Full disclosure: October is a busy month for me. As the temperature drops and the days steadily get shorter, I notice I’m starting to slip in my resolve to stay on top of things and have a great semester. It’s just that time of year. As university students, we are always running around, cramming our brains full of information, exhausting our bodies and not taking into account the effect that all this activity has on our minds. So, in light of the recent World Mental Health Day, let’s take a moment to focus on the state of our minds.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been attending the meditative colouring events hosted by Ellie Hummel, Concordia’s chaplain who heads the Multi-faith and Spirituality Centre (MFSC). Hummel saw the need for creating this weekly event about a year ago, when students were coming to the centre asking about meditation. “People often think ‘I just need everything to slow down,’” she said. “In reality that doesn’t happen, so how do we find places or moments that help us slow down?”
Enter meditative colouring. Over the last few years, you might have seen an endless parade of adult colouring books in shop windows; maybe you even bought one for yourself or as a gift. But just because they are hot ticket items, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the healing properties that colouring books possess, if we let them. Hummel says that “[meditation can be] a real challenge; it’s hard to just sit and breathe, or focus on a word. Colouring doesn’t take a lot of skill, and the idea is that it takes us away from everyday thoughts.”
Everything required for the 1-hour meditative colouring session is provided, including creative designs and colouring pencils. Towards the end of the session, Ellie proposes a ten minute period of silence, or simply to focus on the sounds of the environment. By the end of it, you have a bright, beautiful design to take home with you and hopefully a spot of clarity in your mind.
Aside from colouring, the MFSC also organizes meditative workshops throughout the week using drumming and cooking, as well as more traditional methods of meditation. The MFSC collaborates with many other departments on campus including the International Students Office, Aboriginal Resource Centre, Psychological and Counselling Services, and many Concordia Student Union groups to provide a whole host of services and events that ensure the well-being of Concordia students.
While the MFSC’s upcoming Discover Multi-faith Concordia Fair promotes religious diversity and acceptance, Hummel also promotes the social aspect of these events, as well as an emergency food fund available to students in financial need (by appointment).