I manifested a mindfulness plate this year for Christmas. I’m someone who wonders about the energy I put out. Did someone pick up artistic vibes from me to think a colouring plate would channel my creativity? I write but that’s not the same thing as making visual art. When it comes to colouring or painting, I cannot say I’m any good.

This year is my green year. Maybe the meditation plate contained within it many shades of green with which to colour with.

When I opened up the box the plate and the paint were wrapped in, I saw that there was NOT ONE SHADE OF GREEN! DISASTER! I had a mini-meltdown. How could I have my green year without any green paint to use on this plate?

I’m a woman nearing 40, having a hissy fit over a colouring plate with no green paint. Looking back on this moment, I’m laughing. The plate had so much to teach me about control and letting go once I let it.

I learned that I can make green by mixing blue and yellow. Duh. I think that’s standard preschool knowledge.

So that’s what I did. I mixed my blue and yellow and got several shades of green. The plate was to be cool shades of blue and green to remind me the Turkish porcelains you’d see in sacred places like the Blue Mosque and countless other mosques adorning the Istanbul skyline over the shimmering dark blue waters of the Bosphorous.

So the plate’s first lesson: If you don’t see the colour you’re looking for, get creative and don’t be afraid to mix to your heart’s content to get the green you desire.

When I found the green, I looked back at the paint and there they were, a cool turquoise blue, orange of the hot summer sun, red of chillies drying in the summer heat, pink like the petals of roses, indigo like the waters of the Bosphorus. They wanted my brush to dip into them and carry them to the plate so they could do their job and lend themselves on this plate I was creating.

Lesson two, don’t leave any colours behind. They are all beautiful and evocative. Use the ones that call out to you, and you will see that the plate is all the more beautiful for having given them a chance.

Another thing I learned is that painting these damn plates is an exercise in frustration. Try as one might, even if you do have surgeon steady hands, the paint is bound to bleed past the black boundaries of the design. The instructions tell you to have a wet cotton bud handy to erase any of these mistakes. Yes, you can do it that way. It will probably result in you giving up on the plate.

For me, to keep getting the plate done, I had to put down the cotton bud and just push through. Mistakes and all.

Yes, I painted over the black line. Yes, the colour scheme was off on certain patterns. Yes, I couldn’t get the same shade of green on the various repetitions of the same design.

There were many faults in the execution.

But when I stood back and looked at the plate when it was all done, all I could see was the beauty of the colours.

They all smiled at me and brightened up my day. I felt so proud for exercising patience to finish the plate despite all the faults, frustrations and worries that it wouldn’t look right. I’d done it.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Buddhist customs but one ceremony that impressed me most when I saw it on The House of Cards was the mandalas. A few Buddhist monks work together to create an intricate design out of coloured sand. They work on this for weeks, concentrating fully on making it a picture of perfection only to brush it off the table as soon as they are finished.

To me as an artist, yes I am an artist now, the mandalas ceremony signifies that work is everything and then it’s nothing. While I’m working on my memoir, it will be my life’s obsession but when it’s done and it’s ready for an editor to cut through its helpless flesh to shape it into a thing of beauty, then for readers to consume it, it’s NOTHING of me. Like the colourful sand, it’s sent back into the universe.

With that spirit, I gave away my mindfulness plate. It is at Crows Nest Vinny’s. Its lessons will always be here and in my heart if I ever need to be reminded.

Thank you for your thoughts that brought me the mindfulness plate. My heart sings when I think about you and why you must have chosen that particular plate for me.

Over to you…

What were some unexpected presents you received over the years which made a difference in your life or how you perceive the world around you?