I’ve finished another coloring book: Loving-Kindness Mandalas. In this book you’ll find a lot of lotus flowers (symbols of purity and compassion), hearts (symbols of love of course), meditating figures, and a dharma wheel made of dharma wheels (symbolizing wisdom and understanding). For now the book is exclusively available at candyhippie.com. I’ll make it available in my Etsy shop at a later date.
Loving-kindness meditation, or metta meditation, is a style of meditation aimed specifically at reducing negative emotions and grudges, while strengthening compassion, well-being, appreciation and generosity. Loving-kindness is a basically an exercise in focused well-wishing, with the goal of cultivating postive habits in the mind.
The first four of the twelve mandalas in the new book are named after the four qualities of love cultivated by the practice: friendly loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha). Metta is a friendly, caring and embracing warmth which reaches outward. Karuna’s compassion is about having genuine empathy for people’s difficulties. Mudita is about feeling happy for someone, appreciating and feeling joy in people’s good fortune. Equanimity is a subtle result of cultivating the other three: a consistent, calm feeling of acceptance and caring toward everyone equally.
These four qualities are cultivated by wishing oneself and others be well. These wishes come in many forms. The latter eight of the mandalas in this coloring book are named and designed after eight popular well-wishing meditations: “May you be filled with love and kindness,” “May you be free,” “May you be happy,” “May you be in good health,” “May you be peaceful and at ease,” “May you be safe from harm,” “May you be well,” and “May you gain understanding.”
These wishes should not only be directed ourselves and our loved ones, but also strangers, difficult people, people we dislike, and even those we consider enemies. As a popular Buddhist phrase explains, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” A goal of metta meditation is to gradually rid ourselves of our angers and grudges.
To use these mandala coloring pages for metta meditation, concentrate on the words and titles of the pages, repeat them to yourself if you’d like, and in your mind, direct them toward the people in your life as you color, envisioning your coloring activity as a freely-given gift. Color the centre for yourself, and as you move outward, color for family, friends, neutral acquaintances, people you find difficult or unlikeable, and finally enemies, if you feel you have any.
You might find it useful to make up a personal system of color symbolism to help you focus as you practice. Certain colors might symbolize different people in your life, for example.
While using these mandalas for metta medtation, remember to genuinely direct the mandalas’ messages and emotional states toward their recipients, cultivating loving-kindness in yourself. This will increase your happiness and, with practice, will naturally manifest in your actions toward others in your daily life.
If you’d like to learn more about the details of practicing metta meditation, try these resources:
18 Science-Based Reasons to Try Loving Kindness Meditation – some are new to me!
Loving-Kindness meditation – an overview by buddhanet.net.
Metta Bhavana – in-depth instructions by Venerable Sujiva.
Loving Kindness Meditation – an instructional video.
Please do try out the Loving-Kindness Mandalas coloring book. I made it in hope that others could benefit from coloring it, as I have done in practicing metta meditation and in mindfully creating these mandalas.
Back in April, my fiancee and I went to the theater to see Cinderella. I loved its prettiness, its otherworldly optimism, the Kinkadesque guilty pleasure of it. I hadn’t even opened my shop yet, let alone made a single sale, but I was so inspired by the film that I decided I would make 1000 Etsy sales, and so on the way home I bought a bottle of ice cider that I would use to celebrate upon reaching the goal. I decorated it, placed it near my workspace, and looked at it for eight months.
I reached 1000 sales at the very tip of November 30th, just after midnight. I shared the cider and some 85% dark chocolate with my fiancee, who has been a tremendous help, though it was way too sweet for his palate. More for me!
Bet you can guess what movie I paired it with.
Halloween is less than three weeks away! Speaking of less than three, I <3 all of you who have already picked up some of my new Halloween goodies and left glowing reviews. Thank you so much! Your support keeps me creating, and grinning like a skull all the way. Except not emaciated and/or fleshless and/or dead.
I’ve finally got everything listed today. Phew. Time to call the roll.
1) Twelve single Halloween mandala coloring pages. Or technically, eleven Halloween pages and one autumn/Thanksgiving page, but I figure ’tis the season to group them together.
2) One Halloween Mandalas coloring book, comprised of the above twelve individual mandalas, for less than half the cost of buying all twelve individually.
