I am creative. Recently, though, I have not made it a priority to exercise those creative muscles in my life, probably because I am too busy working out, or gaining inspiration from the reality TV show du jour.
I want to draw more, paint again, and maybe learn to knit or crochet something. I believe it will calm me and prove a way to meditate while “doing something.” I am not one to sit in the lotus position, and get everything to be zen.
The arts engage all of my mental and physical forces into one activity. I’m not exactly sweating to the oldies, but there is a level of movement involved that is necessary for me to get closer to a peaceful state. Those of us with rapid fireballs of thought being tossed about in our heads need to engage in something physical to help calm the mind through matching it with a similarly intense body-based activity. Exercise forces the mind to focus back in on the body, and away from the barrage of thoughts and cognition that are just that…thoughts. Even though I may not be lifting weights, or playing tennis, my body must be engaged in something like drawing, painting, knitting to bring my awareness back to my physicality. In another words, to remind myself that I am not my thoughts. I tend to get stuck on them. They are fleeting, but like thousands of flaming boomerangs, they come back again, and again, and again.
I know this works. A few weeks ago I tested it by sketching. I entered the activity as I would a meditation. I focused on my pencil touching my hand, touching the paper. I noted the color on the page, and smelled the colored pencil as the color appeared. Everything was done non-judgmentally. I observed. I described. I let my brain rest. The thoughts cleared out because I was focused on the activity at hand, much like I focus on my body when I move around the tennis court.
I want to start practicing these mind-quieting activities by choosing those which I have supplies. I have pencils, paper, watercolors, acrylics, oil pastels, etc. I have an abundance of art supplies. If I give myself 10 minutes here, or 20 minutes there, at the end of the night to wind down with this type of meditation I know it will help me sleep, improve control over my mind, and the anxieties of daily life.
I will let you know how this experiment goes in a future blog post.