Balance: A Mini-Lesson on Mini Self-Care

Balance: A Mini-Lesson on Mini Self-Care

NOTE: This post is about how to take care of yourself when you’re too pressed for time for normal self-care. But first, some back story.

In the summer of 1979, after two of my roommates were mugged and I narrowly escaped the knife myself, I left Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant for parts unknown.

I’d arrived in New York five years earlier with two books, two cameras, and a knapsack full of clothes, but by the time I left Brooklyn I’d accumulated a small U-Haul truck’s worth of possessions. With two Parisian friends, I loaded up my collection of books, tools, photography equipment, random bits of furniture, and a Yamaha 200 motorcycle into a rental truck. We drove across New York State to Buffalo, where I dropped everything off at my mother’s house – including the Parisians, who were continuing their trek across America.

A few days later, I flew to London to begin a two-month trip through the UK and Europe, to be followed by a three-month residence at an artist colony in Virginia, where I hoped to figure out where I’d settle next.

Two days before my return flight from Brussels, Belgium, the airline I had planned to take home went out of business. The next flight I could get a seat on was a week away, and I was short of enough American Express Travelers Cheques to buy another ticket.

But fear not! I’d worked my way through college and supported myself in New York City by doing a variety of construction jobs, and one of the trades I’d learned was roofing. And as it luck would have it – or so I thought – the brother of the friend I was staying with was a roofer.

When I left New York, I had sworn off construction work, figuring that if I continued I’d end up missing a thumb or walking with a limp. But this job was low stress, and actually fun. Although the Belgian materials and techniques were a little different from what I’d used, the work itself was essentially the same and within a day I was keeping up with the rest of the crew. I made more than enough that week to pay for the flight home.

Toward the end of my stay at the Virginia artist colony three months later, I was still without a next destination. An opportunity arose to extend my stay by helping to build new artist residences. “Why not?” I thought. Nothing bad had happened during my brief job in Belgium, and this job, too, looked like fun.

Three weeks into it, I had my answer in the form of two ruptured disks. The days of supporting myself with construction work were now behind me and I had to find another way to keep bread on the table and my writing and photography habit alive.

I’d spent my childhood as a kid scientist and my first year of college as a Cornell engineer. I knew that if push ever came to shove, I could work with computers. When I recovered from the back injury enough to become mobile again, I enrolled in a crash course in computer programming at Boston University.

And this is where mini self-care comes in.

The B.U. program packed a minor in Computer Science into one summer school session. Material for each course that would normally would have taken a semester to cover was squeezed into seven days. It was a brutal academic experience unlike any I’d experienced. Every day packed in two weeks’ worth of coursework: Each evening was our “weekend,” and each weekend a virtual semester break.

However, the program came with unintended benefits. Besides learning the fundamentals of everything from hardware architecture to LISP (the original language of artificial intelligence), I stumbled, inadvertently, on mini self-care.

Inside my maelstrom of computer intensity, in order to stay sane I looked for small, quiet spaces in which to recover. I took short walks from the computer buildings to the main campus, where for a few minutes I’d gaze out at the boats and ducks on the Charles River. I took five-minute coffee breaks. I brought a paperback novel with me and read a few pages during lunch. Unlike my classmates who lived nearby and spent most of the night toiling at computer terminals in the lab, each evening I walked back to Cambridge for a return to normality and a few hours of sleep.

Of the 24 men and women who began the program, I was one of only eight who completed it. I believe my improvised mini self-care had something to do with it.

Mini self-care is the abridged version of full-sized self-care.

Many of us have evolved a set of activities that help us feel balanced and relaxed and that allow us to recuperate from stress. We might have a hobby, take trips or vacations, practice yoga, meditate, binge-watch a television series, hike or take walks, swim, play a sport, garden, go for a ride, and so on. We do these things regardless of whatever else is going on in our lives, and they help to restore equilibrium when the tensions of work, health or family problems – or even a bad winter – wear us down.

But what can we do when we don’t have time for any of that? When even half an hour of yoga or a 15-minute walk seems like yet another burden in an already overburdened day, and a week-long vacation feels like an impossible dream?

We’re wired to handle short-term stress, but when stress is continuous for too long, the constant flow of the stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine takes a toll. When we reach a point where there’s nothing left to give, we “burn out.”

Burnout leads to feelings of hopelessness, depression, apathy, and physical and emotional exhaustion. It hampers work, home life, health, and undermines most of what we find satisfying in our lives.

The optimal way to avoid burnout is to reduce the stress and weave back into our lives what we find restorative. However, when time pressures won’t allow that strategy, an almost-as-good alternative is mini self-care. Although mini self-care may not be as reinvigorating as the longer forms, it will help to withstand the stress.

Some examples:

  • Self-care: You do yoga for self-restoration. Mini self-care: Pick one pose and do it for a couple of minutes two or three times a day.
  • Self-care: You like to walk or run. Mini self-care: Take a five-minute walk around the block.
  • Self-care: You like spending an hour at the end of the day reading. Mini self-care: Carry a book with you and read a couple of pages at regular intervals two or three times throughout the day.
  • Self-care: You like to talk with friends on the phone. Mini self-care: Exchange short texts throughout the day.
  • Self-care: You take two-week vacation trips. Mini self-care: Spend a night away on the weekend. If you can’t take a night, walk downtown and pretend you’re a tourist.

And so on.

Mini self-care isn’t a permanent replacement for the full version, but many find it helpful not only in warding off burnout, but in feeling more balanced in times of stress.

To create your own mini self-care plan:

  1. Make a list of the things you do that feel restorative
  2. Figure out the shortest version that still feels meaningful. The 80/20 rule often applies: you can get 80% of the benefit from self-care activities by spending 20% of the time you’d really like to spend.
  3. Decide when to do your mini self-care. Mini self-care is more effective if it’s incorporated into a routine. Schedule some activities for morning, do some at lunch, and do others in the evening.
  4. Add randomized mini self-care. Do one self-care activity randomly throughout the day. For instance, several of my clients who meditate use an app that makes a gong tone or buzzes to signal them to stop what they’re doing and take three long, slow breaths. The slow breaths interrupt what they are doing just long enough for them to get a fresh perspective. But you could instead stretch, go for a quick walk, drink a glass of water, or just zone out for a minute — whatever feels like self-care for you.

It’s been decades since I last nailed down a shingle or wrote a line of code, but mini self-care continues to be helpful in burnout prevention, which is common in my profession. Although I’m not as diligent as I could be about my morning, lunchtime, and evening mini self-care routines, when I practice them, body, mind, and spirit all hum along much more smoothly, regardless of the level or duration of stress.

