Frankie Perry Carboni from Sardina, Italy, took the 3 Challenge. Here's her story...
I signed up for the #stoplookbreathecreate 3 Challenge initiative with some apprehension – would I sabotage my own efforts with my nemesis procrastination? It's the one thing that has always spoiled all of the projects I've taken part in, and as I realise now, comes from a place of fear and a sense of lack of worth.
To my amazement and joy, nothing turned out as I expected. Instead of struggling along with my usual thinking, that nothing was good enough, nothing was worthy of publishing, somewhere in the middle of the three weeks, I realised I had found a creative rhythm; the voice of the critic, which had haunted me since my dismal performance at art school in the 70's, was finally silenced and most importantly I was loving what I was doing.
Easing in with mindful photography
Starting with photography was a shrewd choice on Wendy Ann's part. We all take photos, all of the time. We have the phones, we have the apps, they are a part of our life documentation. It's not scary or intimidating. To stand and look at something, to breathe, to connect and to capture that moment was a gentle and encouraging start to the project. I started with a definite idea of what I would photograph, then circumstances changed - but instead of feeling discouraged, I discovered I could be kind to myself, I could accept what was and simply adapt. That in itself was a huge step forward.
Mindful drawing - letting go
My experience with the drawing was quite extraordinary – it had a surprisingly physical dimension too. I started small, with a tiny sketch book and very small simple drawings of what was immediately in front of me. I felt slightly cramped by these sketches, they seemed to echo that.
I realised I was holding on too tight, to the past, to a loss of confidence in my drawing that I had never recovered. So I stopped fighting. Just as in my meditation practice, I stepped up to the drawing paper with no expectations and no ideas. I did just what I felt like. I went bigger. I opened up my diaphragm and my arms, I let my wrists relax and my pen run free. I drew something easy and familiar that I see everyday – myself. I'd found my mojo and it set me free.
Mindful writing at the end of the day
As with starting the day in bed drawing, I chose to end the day in bed, or on the way to bed, writing. Late at night, in the stillness and the heat, there was so much to hear, to feel, to connect with. Some nights I was so tired I thought I couldn't put pen to paper, but at this stage, I knew I would. Because it felt right, like a natural extension of everything that had come before. And using time parameters really worked for me, it disciplined me, kept me focused.
This is not the first project I've done with Wendy Ann and Art of Mindfulness, I know it won't be the last. Her role as teacher, mentor and dharma sister has effectively raised my creativity from the dead, gently supported me, allowed me to show myself compassion and given me back the confidence and joy in making marks and words that had been lost for years. I feel like I'm just beginning and it's good.