I was visiting my youngest daughter over Mother’s Day. She has two children, four and six, and she works. A common scenario. While she is involved in one task, every minute of it is focused on the next task that is hollering at her. “Okay, we are having dinner. What can I do in the seven minutes between dinner and baths?” The concern of “next” wore me out. Been there; done that.
For Mother’s Day I received a coloring book and crayons — a new and very popular way to relax and de-stress. Just sit mindlessly, color and enjoy the shades, tones and variety. After I drove the kids to school and pre-school, I came back and sat at the kitchen table nestled in the bay window. Ignoring the toys, books and clothes not picked up or put away, I opened my book to color.
For the first set of circles in an abstract design, I chose purple. While being careful to stay within the lines and use steady pressure for an even shade, I began to think about what color I would use next. Would a soft gray make the purple pop? What about a teal to offer contrast? Abruptly, I stopped.
“This has to be learned behavior. I’m retired and I’m coloring. I have nowhere in particular to go, no deadline to meet.”
“Why am I thinking about or even concerned over which color to choose next as though I were climbing the ladder of coloring?”
“This has to be learned.”
We weren’t created to be thinking ahead all the time. No baby with toys on the living room floor is worrying about which one to chew next. As she chews, all she knows is chewing.
QUESTION: If ‘what next’ thinking was learned — when, how or why did we learn it? Can it be un-learned? Is it possible to just sit and color — whatever that means to you?