More anon,
– David
David J. Bookbinder

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas
PrintAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – Books-a-Million
eBook: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
Paths to Wholeness: Selections (free eBook)

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Images and text Copyright 2017, David J. Bookbinder
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

Posted in Balance, Publication | 2 Comments

Publishing and Self-Publishing: Next Steps

Publishing and Self-Publishing: Next Steps

NOTE: This is the second in a series of occasional posts on my ongoing adventures and misadventures in self-publishing. Had I known what I’m posting here and will post in occasional future pieces on publishing, this journey would have been a far less rocky road! (Our regular programming will resume shortly.)

Regardless of whether you are planning to self-publish or are getting published by a traditional publisher, these are a few things it would be good for you to do before – preferably long before – your books are published.

1. Influencers. Gather together the names, addresses, and email addresses of the influencers you know so you can send them review copies of your book a) to create blurbs for your book and b) so they can review the book shortly before it goes live. Influencers include anyone who has a following, such as book reviewers, bloggers, other writers, or people who are fans of your writing and who connect and network well. (I think of these people as “connectors,” and many of us have people who are skilled at that in our lives.)

2. Minions. Gather together the names and email addresses of your “minions” (friends, fans of your writing, helpful family members) so you can find out if they want to be on board your launch team. The launch team will receive pre-release versions of the book so they can leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads as soon as the book is launched, and they will share info about your book among the people they know. They may also do other promotional tasks, such as ordering the book from their local libraries to induce the libraries to buy copies.

3. Everybody. Gather together the names and email addresses of everybody you know so they can be informed of upcoming launches, sales, events, etc. They might also buy books, leave reviews, order from their libraries, etc.

4. Buy Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl and read it. Of all the book launch and book promotion stuff I’ve read in the past year, it’s the simplest, clearest, and also most generally applicable map of the process I’ve encountered. Grahl’s book will give you his ideas on how and when to use the lists of names in items 1, 2, and 3 above.

None of these tasks should take a big chunk of your time, and they are all best done months before the book actually comes out.

If you already have a previous book published, you should also:

5. Amazon. Join Amazon Author Central and set up your Author Page. While logged into your Amazon account, search for one of your books, click on your author name, and you should be directed to your existing Author Page. There, you should find a link for claiming the page as yours and updating the book information and author bio. If you don’t yet have a book on Amazon, you will have to wait until the book’s pre-release period to do this.

6. Goodreads. Join Goodreads and apply to be a Goodreads Author. The Goodreads process is similar to that on Amazon (who owns Goodreads) if you already have a book on Goodreads. If you don’t have a book listed there, you can add your book and then claim the author page once the book is in its pre-release period.

Becoming familiar with the structure and functions of the author pages as early in the process as you can will make it much easier to clean up the inevitable errors in your book descriptions, author bio, and other fields, and to format the pages so they are most inviting to future readers.

More anon,
– David
David J. Bookbinder

P.S. There’s a new review of Paths to Wholeness on the site “Reader’s Favorite”: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/paths-to-wholeness

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas
PrintAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – Books-a-Million
eBook: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
Paths to Wholeness: Selections (free eBook)

Images and text Copyright 2017, David J. Bookbinder
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

Posted in flower mandala, Paths to Wholeness, Publication | Leave a comment

Balancing the Books

Balancing the Books

From late spring to early autumn, 1971, I hitchhiked across the United States, following a meandering loop west from Buffalo to Berkeley, south past L.A., up the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington, and back east through Canada. I was on a mission not only to see the country, but also to find out who I was.

I hitchhiked to force myself to connect, if only for a lift to the next town or to find somewhere to crash for the night. On the journey, a new goal emerged: to develop the parts of myself I knew must be there, because they resonated when I encountered them in others, but to which I had no access. In the largest sense of the term, I took that trip to achieve balance.

Balance is a word with many meanings, in many contexts. But in May, 1971, to me it meant to bring out the latent parts of myself and mate them with what was already there and, in so doing, to become someone whole and complete.

I discovered that I had an incomplete view of who I was during my freshman year as an engineering student at Cornell University. I had grown up a kid scientist, obsessed with the workings of the natural and technical worlds, and my hope was that I’d graduate with a degree in Electrical Engineering and work for NASA. In an Introduction to English Literature course, I read the long poem “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” by William Blake.

Though by then I had witnessed Woodstock and dabbled in sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, I was vaguely aware that I spent most of my time in my head and lived hardly at all in the realms of emotion and the body. Blake’s poem reached out forcefully, over hundreds of years and thousands of miles, with the message that, if I continued on my present course, I would live out my days as a shadow. His potent words and vivid images not only prompted me to drop out of engineering, but set me on a lifelong journey of self-actualization.

The next summer, I began my cross-country trip with $400 and a sense of longing and adventure. I returned with 25 cents in my pocket and an expanded outlook. My travels had included many adventures I still vividly recall, but more important, they also more clearly revealed the unrealized facets of myself I wanted to develop.

Within days of my return, I made a literal list of new activities to undertake. On it were writing, photography, learning a trade, practicing a sport, pursuing a spiritual activity, and, to carry on the traveler’s sense of adventure, motorcycling. This list became the curriculum for a program to rebalance myself that, in a more nuanced way, I’m still following today.

That semester, I began to carry out my curriculum, setting aside physics and calculus courses and exchanging them for the humanities, and seeking out activities that would, I hoped, enhance the physical, emotional, spiritual, and creative sides. I took all the literature, philosophy, psychology, and creative writing courses I could fit into my schedule. I read novels not only for the stories, but for what the authors could teach me about how to be human. I volunteered at a mental hospital and at a faculty-run free school for elementary-age children. I learned the carpentry trade and used it to put myself through school and, for several years after graduation, to support my new writing and photography habits. I taught myself metalworking and began making knives as a hobby. I started to learn tennis, bought a motorcycle, practiced Transcendental Meditation.

Other books followed Blake’s. I began to read seriously in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, and the works of the Armenian-Russian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. Within the field of my new major, English Literature, I doubled down on literature classes with a psychoanalytic focus, which led to my first foray into psychotherapy, where I delved into a childhood I had unwittingly pushed aside by forgetting everything that had happened to me before age 10.

Books, my refuge as a child, have often been the first step into activities that have extended me. Before I looked for a job as an apprentice carpenter, I read books on carpentry and woodworking. Before I volunteered at a state mental hospital, I read seminal writings of psychologists from Sigmund Freud to Fritz Perls. Before I put torch to carbon steel to make my first knife, I read a book on metallurgy. Before I taught my first class, I read books on pedagogy. Even after a near-death experience in 1993 permanently altered the way I think and feel, books were what I went to in order to begin to understand who I had become, and it was a book by Carl Rogers that convinced me I could become a therapist.

