Mindfulness

Mindfulness and Creativity: Inspirational Quote of the Month

Mindfulness and Creativity: Inspirational Quote of the Month

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We can mindfully choose our reality. I've been very aware once again this week of how art sustains me and how beauty sustains me. For me this isn't about escaping from reality though, but rather reminding myself that there are other realities right here and right now, and that how we use our minds, look at and think about the world, our life, our relationships is the reality we perceive.

Mindfulness and Creativity: Inspirational Quote of the Month

Mindfulness and Creativity: Inspirational Quote of the Month

Intimacy is the offering of our life in trust to life... And how hard is this to do at times?! This idea that we could just surrender to the great glorious messy painful joyful impermanence of it all - it flies in the face of fear, of holding on, of controlling. And yet when we make the offering, when we let go in trust - when we soften our resistance even a little, then inevitably we suffer less and are more happy.

Watching Shadows Meditation - a poem and video

Watching Shadows Meditation - a poem and video

Meditation is not
a feat

or a miracle. 
It is simply
sitting
watching shadows
until
there is
no watcher, 
or watching, only
flutter and
whisper
filling space.

Create true - forget about pretty

Create true - forget about pretty

THIS IS NOT PRETTY. We don't have to create pretty, just TRUE, dear folk. As true as we can. Being true is mostly not pretty. No pretty colours to put on our Insta. No resolved or finished either. When is life ever resolved or finished? When is a drawing? Mindfulness for me is about showing up every day and being truthful. THIS is what is happening. THIS is my experience. I'm being as truthful as I can with myself... 

My practice: Embodied Drawings project

My practice: Embodied Drawings project

Some of the #blindcontour drawings I've made in the last month immediately after meditating. I've decided to do another month of mindfully exploring mental and emotional states in relation to my experience of being embodied. As always this is about process not end results, about seeing, breathing, connecting with the moment - and enjoying myself enormously by just playing

The Conscious Interview on Huffington Post

The Conscious Interview on Huffington Post

This month features Wendy Ann Greenhalgh. Wendy Ann is a writer, artist and creative mindfulness teacher. She has been practising mindfulness meditation for twenty years and has worked with hundreds of people, helping them to rediscover their natural capacity for creativity and mindfulness. Wendy Ann is the author of Mindfulness and the Art of Drawing (Published by Leaping Hare Press) and teaches with the Mindfulness Project in London. She blogs on creativity and mindfulness here and shares her own creative mindfulness practice on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

For more information about Wendy Ann, visit here.

Mindfulness on International Women’s Day

Mindfulness on International Women’s Day

Mindfulness is one of the most radical things we can do in our lives because in practicing it we open to all the guilty, fearful, hidden places within ourselves and gently allow ourselves to experience them, letting whatever it *is* just be as it is – in the moment. It’s radical, because in the open space of mindfulness nothing need be hidden, ashamed, belittled or judged. It is radical because it transcends boundaries and barriers of gender, race, religion, age and sexuality. It is radical because it isn’t done to gain approval, assert power or pretend wisdom. It is radical because it’s done for no other reason than to know ourselves better, accept ourselves better, to become intimate and friendly with every experience we can possibly experience. And in doing so, we are so much more able to do that for those around us too.

Mindfulness, self-compassion and drawing ourselves

Mindfulness, self-compassion and drawing ourselves

Drawing ourselves, our faces, our bodies too, can be a transformative way of coming into a different relationship with our physical form. We are in the habit of looking at ourselves so harshly. We gaze in the mirror and often see only the bits we don’t like, that need fixing, or shoring up, or holding in, or combing over. Really, by the time we’ve finished looking, we’ve obliterated ourselves in a flood of thinking thinking thinking about our bodies that actually has nothing to do with what’s really there, and is the very opposite of loving-kindness or self-compassion.

Mindfulness for too much thinking

Mindfulness for too much thinking

Creative minds are amazing, they’re always assessing, viewing, processing and problem solving. Creative and imaginative, they have an extraordinary capacity for lateral thinking too, for wild intuitive leaps that defy logic. But those same creative minds also have a tendency to go into overdrive. Fueled by creative inspiration, their neural networks and synaptic relays keep on firing even when they haven’t got a painting, poem or film to work on. Often the hard thing isn’t getting them going, but getting them to stop.

4 Tips for making Colouring-in even more mindful

4 Tips for making Colouring-in even more mindful

Colouring-in books are no longer something we have to put away when the kids go to bed, and more and more people are rediscovering the fun and relaxation that picking up a pen or pencil brings.

