As a newbie artist, I am still working on developing techniques and trying new things in my quest to learn more about mixed media art. If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been reading about mindfulness and meditation, in terms of the benefits for being present, grounded and centered, but also I would like to share a meditation on originality which I read in a great book called “Mindfulness for Dummies”. I hope to practice this exercise and put it to good use by allowing something to come from the heart instead of just mechanically just copying someone else’s creative direction. This meditation creates space to consider a challenge and allow ideas to surface after a period of incubation or ripening.
Excerpted from Shamash Alidina:

1. Consider the challenge and sate it clearly in a sentence in your mind. For example, I’m looking for..___________so……._____________.
2. Sit or lie down in a comfortable posture, with a smile. Have a gentle smile on your face to remind yourself to have fun and be playful – the foundations of creativity.
3. Be mindful of whatever you like. Practise for a few minutes.
4. After your meditation time is up, see which ideas pop into your head.
5. If no ideas come to mind, do the exercise again. Remember to see whether you can enjoy the mindfulness exercise rather than making it a struggle.
6. If you still have no ideas or feel agitated, try going for a mindful stroll or have a mindful cup of tea or coffee. You may just need to give your brain a rest!

Through this exercise you being to allow your inner creative space to fill with fresh, new ideas. You clear out the old limiting ideas to make space for the brand new ones. Feel free to interrupt the meditation at any time to write your ideas down, because this isn’t a formal mediation practice but a creativity exercise – allow yourself to have fun with it and experiment.“ (217/218)

So in order to be able to speak about this experience, I had to take part in it and try it out. My challenge was that I was looking for another job posting in June – so I can move into place where I’m open and have the time and space to be ready to learn since I’m going back to school in Sept. I have done modifications of this exercise and I can tell you that sometimes, nothing pops up and there is a sense of struggle, as I’m trying to make something happen. I try to force the issue, in hopes that my wanting it so badly will conjure up brilliant ideas that will change the face of the earth. And sadly, there have been moments where self inquiry within that deeper part of me yields no results but a sense of relaxation and no-mind (which is still great!). It is as if, at times, I feel like the emotional struggle is necessary to produce results, as if stressing over it will help propel me towards a solution– this is a fallacy and a long held belief that I am trying to transform.
However, with trust in my intuition, and gratitude for the peace that comes over me, I am able to sit in the silence and better able to focus on being centered, as well as mindful of surrounding sounds or sensations in the body. With a gentle smile on my face, sitting openly with arms in lap, waiting to receive, I set the intention to be a vessel for information to pour into with ease and grace. This is my second attempt, and with some concentration, I see an image of a brass symbol and the rhythm of drums being beat with a sense of purpose. I check in a couple times, and continue to sense this vision. I wonder to myself – what is the significance of this image in relation to my challenge? I’m looking for the connection, but it’s vague. I ask my conscience again:
‘Do you have any words/songs/gestures, etc associated with image? What message do you have for me?’
And then I feel the beat and hear the words of Todd Rungren’s song, “I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on my drums all day”, much to my amusement. Admittedly, I had difficulty making the association between banging on drums and a scheduling dilemma, but came to the conclusion that when the going gets tough, just play or do something fun so that you are in the flow, let go and allow the solution to just arise in its own due time. Focus your energies on bringing your love to something you are passionate about, and immersing yourself in that activity. Banging on the drums is a tactile, physically demanding motion that gets me into the body, and out of my head – just like making art also has the same benefits. So ultimately, my chosen interpretation is to simply focus on what I love (arts), move to the beat and get funky! Try this exercise for yourself and let me know what your experience is like?! Time to paint!