The cycle of reading/acting/reading/acting has continued to this day.

I have almost no sense of direction, but I’m very good at reading maps, and books are, for me, the most elaborate and detailed maps to just about everything. In my travels through time since my trip across the United States, they have guided me into places I would never have ventured without their gentle prodding.

More anon,
– David
David J. Bookbinder

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas
PrintAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – Books-a-Million
eBook: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
Paths to Wholeness: Selections (free eBook)

Images and text Copyright 2017, David J. Bookbinder
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

Posted in Balance, flower mandala | 1 Comment

Adventures/Misadventures in the Book Trade (and a price promotion)

Adventures/Misadventures in the Book Trade (and a price promotion)

Thanks to your recent survey responses, I’m starting to work on an expanded piece on Balance and will be rolling it out, post by post, soon. I would be happy to include stories from you on how you maintain balance. Email me, or post your story as a comment to the blog version of this and subsequent posts, here: http://davidbookbinder.com/photoblog

Meanwhile, I’d like to convey some of what I’ve learned so far in my decades-long adventures and misadventures in publishing and self-publishing. This post is an overview. From time to time, I’ll go into more detail on the various stages of this process, and also of my experiences in traditional publishing.

But before I get to that, I’d like to announce a price promotion. The Kindle version of my book Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas is now on sale for the next week at the rock-bottom price of $2.99. Get ’em while they’re hot! Tell your friends and family! Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAAFU3S

Traditional Publishing

My history in traditional publishing has been a rocky one. Although the focus of this post is self-publishing, here’s a bit of background on my experiences in that realm.

I started writing seriously in 1974, shortly after I moved to Manhattan with a B.A. in English and no clear ideas what to do next.

I worked as a freelance reporter and photographer for several small newspapers and then, at 26, came heartbreakingly close to a major break: publishing a book of photographs and stories about people who lived, worked, and performed on the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The editorial board at Scribners approved the book and wanted to give me a $10,000 advance – huge at that time. But the company head, Charles Scribner IV, read it when he returned from a London business trip and killed it. “Into every life a little rain must fall,” my agent told me. “Such a book should never be published,” Scribner had told my editor.

A few years later, a Paris publisher wanted to translate the Street People book into French and include it in a series of “outsider” books named after the Périphérique, the highway that divides Paris from its suburbs. My motto until then had always been, “Don’t count on it until the check clears,” but the contract was signed and the advance check cleared. Then the editor, who suffered from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, sunk first into a deep depression and, a few months later, disappeared. My book sat in limbo for two years, partly translated, until the new editor trashed the series and started one of his own.

I’ve had better luck with books I cared far less about – in 1979, a book about American folk music published by a division of Simon & Schuster, and in 1989-91, three books about computer software published by Addison-Wesley. But the books that have had meaning to me have languished in anonymity, while the ones I was less attached to have made it to the light of day.

Self-Publishing

Self-publishing seems, on the surface, to solve a major problem for authors by doing away with the “gatekeepers” and providing a direct link from author to retailer. Like most things in life, however, self-publishing is a good news / bad news proposition.

The good news

The good news is that self-publishing has come a long way from the vanity presses of yore.

Thanks to the innovations of Print on Demand (POD), you no longer have to go to a vanity publisher, buy 1000 books, and try to sell them to bookstores, often ending up with hundreds of unsold copies moldering in your garage. POD means the book doesn’t get printed until someone orders it, so there’s no need to stock inventory. And because it’s a largely automated process, printing a book doesn’t have to cost you anything but time! If you can handle the cover creation, editing, and preproduction stages yourself, the production cost is $0.00.

If you are publishing a book with a black-and-white interior and are willing to focus mainly on Amazon, the process is pretty easy even if your computer skills are limited mainly to using Microsoft Word.

Amazon’s CreateSpace division provides templates, relatively simple tutorials, a helpful user forum, and an extremely helpful staff that will walk you through any of the issues you encounter in the process of turning a file into a book. Within a few days, you can take your masterpiece from a file on your computer to seeing it listed on Amazon’s website. You get started here: http://www.createspace.com/

Ebooks, too, can be easily produced for $0.00. For eBooks, the process of using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing interface is also relatively simple and even faster than CreateSpace. In less than a day, you can go from a properly formatted file created in Microsoft Word to published Kindle book. You get started here: https://kdp.amazon.com/

The not as good news

For print books, things get more complicated if you introduce any of the following variables: color printing, nonstandard sizes, distribution to non-Amazon outlets.

Color printing greatly increases the cost. You can sell a 200-page 6″x9″ paperback with a color cover and black-and-white text on Amazon for $5.99 and still make a small profit. The same book with a color interior – whether there’s just one color photograph or color on every page – has to list for at least $24.99 to make a profit. If you are printing mainly for yourself and friends and family, the cost to you is much less, but if your aims for distribution are wider, it’s hard to be competitively priced compared to offerings by traditional publishers.

Non-standard sizes usually cost more, and although they won’t affect Amazon distribution, distributing a non-standard-sized book (like, for instance, the 8.5″ x 8.5″ coloring book Mary O’Malley and I did, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas) dumps you out of Amazon’s expanded distribution to other online resellers and (potentially) to bookstores and libraries. There is a workaround – you can create a duplicate version of the book through the IngramSpark program – but the process of getting from manuscript to finished book is considerably more complicated and there’s far less handholding.

The worse news

Once you move into higher-quality books that contain illustrations, things get dicier as a self-publisher.

Stepping up in paper quality from a standard 50lb matte paper like that found in most trade paperbacks to a thicker and/or glossy paper stock like that found in coffee-table books changes the game dramatically. Amazon and IngramSpark are no longer options. You have to go to the few printers out there who can handle better paper, and you have to figure out a way to get those books to market.

Offset printing. You can get excellent printing in China or Iceland, and the cost per book is reasonable, but you need to buy 1000 at a time, which can leave you with the “hundreds-of-books-moldering-in-the-garage” problem unless you are very good at marketing and promotion and have a book in one of the genres that do well in self-publishing. (More on that in another post.)

Print on Demand. If you stick to POD, many of the options are very expensive per copy. When I did the Kickstarter version of Paths to Wholeness, the hardcover 12″x 12″ edition of the book cost me about $200 per book on Blurb.com, and the smaller paperback would have cost about $65 had I gone with Blurb or most of the other POD printers of photography books.

