Monday, May 10, 2010

Everyday Creative: Being Mindful

This month, unlike last month, was really challenging for me to complete. The task this time was to be mindful. I must admit that while spring is usually a time for renewal and reflection, I’ve spent mine feeling completely out of sorts, which is why I was excited to focus on being mindful with the slight hope that it would bring some peace to the chaos I was feeling.

The first thing I needed to do was to rouse myself out of the dream sleep that so many of us are in. How many of us often feel like life is passing us by, without even a chance to stop and enjoy it? I know that’s how I’ve been feeling, so I relished the thought of delving into this further and finding ways out of it.

I began by being ever vigilant, as Maisel suggests, about being mindful. I am one of those people who stop every so often, while working to listen to my breath or glance out at the blue sky just to regain focus, but again this spring was different. I appreciated the exercise, which required me to do “brain surgery.” By that I mean, really listening to myself and when a worry arose I imagined taking it from my mind, tossing it in some container and sealing it up. I am visual person, so using that imagery really helped.

The next few weeks focused more on critical thinking and analytical skills. After completing graduate school, in a very theoretical discipline, I am pretty convinced that I’ve got those skills down. Although, I do tend to over-use them so thought this was a good time to analyze that!

Toward the end of the month, I was asked to study a blade a grass – yes, just one single blade. Why? You may ask. Well, as Maisel explains the answer is two-fold. First, it gets us away from thinking about our project and gets us back into nature – a truly great inspiration. Also, it reminds us how just a single blade of grass, as simple as it may look, is actually part of a larger structure – an entire patch of grass. Putting that into perspective allowed me to also put my chaotic spring into perspective.

Finally, I finished the month by losing myself and not getting caught up in the petty day-to-day trivialities that can often clog our minds and hamper our creativity. The last exercise asked me to picture a dumpster and each day taking something like fear, anger, guilt, etc and depositing it in the dumpster and ridding my mind of it, because when you think about it there’s really no tangible use for it.

  • Next month I’ll “Be Exploring."

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