Friday, 11 September 2015

Visual meditations, and some thoughts about Mindfulness

My landscape painting is almost finished, there's only a tiny detail missing. But since I have already shared a few work in progress shots of it, I thought I'd spare you this one and post it once it's finished.
So today I'm sharing two little watercolour paintings. I felt that I wanted to put up some words that are especially important to me at the moment in my studio, but I didn't just want the words, I wanted some colour too. I had a couple of small frames that I wanted to use, so I measured out their size on a couple of pieces of watercolour paper, splashed some paints on them, and once they were dry, added the words.

And this is how they look in their frames. Now I just have to find a space on my walls for them.

I call these little paintings "visual meditations", as I've been thinking a lot about meditation and Mindfulness recently. Some time ago, when lying in bed one Sunday morning, after having yet again woken up tired and with a headache, I tried to remember the last time I had cheerfully jumped out of bed, full of energy and looking forward to the day ahead. I simply couldn't. There are a lot of things in my life that aren't how I would like them to be, and slowly but constantly, over many months, tenseness, discontentment, tiredness, negativity, headaches, unnecessary stresses had begun to permeate into my life. While there are some things that can't be changed as easily and quickly as I would like to, or simply are beyond my control, there are other stressed in my life that are caused simply by my tendency to worry about everything, and to take things far too seriously and personally, even things, and people, that, really, should not matter. These things drain me of all my energy and spirit, and leave me with constant feelings of frustration, self doubt and of generally not being good enough. And here I can start making changes, because these really are unnecessary. And it is not just a question of generally feeling better and being able to enjoy life more, but it's also an important question of health. Because of a chronic condition, I am constantly afraid that all this stressing and worrying will trigger the symptoms. I'm lucky enough that most of the time, it keeps quiet and doesn't give me any problems at all, and although I have also learnt last year that it can flare up without any obvious cause at all at any time, and I still believe that everything I do to generally feel happier and more content with myself and my life, will greatly benefit my health and condition too.

In order to start making some necessary changes, I reached to what I always reach to first, when in need of help and inspiration - books. These are the books I'm reading at the moment. And next to them my lovely new aroma diffuser, which I bought after having knocked over my traditional tealight and water bowl one, and which not only fills the room with pleasant scents, but also with soft and lovely colour-changing light.

I actually bought the Mindfulness book about three years ago, read through the whole of it, started with week one (it's basically an eight week programme) and never got any further. I finally picked it up again, and tomorrow, I'll be at the end of week three. I have begun a daily practice of meditation and breathing exercises, and already I'm beginning to notice some changes. Not big ones. I still get annoyed about things, find myself with my shoulders up at my ears and my jaws aching from pressing my teeth together. But I'm also slowly beginning to feel more relaxed about things, a bit more content, taking things less seriously and personally, and sleeping a little bit better. I still regularly wake up between 4 and 5 in the morning, but then I just put on a guided meditation, and instead of spending the remaining time till the alarm goes off in that energy draining state of your mind going mad, and instead just happily doze off. In fact, I'm finding the guided meditations so relaxing, that I'm regularly falling asleep during them. Which I find a little bit annoying, because I actually want to do them. And I'm enjoying them. I have been interested in meditation for a long time but never really knew what and how to do it, which is why I'm grateful for the guided ones that come with the book. I've also started to practice yoga at home. I've been going to yoga classes on and off for years, but only started to really get into it recently. I was happy enough to go to class once a week in my lunch break, and I never thought that I would actually have the discipline to do it at home, by myself - and enjoy it. But I do. I found this great yoga app, which I find really helpful. It's like having your own private yoga class at home.

Mindfulness is an ongoing process. You don't just read the book, follow the programme, and that's it. It's a regular practice, a continuous learning process, but one that is well worth it. I'm still only at the very beginning, but already I can feel the benefits of it. And best of all, I'm feeling a lot more creative energy too. It is a practice I can highly recommend, and if you are interested in it and give it a try, the Mindfulness book is really a good and useful start. And if you are already practising it yourself, I'm very interested in hearing about your experiences and any tips you might want to share.

But enough now, this post has already become long enough, considering I only wanted to share my two little paintings. Have a happy, creative weekend, and Happy Paint Party Friday!


  1. I love your two 'word art' pieces, and hope they help you to focus. Sometimes life is full of stress and negativity, and it's hard to shake it off! Happy PPF, hugs, Valerie

  2. Those great word pieces will be a nice way to remind yourself if you should slide off track. Finding the right focus for each of us is so important. Hope you find it easy stay focused and mindful...

  3. really beautiful word art -and it's such a great way to keep you mindful. You are so right about how the reading can be so helpful and provide insight, but it is the on going awareness and practice of it that truly makes a difference. You are surrounding your space with all the right tools. Wishing you better days!

  4. I have chronic health/pain issues that are made worse by stress and worry so I totally agree that having a calmer state of mine helps tremendously. Those are beautiful reminders to have before you every day. If you are falling asleep with the guided meditation--that's marvelous! Just what you need, I think. Wishing you peace and joy! :)

  5. I think for some of us, negative thoughts are more difficult to release. It almost takes a constant reminder to ourselves to let go of them. Daily affirmations like, "I am good enough" are also helpful. Good luck on your journey.

  6. I started using a walking meditation app about six weeks ago now and it has been amazing for managing stress and making me more mindful and connected... I have tried various meditation course sand things but this one really has struck a chord with me. I didn't notice too much in the first month, but just the last two weeks of so I started to realise that things were more manageable, even the stressful things, so I hope you are finding that also. It sounds as though it is helping... The visual meditations are lovely... I have been doing little play scrap paintings and using them in a similar way... A reminder that I need to breathe and relax... A great post... Xx

  7. I love these meditation art pieces. I meditate everyday and the art that surrounds me keeps me calm. These are lovely.

  8. I felt I was reading my own blog post! I found mindfulness through the book 10% happier by Dan Harris. I downloaded the app you suggested and ordered the book from the library. I truly believe Spirit brought me to your post knowing I needed encouragement. Thank you!