Instead I went with newcomer BookBaby, one of the few POD outfits that not only prints color books at a more reasonable (but still high compared to offset) cost, but also provides a distribution package to get the printed book onto online retailers and, at least in theory, into bookstores. The catch is that the retailers take a large chunk of the profit. Between BookBaby’s fees for printing and distributing, and Amazon’s fees for letting me sell the book there, my $40 Paths to Wholeness book earns me $1.32/book. And a $40 book is not an easy sell.

The bad news (unless you have a knack for it)

Which brings me to the bad news, unless you have a gift for it: marketing and promotion.

Sometimes self-publishing works out amazingly well for authors. The Martian, for instance, began as a blog, then a self-published book, and eventually rose to become a major motion picture starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott, my all-time favorite science fiction director! Authors writing mainly in the romance, science fiction, thriller, and to a lesser extent the new “get-rich-quick-on-the-Internet” genres sometimes also do remarkably well as self-publishers, especially if they turn out multiple books in quick succession.

For many, however, it’s an uphill struggle. The average lifetime sales of self-published books is estimated at about 250 copies.

Why? Because it’s so easy to publish a book now, it’s very hard to distinguish your book from the literally millions of other books out there. The most successful authors not only have a string of books, they have a well-defined market that they know how to reach.

But this is getting long. So, more on the ins and outs of genre, distribution, marketing, and promotion (as I’ve experienced them so far) another time.

Meanwhile, please check out the eBook version of Paths to Wholeness, now on sale for one week at the discounted price of $2.99 on Amazon.

Pass the word around and help me get the word out to more than that estimated 250 people!

More anon,
– David
David J. Bookbinder

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas
PrintAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – Books-a-Million
eBook: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
Paths to Wholeness: Selections (free eBook)

Images and text Copyright 2017, David J. Bookbinder
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

Posted in flower mandala | 3 Comments

Action

Action: Sometimes insight is the last defense

At times I feel like a Sherlock Holmes of the mind, each of my clients the faithful and resourceful Watson of his or her own unsolved mystery.

A Holmes-like insight is the province of traditional psychotherapy, and it is often a helpful tool. Insight can clarify the causes of anxiety or depression, relieve guilt and shame, explicate the roots of trauma, and point the way to new and better lives. But insight alone is seldom enough to effect lasting change. And, as one of my former professors remarked, “Sometimes insight is the last defense.”

In therapy, as in life, actions are more powerful than words. Identifying dysfunctional patterns, self-sabotaging thoughts, and triggered feelings that keep us prisoners of our problems is an important, even vital, preparatory step, but for significant growth, we need, also, to change what we do.

Psychologist Jim Grant envisions our collections of patterned thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as akin to a Spell that can lead us to act in ritualized, self-defeating ways. To break the Spell, we need to alter our actions. Even a slight shift in an old pattern opens the way for future growth that no amount of additional insight, by itself, can foster.

For example, addicts typically follow a limited but compelling set of commands such as: “Once I get the idea in my head, I have to get high,” or “If I’m around it, I have to do it,” or “Getting high is the only thing I have to look forward to.” In therapy, addicts can identify triggers, challenge addiction-related thoughts, and work through the feelings that entrap them in addictive behaviors. But to break the addiction Spell, they also have to act differently, “faking it till they make it” even when every conscious thought and habituated emotion is screaming at them to use. They must, to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, do the thing they think they cannot do.

What holds true for addiction applies to any of the maladies that bring people to therapy. Each of us has our own patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior, and each requires not just insights – words and ideas – but also actions to replace dysfunctional patterns with new, more fulfilling ways to be in the world.

Of course, acting differently is much easier said than done.

When I was a junior in college, I took a class in the writings and teachings of the Armenian-Russian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. One of Gurdjieff’s chief precepts was that most of us live in a waking dream, believing we are far more in control of our fates than we really are. The other students and I rejected this notion – we were, after all, the generation that would change the world! So our instructor challenged us with what seemed, at first, like trivial attempts at behavior modification.

Our first assignment was around eating. If we normally cleaned our plates at each meal, he said, we were to leave a bite behind, and vice versa. This task seemed undemanding, but in the week between classes, none of us succeeded in accomplishing it more than once or twice. Humbled but unbroken, we theorized that eating behaviors might be too deeply ingrained for an initial experiment. So next time, he let us choose. I decided to use my left hand for something I normally did with my right – opening doors – and on the way out I confidently opened the classroom door left-handed. By our next meeting, I was not so confident. I’d remembered the assignment only for that night. Score: Habit 2, David 0.
Or so I believed at the time.

What I hadn’t realized then, but understand now, is that although little had changed, I had changed something. I did remember to leave a bite on my plate at least once, and I had opened at least one door – the classroom door – with my non-dominant hand. I just hadn’t sustained the changes. Now, after witnessing hundreds of people better their lives by learning to act differently, I know that even a single exception to a dysfunctional pattern can be more potent than dozens of repetitions. Each exception makes more exceptions possible, opening the door (with either hand) to a new direction.

I have been drawn to action-oriented schools of therapy, and I use them with my clients, but psychotherapy is not the only way to break a Spell. All we need is a method that empowers us to recognize self-defeating patterns, to identify what those patterns want us to do, and to choose, through any means available, to do otherwise. And then, above all, to repeat the change again and again, as often as we can remember, until it becomes the way we live.

David J. Bookbinder

From: Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas
Buy onAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – Books-a-Million (print version)
Buy on: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo (eBook version)

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief
Paths to Wholeness: Selections (free eBook)

Images and text Copyright 2017, David J. Bookbinder
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

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Portrait of an Artist

Cameron Byron Roberts, Painter

About three years ago, Cameron Byron Roberts (a.k.a. Cam) and I cooked up an idea for a process-oriented group for late-blooming artist types like us.

The inspiration came from an article Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers, Blink, etc.) wrote for The New Yorker in which he differentiated between people who, early on, know what they want to do and are recognized for it at a young age (think Mozart and Picasso) and those who, much later, reach their creative heights through a trial-and-error process. The late bloomers at first produce work no more promising than artists who never create much at all (think early Cézanne), and Gladwell pointed out that without support, most late bloomers never bloom at all.

So we became our own late-bloomer supports, and we’ve been helping each other bloom for the past three years. We share our frustrations, respond to the words of artists and writers we find wiser than ourselves, encourage each other in our efforts, celebrate our triumphs, provide accountability, and in general strive to give to each other what late bloomers need to thrive.

During this three-year period, I finished a book, others have advanced in their respective arts, and Cam became not only a proficient painter, but a professional.

