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Rae's Latest

Filtering by Tag: creativity

Why I color INSIDE the lines

Rae Hering

First thing’s first: I LOVE to color.  And yes, I mean that I color in a children’s coloring book; me and the Sesame Street gang have spent A LOT of time together and no, I’m not 8 (at least not on the outside…) 

Somewhere in my early twenties I got the notion to return to this childhood mainstay and quickly got obsessed.  I love picking out a page that reminds me of someone I know and coloring it for them; I even colored a page for a man I met on an airplane once.  People will see me coloring and break out in a smile or a light-hearted chuckle.  I get the feeling it brings them back to simpler times when coloring felt as necessary as washing the dishes.  Well for me, it still is that way…or at least, I’ve prioritized it to be that way. 

You see, I’ve come to see coloring as a form of moving meditation: as I focus on this one simple task my mind clears and relaxes.  I’m not worrying about my to-do list or my personal anxieties and I am completely at ease with life.

But in order for this to happen, I need to color INSIDE the lines.

It hit me one day that the reason I’m addicted to coloring is because it’s one of the only times where I allow myself to take a break from attempting to be original and adventurous. 

Society is constantly telling us to color outside the lines, think beyond the box and forge our own path.  We’ve learned to praise innovation as the greatest good and to see following the pack as something for the dull-witted masses.  While being different or innovative is not bad in of itself, I think there's value in trotting the beaten path as well. (Mind you, this is coming from someone who's life's ambition has been to buck the system!) 

When I color, I follow the lines in front of me and use a limited set of pre-existing colors.  Consequently, my expectations of making “great art” are lowered and the burden of “being genius” is lifted (as though that were a real issue, ha!)  The paradox is that when I put down my coloring book, I am able to better create and innovate in other areas in my life, like songwriting.

The pressure to be different in our world gets compounded with the multitude of choices we have in front of us on a daily basis.  In this great NY Times article about the dilemma of having too many choices, the author says that according to research “an excess of choices leads to us being less, not more, satisfied once we actually decide.  There’s often that nagging feeling that we could have done better.”  What if we all took a little time to give ourselves limited options?  To be satisfied flowing with the river beneath us?  To color inside the lines?   

Only in this past year did I realize there’s a growing community of adults that are discovering the benefits of coloring and can’t get enough.  There are now even coloring books for adults!  My favorites are by Johanna Basford - I have her magically intricate “Enchanted Forest” book (thanks for the Christmas present, Mom and Dad.)  Here’s what I have so far: 

 
 

So how 'bout it?  Color INSIDE the lines!

The Creative Community Movement

Rae Hering

I've been talking with my fiancé, Jonathan, a lot lately about what a creative community is and how to strengthen those communities around us.  We all have a lot to offer each other, no matter what we love to do: paint, dance, sing, write, play, speak, draw, levitate… Through blogging this past year, I’ve been making wonderful creative connections with other bloggers, one of whom is Rida of Work In Progress.  She was inspired after watching a video I posted of my song “Navigator/Aviator” and wrote her original lyrics to my tune.  How cool is that??

Here's my song "Navigator/Aviator:"

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGZKsUNfBP8&w=480&h=360]

And Rida's beautiful, creative response:

i’ve been traveling round and round been looking for what can’t be found i don’t really know where i belong

life keeps taking pound for pound and i can’t find that stable ground i don’t really know where i’ve gone wrong

i meet you, i’m spun around i once was lost but now i’m found i know with you i am finally strong

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

you keep me from falling down no longer feeling like i’m drowin’ for in your loving arms i do belong

all my walls you’ve broken down it’ so safe to play the clown how did you know i was the one

i’ll be your queen and wear your crown once so lost but now i’m found ’cause you put in my heart an eternal song

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

with you i know i’m safe and sound have no need to look around for you cannot compare to anyone

my loneliness forever gone you and me, we can’t go wrong being with you babe, i am someone

hold me baby til the dawn we’ll be together all life long for you are my moon and my sun

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump bum bum dah ump baah dum dah dah ump

Check out her original post here.

What a testament to being inspired by each other!

So what inspires you?  Are you inspired by your friend’s painting?  Your co-worker’s poem?  Your boss’s mother’s hairdresser’s interpretive dance routine?

And if you’re inspired by one of my works, please, jot it down, record it, video it - share it. Let’s strengthen our creative communities together.