3) One hand-drawn Halloween Teeny Zine mini coloring book, which in my honest opinion, has not gotten enough attention! It’s my favourite of all my Halloween creations. I’ll be making a pile of copies to hand out to trick-or-treaters and I think you should too! I just knocked a half-buck off, down from $4 to $3.50. Go see!
That’s that. I might draw something more, but I’m not sure what to do. My muse might be all Halloweened out. Which means… I must find my Christmas spirit. In October. Somehow. XD
The Windsor Marijuana March and Cannabis Culture Fest is coming up in a few weeks! As soon as I heard about it I knew I had to participate as a seller, which meant I needed printed books to sell, ASAP. I brought my coloring book files to Copy Shack yesterday and they were ready today. Introducing the very first printed Candy Hippie coloring books, modeled by yours truly:
I’ve got twelve copies each of Hippie Kitsch and Advanced Flower Mandalas to hock at the fair.
They’re my first books ever.
You bet I’m gonna sign ’em!
While I haven’t decided whether to sell printed books through the Candy Hippie Etsy Shop or even in my dot-com shop, these two and all the rest will be available in digital format for you to print at home or at a print shop far into the forseeable future. I figure it makes the most sense to do it this way, since there are no shipping costs with digital files and no waiting. The valuable part is the data, not the paper, so why print and ship when we don’t have to? The future is now! :D
Still, all that said… it’s really nice to hold these babies in my hands.
I’m a busy bee playing catch-up as I try to fill my shop with all the items already listed on Etsy. I promised myself I’d update the blog at least every Monday, but I don’t quite have the time to write a comprehensive post today. Sorry, audience! (Though I doubt you’re here yet, since I haven’t started promoting the website yet, lol)
Here’s a sneak peek of an upcoming coloring page style: the Teeny Zine! It’s a six-page (eight if you count the front and back covers) little coloring book you’ll be able to fold from a single printed page. My first one will be available at the start of October and will have a Hallowe’en theme, making it the perfect treat to give to trick-or-treaters in place of (or with) some Hallowe’en candy. Here it is so far, with a pile of pumpkins, a haunted house, a spooky tree and a raven perched atop a skull with some candles.
As you can see, I still have to draw two more mini-pages, then digitize and add the front and back covers. Assembly is a little bit complicated — you’ll need a pair of scissors — but don’t worry, I’ll include instructions with the download.
Wow, this is exciting! My own website, my own shop, my own blog. My own space to serve as a ‘ground zero’ as I reach my artsy fingers out across the web distributing line art and mandalas. It’ll take a lot of work to get this place fully up and running and I look forward to the experience. I’ll make sure not to let the website development cut into my drawing and designing time too much, though.
I should tell the story of how I started making coloring pages. A few different elements coalesced. First, in February or so, I saw Johanna Basford’s “Enchanted Forest” coloring book while browsing Amazon and had to have it the moment I laid eyes on it. I bought a few mandala books too. Soon after the coloring books arrived in the mail, I started swimming laps nightly at the public pool down the road, and was so blissfully tired when I got home, all I could do was throw on some music and color for an hour or two while I recovered.
I started fantasizing about making my own coloring pages, since I have a creative streak and have been drawing from the time I could hold a pencil — though I’d almost stopped drawing entirely the last few years. Boo! That needed to change. Browsing online, I happened to discover the visionary art of artists like Alex Grey, Adam Scott Miller, Amanda Sage, Android Jones and Michael Divine. My eyes were starving. I couldn’t get enough of this wondrous, intense, profound, brightly colorful style. I also started meditating regularly. Just 20 minutes per day, an hour before bedtime, helped me feel happier, more focused and more relaxed. (I really should get back into the habit!)
I wanted to make some original, creative coloring pages, but I didn’t know how I’d sell my work. Then I discovered Etsy’s option to buy and sell instant downloads. I knew immediately that this was what I had to do with my urge to make some art. And so, in April, I was inspired to buckle down and really get to work. I brainstormed about a thousand potential drawings. I sat down and drew my first coloring book, Hippie Kitsch, over the course of a couple weeks.
During this time I also learned to digitally design mandalas, which I absolutely love doing. The symmetry is simultaneously comforting and invigorating; when it comes to math, I’ve always had a knack for geometry. I love playing with my tools and discovering what shapes come out. It’s a great problem-solving exercise, and the creation process is as meditative as the coloring process.
And now it’s time for me to start listing pages in my new shop! I’ll write again soon. Thanks for visiting. :)