You can find Cam here:
http://cameronbyronroberts.blogspot.com/
http://www.cameronbyronroberts.com/
http://www.CRAboston.com

And now, some words from Cam about his history as an artist and his artistic process.

Ken Robinson, the great education guru, tells a story about asking first graders, “who is an artist?” where all the hands go up. By third grade only a few hands go up, and by fifth grade there are few hands remaining.

As one of those kids that always wanted to be an artist, I used to draw on anything, including the walls of my room, and sometimes the newly painted bookshelves in the living room, finding the “bank canvas” irresistible, until being informed they were not canvases.

However, like many kids, I came from a family that viewed art, if not suspiciously, not as a serious endeavor. Instead I was encouraged to be an architect, something more useful, and more employable, and after many years of resisting the suggestion, I enrolled in architecture school and eventually became a licensed architect.

For most of my career I felt somewhat removed from the profession, alienated from its underlying premise that the new was somehow going to be better than the old, its futurism and utopianism seeming messianic and egotistical, somehow.

The exception was my opportunity to work as an apprentice for the architect, Frank O. Gehry at a point in his career when he was transitioning from being a successful commercial architect to being a world renowned “starchitect” famous for, among other things, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao Spain.

Our relationship blossomed one day when I mentioned that something he was asking me to work on reminded me of a sculpture by the artist Michael Heiser, who, as it turned out, was a close friend of his. Frank was and remains an artist, with his closest friends being artists, and his work being derived artistically. That early experience with Frank was unique and not to be replicated again.

Fast forward several decades: After teaching design and theory at Harvard, MIT and RISD, years as a consulting architect, corporate architect, several in the investment business, and consulting as a capital project manager, I took up painting in 2010.

My inspiration for taking the step came from Susan Langer’s On Becoming an Artist. This gave me the confidence to experience art-making as mindfulness and not be overly concerned about the outcome. Here’s my first painting, on May 2, 2010.

Years later, a re-reading by David Bookbinder of Steven Pressfield’s War of Art in the Artist Group we formed convinced me that it was time to take the outcome seriously. Some recent paintings appear below. There have been innumerable bad paintings and good paintings in between these and that first one, but I now understand the imperative of painting as a means of reconciling myself with existence, reconnecting to the present, and I feel at last that I have indeed become an artist.

Artist Statement (in progress)

Longing and memory, landscape remains ancient and newborn. Conditions evoke primal responses; the back-lit hedge wall, the deep, dark leaves of late summer, fall approaching, winter’s dusk, the sudden damp cold, anticipation of a warm fire, the quiet loneliness of childhood exploring the thicket, first light, dizzying mid-day, timeless afternoon, chiaroscuro evening, the churning majesty of the sea, the shelter of the rocks and the step into the unreturnable deep.

Interiorizing the landscape through painting, setting a point of view, making a clearing in the forest, a shelter in the thicket, or in the cave – that’s what my work as a landscape painter is about.


P.S.
Book News: In my ongoing effort to climb the self-publishing hill, I’m experimenting with price management. I’ve dropped the price of my eBook Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas to $4.99 on Amazon. You can download it here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAAFU3S

The compact edition, Paths to Wholeness: Selections is still free, here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1NV2MA

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Acceptance

Acceptance: It’s Already There


My path to acceptance has been mainly through loss: lost career opportunities, relationships, health and, nearly, the loss of my life. Acceptance has come with the recognition that each loss has also been an opening.

A major turning point occurred several years ago. At that time I was bleeding internally and before I noticed any symptoms, I had already lost about 25% of my blood supply. Though less drastic than a brush with death a few years before, this situation recalled the terror of that time. I grew steadily weaker and underwent a series of increasingly invasive tests, but no diagnosis or treatment emerged. I consulted alternative healers and frantically scanned the Internet. I imagined fatal outcomes. And then one day I stopped fretting.

A Buddhist friend had given me this prayer, with instructions to recite it often, without judgment:

Please grant me enough wisdom and courage to be free from delusion. If I am supposed to get sick, let me get sick, and I’ll be happy. May this sickness purify my negative karma and the sickness of all sentient beings. If I am supposed to be healed, let all my sickness and confusion be healed, and I’ll be happy. May all sentient beings be healed and filled with happiness. If I am supposed to die, let me die, and I’ll be happy. May all the delusion and the causes of suffering of sentient beings die. If I am supposed to live a long life, let me live a long life, and I’ll be happy. May my life be meaningful in service to sentient beings. If my life is to be cut short, let it be cut short, and I’ll be happy. May I and all others be free from attachment and aversion.

At first, welcoming disease or death scared me even more, but with each recitation, I grew calmer. While I waited for test results, I began to have a different relationship with time. Whether I would live or die, whether I would heal by myself, with interventions, or not at all, was already out there in my future, waiting for me to arrive. I didn’t have to plan. I didn’t have to do anything differently. I just had to move through time, making the best choices I could, until my fate became clear. I stopped looking things up on the Internet and returned to my work as a therapist.

That moment of acceptance was liberating. Since then, I have been increasingly able to generalize the process. It’s all, already, there. I don’t need to fret. I don’t need to push. I just need to live my life to the best of my ability and, of the infinite possible futures, I will inevitably arrive at the one that is mine.

If there is one main factor that divides those of us who do not change from those who do, I think it is acceptance: of who we are, how we got to where we are, and that we – and only we – have the power to free ourselves.

Acceptance is being who we are, in each succession of present moments, swayed neither by avoiding what we fear nor by clinging to what we think we can’t live without. In the absence of acceptance, there can be no forward movement. The hidden patterns that create clinging attachment and fearful aversion take over, repeating themselves in our minds, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. We grow older, and the external circumstances of our lives change, but inside it’s, as the Talking Heads put it, “the same as it ever was, same as it ever was, same as it ever was.”

Acceptance is the door that closes one life chapter and allows another to open. Acceptance is the last of Elizabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of loss and a necessary precursor to moving on from mourning. Acceptance is the first of the 12 steps in addiction recovery programs and essential to beginning a sober life. Acceptance of self, and of responsibility for change, is the start of true recovery from the many unhappinesses that may come our way. Acceptance can be painful, but it is a pain that unburdens. In difficult circumstances, acceptance is the thing most of us try hardest to sidestep – and then try even harder to achieve. In its simplest form, acceptance is saying to ourselves, “Although I may be suffering, I can be content now. Yes, there are things I would like to change, and when I change them my life may have more ease, but I can already be content with my current circumstances.”

Accepting our real state, no matter what it is, begins the shift from victim – of external circumstances, of thoughts and feelings, of physical challenges, of past injuries – to victor.

