I recently did a mindfulness course to help manage the anxiety I’ve been experiencing around work and other aspects of my life (mostly work at the moment). We did lots of meditations and breathing exercises and lying on the floor, and it was helpful. But taking the practice out of that classroom and into my everyday life has been a bit of a challenge. The one place I have found that mindfulness fits quite naturally with what I do is where I’m in the middle of making something.
I find I can sit and cut the little beauties above for quite some time and keep my sense of presence with the motion of the scissors and the curve of the petal. I use these flowers or stars or whatever you want to see in them in several ongoing projects at the moment, accumulating bagfuls of different coloured flowers as some painters may accumulate paint.
I know many people are finding colouring books helpful, and I have some really beautiful ones, but I have to say that they are not for me. I don’t seem to be able to focus in the same way when I’m working to someone else’s design. The other creative space I have found for a mindful practice is crochet. I’m only just learning this one, but there is something calming about the process of producing loop after loop, and working those looks into a growing creative whole.
There has been much said about the mental health benefits of creative work. I suspect that the mindful element to it is only part of what is happening and the way in which art can provide a useful channel for expressing, sharing and understanding emotions is potentially far more powerful in helping people. But I’ve found in my own creative space, a little work on mindfulness has been very helpful for me.