• Amanda Tooms

Moving out of the lines!

I have had such an interesting couple of months that have been full of change in both my mindset and in my environment. April and May have offered me time to think, consolidate, be present, plan, question, consider, appreciate and discover. In lots of ways this mix of thoughts, behaviours and emotions has been a time of personal conflict, feeling unsettled, navigating busy schedules, noticing personal uncertainties and hearing the “what if” voice in my head. Amongst all this duration of chaos and self-questioning it has also been quite liberating, almost calm, a time of acceptance and space to recognise my personal needs and embrace moments of ‘newness’. In total contrast to the chaos and personal conflict, I have learnt to ‘sit’ with how I am feeling and as a result, I have evolved from April and May feeling good and at one in body and mind – I feel happy with and in myself. It has definitely been a time of personal ‘spring awakening’, a leap of faith, working ‘through’ as opposed to just passing by, skipping over or putting up with and really taking stock of myself and noticing what I need.

This personal escapism that has been born out of the past two months, made me think about how generally as humans living in a busy world, we make so little time for ourselves. It seems that we almost need to reach ‘burn-out and melt down’ before we actually consider ourselves. Listening to the radio recently I heard something that really resonated with me, the speaker on BBC 2’s Pause for Thought said that “life isn’t about staying within the lines, it’s about the colouring”. The point of the statement was that a child had sent in a colouring and because they were young, they had coloured outside of the picture lines and so the crayon coloured page had been illustrated with complete freedom and without the restriction of the lines. As I thought about this, I realised that all too often in life we stay within the lines and restrict whatever else might be out there waiting for us, or we conform to what we feel society and our environment expects from us. It’s almost an unspoken consciously unfelt fear to step outside of the lines. I admire anyone that has the courage to fully go with the colouring.

Life can throw many curve balls and sometimes the thought of colouring outside of the lines can feel impossible, even scary. But the spectrum of colour doesn’t have to be huge, it just needs to be present so that the goal and the planning can be gradually coloured in until it develops into the picture we desire. Although slightly contradictory in terms of the reference to lines, once we know the landscape that we want to work towards, it can gradually be built on as a work in progress like ‘painting by numbers’. As each goal is achieved, the colours of the paint increase and expand the landscape. Working through and understanding our landscape can be so beneficial to our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Trusting in the process and allowing the scrambles of life’s uncertainties to unravel in our own time can be both healing and invigorating. Noticing and embracing natural and unforced change, can steer us towards our uniquely different lines.

The metaphorical crayon is always there to start the freedom of colouring.

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