More anon,
– David

From: Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, © 2016, David J. Bookbinder
Buy onAmazon  –  BookBaby  –  B&N  – BooksaMillion (print version)
Buy on: Kindle  – Nook  – iTunes  – Kobo (eBook version)

Also available:
52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book and
52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book

P.S. The Goodreads Giveaway for Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas and the Goodreads Giveaway for 52 (more) Flower Mandalas end tomorrow, January 5th. Last chance to enter!

P.P.S. Yesterday, Charity Rowell-Stansbury, who runs the book review blog On My Kindle, did a nice email interview on me and Paths to Wholeness and posted it here: http://www.onmykindle.net/2017/01/featured-title-paths-to-wholeness.html

David J. Bookbinder, LMHC
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org

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Post-Christmas giveaways!

On Goodreads, we’re giving away one copy of Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas and five copies of 52 (more) Flower Mandalas, beginning the day after Christmas, for those of you who wanted just a little more in your stocking (or equivalent).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Paths to Wholeness by David J. Bookbinder

Paths to Wholeness

by David J. Bookbinder

Giveaway ends January 03, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

52 (more) Flower Mandalas by David J. Bookbinder

52 (more) Flower Mandalas

by David J. Bookbinder

Giveaway ends January 05, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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Mary O’Malley: An Introduction

maryomalleycollage01_600x200

Mary O’Malley: An Introduction

One of the things I most like doing is introducing interesting artists to readers and telling, or letting them tell, their story. Because I love her work, and because of our recent collaboration on our coloring book for adults, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas, I’d like to start with Mary O’Malley.

Mary and I met about a year ago. I had just released the coloring book 52 Flower Mandalas and was thinking of doing a sequel. A mutual friend said, “You have to talk to Mary! Her work is already like a beautifully colored coloring book!” I took a look at her website, maryomalleyart, and I was awestruck.

Mary was the perfect collaborator. She understood the coloring book concept immediately, she was already a flower and mandala artist (and more), and she saw how to transform the Flower Mandalas into illustrations that colorists could interpret in ways I would never have imagined. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of her work on the book with “before” (David) and “after” (Mary) examples.

Click the image below to download a colorable sampler of some of the Flower Mandalas and the illustrations Mary created from them.

maryomalleycollage03_600x600

I asked Mary to say a bit about her art.

“I’ve been making art my whole life. As a child, I was very shy and quiet, and drawing became my way of communicating with the world, and I suppose it still is today. It was never a question for me what I wanted to do with my life. I knew from an early age that I wanted to become an artist.

“I find inspiration for my work in many places (nature, botanical art, textile and surface design, folk art, fractals, fashion, architecture, etc.) I keep a large database and archive of images I’ve collected (from books, magazines, the internet, and my own photos) as well as sketchbooks to serve as jumping off points for pieces. I also think discipline is extremely important to keep ideas flowing. A lot of my ideas come from previous work; they are born out of the experience and process of making work. Having a regular art practice keeps me open to ideas when they come and also for me to find them in unexpected places.

maryomalleycollage02_600x170“Because my work is so detail-oriented, it becomes a very meditative practice for me. Especially with my silver ink on black paper pieces, which I begin with minimal planning. The black paper I use will show any pencil or eraser marks, so I have to keep any sketching to a minimum. This keeps me very present when I’m working.

maryomalleycollage04_600x137

“Working on the coloring book was a very satisfying creative experience for me. Once I got past the practical hurdle of figuring out the best and most efficient way to create the drawings, I was able to really enjoy the process of transforming the photographs into images that would be fun, interesting, and challenging to color. What was most fun for me is how much each mandala surprised me; I would look at David’s photograph, and think I had some idea of how my drawing would turn out. But almost every time, I was pleasantly surprised at the final outcome. I got to really spend time with each flower, look at it really deeply, and discover all the complexities and beauty in them. I feel like I got some sense of what a colorist will experience when coloring these mandalas.”

You can buy 52 (more) Flower Mandalas here.


P.S. You can get a peek at Mary’s new coloring book sampler here.
P.P.S. You can find out more about 52 (more) Flower Mandalas here.
P.P.P.S. You can download the $6.99 eBook version of Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas here.


Mary’s work can be seen at:
Walker Contemporary, Waitsfield, VT: www.walkercontemporary.com
13 Forest Gallery, Arlington, MA: www.13forest.com
Her website: www.maryomalleyart.com
You can also buy high-quality reproduction prints (and a limited selection of originals) in her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/maryomalleyart

You can follow her at:
www.facebook.com/maryomalleyart
www.instagram.com/maryomalleyart
www.twitter.com/maryomalleyart

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Two new books! And a new imprint!

Two new books! And a new imprint!

I’m back. Really.

Moving forward, you’ll be hearing from me on a regular basis, with new images and new writing about art, healing, and transformation, as well as excerpts from books and announcements of publications and events.

But meanwhile…

After months of looking for a traditional publisher for my Kickstarted book of essays and Flower Mandalas, and after a mixed experience with a traditional publisher for an adult coloring book, I’ve decided to “go rogue” and create my own imprint, Transformations Press.

In the future, I hope to publish books by other authors, but I’m starting out with two of my own: a new version of the Flower Mandalas book, Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, and a new coloring book for adults, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Reliefa collaboration with artist Mary O’Mally. I love the way both books turned out, and I hope my readers will, too.

Paths to Wholeness is available now from the printer (BookBaby) and is available for preorder from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers (ship date 12/16). 52 (more) Flower Mandalas is available now on Amazon and will be available at other retailers soon. An eBook version of Paths to Wholeness will be appearing at online retailers within the next few days.

Special offers for 2016:

  • Between now and the end of this year, when you order Paths to Wholeness on Amazon, you can get the eBook version for $0.99 through Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program (see link to Matchbook at the bottom of the Kindle edition).
  • During the preorder period, which ends December 15th, Barnes & Noble is offering Paths to Wholeness at a deeply discounted rate.
  • Between now and the end of this year, when you order 52 (more) Flower Mandalas on Amazon, you can get 52 (more) Flower Mandalas: Selections for free! This is a printable PDF of selections from the full book, matching several of Mary O’Malley’s exquisite illustations with the images that inspired them. To receive this free book, email a copy of your Amazon receipt to transformations@davidbookbinder.com

To paraphrase journalist Jimmy Breslin, if you don’t blow your own horn, nobody else will. These are beautiful books and terrific Christmas or Chanukah presents. Please let others in your circle know about them.

