By Carol Omer
“We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released.” -Dr Jean Houston
My name is Carol Omer, I am a certified life coach and author. I have worked in domestic violence shelters and women’s healing and empowerment programs for almost 30 years and my passion is to find the stories and the processes that connect all women regardless of age, culture, financial status or sexuality. Although I live in Australia, my American sisters and teachers are core to the work that I do and the things I create to make the world a more peaceful, equitable place.
In 2015 my first book The Big Girls Little Coloring Book was published in America. It is a life coaching and stress relief book of medARTations for women. There are now several Big Girls Coloring Circles that meet regularly in the United States and Canada.
My work in both homeless and staff training settings has taught me that it is important to communicate in ways that can reach a vast audience. We can’t always assume that everyone speaks or reads the same language. However pictures and symbols require no words and in women’s shelters an image of women of different ethnicity standing side by side transmits the message that the shelter is a place of acceptance and sisterhood for all women.
On my quest to discover the things that unite us as women I was fortunate enough to attend the training of Dr. Jean Houston. Her work in the areas of mythology, psychology, neuroscience, creativity and storytelling crystallized my belief in the unifying thread that weaves through all women’s lives.
When Oprah Winfrey invited Jean as a guest on Super Soul Sunday, she was awestruck by her reference to the lure of our becoming and the call to a greater life that is within us all.
These are some of the core commonalities that women share, regardless of their age, gender reference, religious or cultural beliefs:
- Women have a need to feel safe and secure
- We all have a yearning for belonging and connection
- Most women seek to make a difference in the world whilst also making sense of the world
- The creativity that we were immersed in as children still seeks expression in our lives today
- Learning how to live, to forgive and to be of service are often at the heart of both our restlessness and our inner peace
What do Coloring Books have to do with Women’s Empowerment?
In the late 90’s I began to create mandala coloring sheets to accompany the personal development information that I was delivering to women in shelters and for staff training.
I had attended many workshops and training settings where power point presentations, butchers paper and spoken feedback were the tools for communication but rarely were we invited to share our ideas by using our hands. At the same time I witnessed many women in our shelters struggling to communicate their stories, their hope and their visions by using the traditional processes of counselling and group training. As one of the women in our team said “We are trying to bring about change in a system that has been created by men. Where has creativity and our connection to nature gone?”
I began to create a coloring page to accompany every topic in my personal development group and for the first time I saw the magic of coloring re-emerge from the place we loved as children.
It is not surprising that coloring books for adults have been on the top selling list on Amazon for almost two years! The best-kept secret in women’s well-being is a secret no longer!
How can you create a Coloring and Conversation Circle?
All you need is your coloring pencils, some delicious snacks and refreshments, your coloring book of course and enough time to be able to relax and immerse into the peace and the synergy that arises when women gather in the creative, conversational space. You may like to choose a theme for your Circle such as The woman who inspired me or you might like to just allow the conversation to unfold and amble on its natural course.
We gather both indoors and outdoors for our Coloring and Conversation Circle. When a friend was diagnosed with cancer, we met around the table and colored the I Embrace the Healing Power of Nature mandala as we created a space for our friend to share her diagnosis, her tears, her fears and her optimism.
As a staff team we have gathered outdoors for a Coloring Picnic and enjoyed the creative freedom and fresh air that is often lacking in the artificial environment of the office space.
What is my Vision for the Big Girls Little Coloring Book series?
- I would like my coloring books to be available to women in prisons, homeless and domestic violence shelters across the world
- I hold the vision for Coloring and Conversation Circles to be a place where women of all ages, financial status, ethnicity and religious beliefs gather to share stories and laughter, creativity and ACTION plans together
- By creating coloring books for women that incorporate healing, empowerment, goal setting and tools for action I truly believe that women across America, and the world, will have access to that unifying thread that weaves through all of our lives.
Creativity requires us to value hands and imagination equally as we do our intellectual processes as women everywhere travel the journey of change together.
Carol Omer, Artist/Cert Life Coach LCI, Simply Splendid Productions.
Simply Splendid Productions recognises that we are living and creating on traditional Aboriginal Land and we acknowledge our respect and appreciation to the Kaurna people.