Making space for mindfulness, wildness and beauty

Making space for mindfulness, wildness and beauty

we’re always coming from somewhere – going somewhere, there’s always someone waiting, which is why I use a mindfulness practice I call #stoplookbreathecreate. It works like this, wherever you are, wherever you’re going – slow down – pause – Stop. Look – notice what’s around, look up, look down – listen, smell, feel, taste it too. Breathe – breathing in and out we’re just here, present in the moment.

How creative mindfulness has transformed my experience of drawing

How creative mindfulness has transformed my experience of drawing

This morning I went to my first life drawing class in 17 years. 17 YEARS! Not only does this make me feel *ancient* – how can it be that 1998 and my Foundation Course were that long ago? I don’t know. But also – 17 years – why did I wait that long?

Learning to Let Go Part Two: Letting Go

Learning to Let Go Part Two: Letting Go

So how good are you at letting-go? In my last blog I wrote about my own experience with this, and explored in particular the idea that trying to solve the problem of holding-on with our minds, by willing ourselves to let go mentally or physically – come on you must, do it, relax! – was actually counterproductive. After all, it’s our minds that do all the holding on; controlling, pushing away certain experiences and chasing after others, sorting and sifting life, judging and fearing, trying to make things run the way we want them to.

Learning to Let Go Part One: Holding On

Learning to Let Go Part One: Holding On

By far the biggest challenge for me in life and in creativity, has been that of learning to let go – to let go with my mind, to let go with my body, and simply be. I think it’s a challenge that we all share. We are programmed for control – and when I say this I am talking about self-control, the attempt to exert an influence over our own thoughts, emotions and experiences whether in the mind or the body. And whilst some of this control is necessary, much of it isn’t. What’s more, it’s often not even particularly effective.

Developing happiness, kindness and compassion with creative mindfulness

Developing happiness, kindness and compassion with creative mindfulness

As we develop our practice of mindfulness, we start to notice that much of our emotional landscape is habitual, we take that path towards a certain feeling again and again. So too, thoughts, the same one, over and over. One of the great gifts of mindfulness is the space it offers to notice familiar currents of thinking or feeling and change them

Exploring creative blocks through mindfulness

Exploring creative blocks through mindfulness

We did a very helpful and revealing little coaching exercise during a recent Mindfulness for Writers course – I asked the writers attending to reflect on the obstacles they encountered to both meditating and writing. 

Mindfulness and social media – overcoming distractions mindfully

Mindfulness and social media – overcoming distractions mindfully

The first thing we need to do when we begin to get to grips with our distractions, is to start to become aware of our communication habits. We need to apply a little mindfulness through our day, and start to notice one very simple thing – are our communications necessary or unneccessary? Are they deliberate, mindful and useful – or are they compulsive, unfocused or distracting? This can be achieved very simply

Mindfulness for noticing the stories in our heads

Mindfulness for noticing the stories in our heads

Our minds are natural story-makers, they’re constantly creating; not just fiction, poetry, Facebook posts and blogs, but also tales about our pasts and about our futures; fables about why we’re not good enough, smart enough, could have done better; myths about our relationships, our talent (or lack of it), our fortune or misfortune. We have world-class imaginations, fantasising and daydreaming we excel at. But here’s the important thing to remember… it’s ALL fiction! Nothing that goes on in our heads is real. It’s just thoughts. Mindfulness helps us to wake up to this fact and it’s a liberation. Why? Because then you get to choose the stories, you get to select which tape you play.

Awakening to our direct experience

Awakening to our direct experience

The aim of mindfulness is to wake up, to come into the present moment, to see the thoughts in the mind as concepts or stories or holograms rather than realities. In this sense, mindfulness is the opposite of the mind-set we associate with most of the time. Of course, when we are completely focused on our creating, in the flow, we are totally present, but this kind of presence is still quite different from the clear awake presence that allows us to just directly experience reality without thinking, imagining, or conceptualising – instead encountering life through simply being.

Why mindfulness and writing go together

Why mindfulness and writing go together

When we write we get up-close-and-personal with the contents of our heads on a regular basis. Indeed as writers, we’re doing what mindfulness meditators do. In fact you could say – since mindfulness and writing are both creative, flowing activities requiring commitment, creativity and a mind that’s focused, fluid and flexible – that writers are naturally gifted mindfulness practitioners. That’s the good news.