Here are some links:

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas:
At BookBaby (available now): http://store.bookbaby.com/book/Paths-to-Wholeness
At Amazon (ships 12/16): http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984699406
At Barnes & Noble (ships 12/16): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/paths-to-wholeness-david-bookbinder/1125158752?ean=9780984699407

Paths to Wholeness: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas

52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief:
At Amazon (available now): http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984699422

52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief52 (more) Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief

Thanks again for your support, without which I would never have completed either of these books!

More anon,
– David
David J. Bookbinder, LMHC
978-395-1292
http://www.transformationspress.org
http://www.davidbookbinder.com
http://www.flowermandalas.org
http://www.facebook.com/flowermandalas
http://www.instagram.com/flowermandalas

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Mandalas, healing … and coloring!

On May 22, from 6:30-7:30 pm, I’ll be reading from my book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation and also talking about using mandalas for meditation, healing… and coloring! The presentation will be at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, with five miles of trails for folks of all abilities to enjoy.

Click here to sign up for the presentation.

Copies of Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation and of the coloring book Emily Sper and I produced, 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief, will be available for sale. Sample coloring pages will be available from 52 Flower Mandalas and from a new, upcoming Flower Mandalas coloring book I’m doing with artist Mary O’Mallory, 52 (more) Flower Mandalas.

The $5 program registration fee includes admission to the sanctuary that day and you are welcome to walk the trails before the Flower Mandalas program. In addition, the sanctuary is running a yoga program from 4:30-5:30 pm, which you can separately register for here.

Nature, art, and yoga — a nice way to spend an afternoon and evening in Worcester, MA. Hope to see you there!

That’s it for now –

David

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Flower Mandalas: the opera, country music, wildlife sanctuary, and the airwaves

Flower Mandalas: the opera, country music, and wildlife sanctuaries

Just a quick update on what’s happening with the Flower Mandalas.

Opera: The “Pink Peony I” Flower Mandala is being used by the Old Opera House in Frankfurt, Germany, on the cover of their 2016-2017 program, on their website, and on 500 large posters hung throughout the city.

Music: The Brazilian band Nemphis Belle, singing in a Country Western style in English, has released an album called It’s Amazing II. Here’s a link to the track “Dancing Wolves”: https://soundcloud.com/nemphis-belle/dancing-wolves. They’re really good!

Coloring: I was recently interviewed on Paula Joyce’s radio show Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit. On the show we talked about mandalas, the origin of the coloring book Emily Sper and I released in December (52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief,) and the ways I have seen people use coloring to process feelings, work through problems, achieve a meditative state and, of course, explore creativity and just have fun.

Here’s a link to the episode. My interview starts about 21 minutes into the show: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/91245/adult-coloring-books-for-fun-relaxation-and-healing

Art opening: And, last but not least, my Flower Mandala images will be on display beginning May 22, 2016 at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England, with five miles of trails for folks of all abilities to enjoy.

On May 22, from 6:30-7:30pm, I’ll be reading from my book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Meditation and also talking about using mandalas for meditation, healing… and coloring! Copies of the coloring book will be available for sale, as well sample coloring pages. You can sign up for the presentation here: http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/program-catalog#program:sanctuary=4:keywords=mandala:program_code=46194

Program registration includes admission to the sanctuary that day and you are welcome to walk the trails before the Flower Mandalas program. In addition, the sanctuary is running a yoga program from 4:30-5:30pm.

Nature, art, and yoga: a nice way to spend an afternoon and evening in Worcester, MA. Hope to see you there!

That’s it for now –

David

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, art, Coloring, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower mandala, healing, mandala, photography, transformation | Leave a comment

The Garbage and the Flowers (Wabi-Sabi)

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For the last several years, I’ve found myself attracted to the dead leaves I see on the ground as I walk, particularly those in late fall and winter. I’ve taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures of them. A friend’s mentioning to me the concept of wabi-sabi helped me understand why. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese term for finding the beauty in imperfection, and accepting the cycle of birth, growth, aging, death, and decay. I’m 64. It’s about time.

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The Buddhist teacher and writer Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this cycle when he speaks of seeing the garbage in the flowers and the flowers in the garbage. “When we look at garbage,” he writes, “we also see the non-garbage elements: we see the flower there. Good organic gardeners see that. When they look at a garbage heap they see cucumbers and lettuce. That is why they do not throw garbage away.They keep garbage in order to transform it back into cucumbers and lettuce.”

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“If a flower can become garbage,” Thich Nhat Hanh explains, “then garbage can become flowers.The flower does not consider garbage as an enemy or panic when becoming garbage, nor does the garbage become depressed and view the flower as an enemy. They realize the nature of interbeing. In Buddhist therapy we preserve the garbage within ourselves.We do not want to throw it out because if we do, we have nothing left with which to make our flowers grow.”

Mandala-1-Dec-20150001-1-500x500 Dandelion

By colorists emmysuu and Jaclyn

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas coloring bookhttp://www.amazon.com/52-Flower-Mandalas-Coloring-Inspiration/dp/1682302016/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Download a full-resolution coloring book samplerhttp://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, art, Copyright, flower mandala, photography, transformation | Leave a comment

Transmigration of Flower Mandala essence

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More soon on the topic of transforming the essence of one type of art into another, but both the therapist and the artist in me wanted to convey a personal example by showing how my Flower Mandalas were transformed by artist Emily Sper into line art for our coloring book, 52 Flower Mandalas.

Below is part of a table I created of all 52 mandalas, in both photographic and line art forms. You can download the whole table here: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/Flower-Mandala-index.pdf.

Banner image

To get a sense of the parallels between the original book and the coloring book, download a preview of the original Flower Mandalas book here: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/uploads/Fifty_Two_Flower_Mandalas_Preview.pdf and a full-resolution sampler of the coloring book here: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

I hope you find this example, and this process, interesting. I’d love to hear any questions or comments on the images, the illustrations, or the transformative process we went through to go from one set of images to the other. I’m also interested in any examples you can point to or talk about from your own experience of this kind of collaboration.

Thanks!
– David
David J. Bookbinder​, LMHC

Create a review or buy the book on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/52-Flower-Mandalas-Coloring-Inspiration/dp/1682302016/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Create a review or enter the giveaway on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164003-52-flower-mandalas-an-adult-coloring-book-for-inspiration-and-stress-re
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a513935552/
Our Diversion Books page: http://diversionbooks.com/ebooks/52-flower-mandalas-adult-coloring-book-inspiration-and-stress-relief
Download a full-resolution coloring book sampler: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, art, Coloring, Copyright, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower, flower mandala, Flower Mandalas Project, mandala, request, technique, transformation | Comments Off on Transmigration of Flower Mandala essence

Raffles, reviews, and samples! Oh my!

