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
Now let’s do a bit of myth-busting. Let’s imagine for a minute that creative energy – or inspiration, is like physical energy – or wellbeing. Our physical energy fluctuates all the time, some days our step is full of bounce and we’re active from morning to night. At other times we drag ourselves through the day, collapsing into bed utterly exhausted at the end of it. Sometimes we can’t get up in the morning at all, we take a duvet day, or are simply unwell or even very ill. Our fluctuating physical energy is something we’ve learned to accept. It can be frustrating or even depressing when our energy levels are low, or low on a regular basis, but we don’t expect them to be consistently high.
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 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information about Wendy Ann, visit here.
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.
hen we’re mindfully drawing we keep a light mindful awareness on our experience of drawing, checking-in, which means we notice when the comparing thoughts, the I’m-not-as-good-as thoughts, the look-what-they’re-doing-it’s-better-than-mine thoughts appear. And because we’re drawing mindfully we notice our reaction to these thoughts, the emotions that arise, and the capitulation, the sudden acceptance of these comparing thoughts as a truth. And because we’re drawing mindfully we notice that in the space after the comparing thought there is the opportunity for choice, the choice to breathe, feel the pencil or piece of charcoal in our hand, to connect with our heart and not compare.
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.
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
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
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.
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.