day. 

To do this, I will take a moment every night to journal or list all the moments I want to remember, and what I’m grateful for that day. 


HABIT #3: To bring self expression and creativity into every day. 

Ooooh boy, this one will be tough. But my goal is to do something creative every day, no matter how big or small – even if its just doodling on a napkin. Because I’ve heard so many stories of the magic that happens with a true daily creative habit – so I’m just ready to make it happen. 



I’ll be documenting the good, the bad, the ugly – every day – right here on my blog – for you all to see.

By doing this personal project publicly (Wow, was that a tongue twister?) I hope to inspire you to make the dedication to something that you believe will make you happier. Because we all deserve to live a happy fulfilling life. 

Stop waiting for happiness to find you. Take on my challenge today and start developing a habit that you know will make you happier.

And when you do, I would LOVE it if you documented the journey on your own blog, whether you are developing the same habits as me, or another of your choice. 

They say it takes 30 days of dedication to form a habit. So let’s do this together so we can cheer each other on and strive for the happy fulfilling life we were all meant to live!



If you’re joining in on the challenge, or just want to help support my “battle”, you can proudly display one of the graphics below on your own site or blog.  Please save, and link back to http://kristalnorton.com/blog/   or grab the code HERE.   




As for me, my journey starts THIS Monday. Oh My! I am so nervous, but SOOO excited!! :)






Edit July 7, 2012:

My challenge has ended, and I survived! Here are some highlights from my month long challenge:

Day 1
 – A rocky beginning, and learning about how our minds remember the negative experiences more easily than the good.
Day 3 – Scrappy Tags Tutorial!
Day 5 – Finding the key to fighting the daily grind.
Day 8 – Stressful beginner’s syndrome
Day 9 – Winning a losing battle – “staying in the moment”
Day 10 – Kids Keepsake Magnets Tutorial!
Day 17 – A shared story, my first time on a paddle board
Day 21 – A complete failure, when it all turns around
Day 27 – My advice to budding artists
After Thoughts – What I’ve learned from this project