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Breaking news! I’ve been finding out more from clients and colorists about coloring and it’s meditative qualities and will write another post on that soon, but some time-sensitive events are happening with 52 Flower Mandalas. Before I get to those events, though, here are two more completed illustrations from colorist C.G. Lynee, which she entitled “Arbor” and “Naos”:

arbor_600x600Naos_600x600

And now, the news. First, the coloring book is live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online booksellers. Those who preordered should be getting your books within the next day or two. NOTE: It would be very helpful if you wrote a brief review on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads.com (or even better, post the review in multiple places). We think this is a uniquely interesting book and hope you will, too.

And, we have created raffles for several copies on Goodreads.com and Rafflecopter.com. These will be available for the next few days. Enter now to win a copy of 52 Flower Mandalas.

Some links:

Create a review or buy the book on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/52-Flower-Mandalas-Coloring-Inspiration/dp/1682302016/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Create a review or enter the giveaway on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/164003-52-flower-mandalas-an-adult-coloring-book-for-inspiration-and-stress-re
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a513935552/
Our Diversion Books page: http://diversionbooks.com/ebooks/52-flower-mandalas-adult-coloring-book-inspiration-and-stress-relief
Download a full-resolution coloring book sampler: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/wp-content/uploads/sampler_52FlowerMandalas_pages.pdf

And last, but very far from least, here are two more completed illustrations by C.G. Lynee, “Chrysalis” and “Titanides.” You can all view the completed drawings colorists have sent me so far, or post your own, on the Colorist Gallery page: http://www.davidbookbinder.com/books/gallery

Thanks!
– David

Chrysalis_600x600Titanides_600x600

Posted in 52 Flower Mandalas, art, Coloring, Copyright, flower, flower mandala, mandala, Publication, request | Leave a comment

Can I pick your brains?

Share 52 Flower Mandalas with your friends!

Art Bars, Coloring Parties, other audiences

Now that our coloring book 52 Flower Mandalas is completed, I’d like to find more ways to get it out into the world. Marketing and promotion, alas, have never been my strengths, so I’d appreciate some advice and some help.

A friend suggested that because coloring is a relaxing, meditative, but also a creative activity, 52 Flower Mandalas would be an asset to HR departments (who could use it in workshops), schools (where it could be used as a relaxation technique with teachers and older students), and as an alternative to “art bars” and “painting nights” at various venues. All of this made sense, but how to get from idea to actuality is something of a mystery to me.

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So, I am asking you for suggestions on how to approach these venues, for specific places I might contact, and for places you would be willing to contact that could be interested in using this book in workshops or other coloring gatherings.

Thanks for thinking about this!

More anon,
David

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book from Amazon.com
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list and get a free digital sampler of the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Visit the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book website, where you can upload your creations and check out what other colorists have done

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page

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On Coloring

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I stumbled into coloring. Shortly after I completed a Kickstarter campaign for my book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas: A Mediation, a friend suggested that I convert the images to illustrations and create a coloring book — not for children, but for adults. Until then, I had never even heard of coloring books for adults. Now, months later, I see that it’s a whole world. One of the colorists who advised me on coloring books during the creation of 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief helped unravel the mystery for me. She wrote:

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“Untitled” by Sarah Blue

“Why color at all? Because it’s PLAY. Because creativity renews the whole person and sparks other ideas not related to the coloring — your mind has time to go into an almost meditative state. Because it’s fun. Most kids love to color and hate giving it up. Go back to your inner kid and have fun. You might want to make a flower as realistic as possible, or you might choose a total fantasy version — say in 60’s tie dye colors. You might pay attention to the mandala form of each design — how it can be used for meditation and focus. Or use coloring as a kind of therapy, because personal expression is therapeutic, helps stop rumination, relaxes. But mostly, coloring is about play and the love of color.

“Maybe one has to be a bit of a rebel to color as an adult — to take on that child-oriented activity again. But most of us never did really want to give it up. Something magic happens when the design is colored to one’s satisfaction. Here’s something no one else in the world did or could do. I am an individual. I have a distinct view of the world and I express it here. So, relax and go with your gut choices. There’s no particular way it is supposed to turn out. Just pick the colors that appeal to you for that design and use them to create your individual vision.”

Since this project begain, I’ve worked with a variety of people who color. Some do it simply to play. Some to relax. Some to enter a different mental/emotional/spiritual space, and others as a kind of self-therapy. I’ve started using coloring with some of my anxious clients. One told me she began in an angry mood and saw, in the design, what looked to her like a bull. She worked out her anger coloring the “bulls” and then saw another pattern that reminded her of a heart. Coloring those hearts, her own heart opened.

Working with these ilustrations has opened my own eyes, and my heart, to another way of seeing creativity. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

David

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book from Amazon.com
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list and get a free digital sampler of the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Visit the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book website, where you can upload your creations and check out what other colorists have done

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page

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“Untitled,” a colorist creation by S. Everett

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“Untitled,” a colorist creation by S. Everett, one of the colorists I’ve been working with on “52 Flower Mandalas.” See http://davidbookbinder/books/gallery for the latest colorist creations.

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“Gateway,” a colorist creation by C.G. Lynee

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“Gateway,” a colorist creation by C.G. Lynee, one of the colorists I’ve been working with on “52 Flower Mandalas.” See http://davidbookbinder/books/gallery for the latest colorist creations.

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Something new: “52 Flower Mandalas” coloring book for adults

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52FM cover and spread

Child psychologists observe that children are most creative when they’re at play. The same principle also applies to most adults.

With 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief, you can return to your inner child … play. Coloring relaxes and renews, sparks ideas, relieves stress, helps work through emotions — and it’s fun!

The stunning Flower Mandala illustrations in this just-released coloring book were created by artist Emily Sper from 52 of my Flower Mandala images. In her designs, Emily has captured the essence of the Flower Mandalas and translated them into a family of illustrations that invite you to create your own unique works of art, experimenting with form, pattern, shading, and layering in a deeply personal way.

52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book for Inspiration and Stress Relief was a collaboration. Now, we invite you to collaborate with us, adding to these illustrations your own unique interpretations.

Preorder before December 1, 2015 for a special bonus collection of downloadable illustrations! (More soon on how to claim your bonus.)

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas: An Adult Coloring Book from Amazon.com
Subscribe to the Flower Mandalas mailing list and get a free digital sampler of the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Visit the 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book website, where you can upload your creations and check out what other colorists have done

Buy Flower Mandala prints: Buy prints
Request the 15 Flower Mandalas screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Discussion: Facebook Flower Mandalas page

Posted in Coloring, Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas, flower mandala, mandala | Leave a comment