On this beautiful Saturday, I bought myself a beautiful bunch of flowers and went to the farmers market, a weekly ritual of mine. And of course, one of the reasons why I bought flowers is that I want to draw them. And there it starts, the "monkey mind" limitless loop of feeling that I have to "do" something, that I have to sit down and make artworks. And they have to be brilliant of course please, they have to be earth-shattering, the best I've ever done. And in that endless mind game, there is absolutely no freedom, in fact I cannot breathe. And I draw or paint very quickly, as if my life depended on it. But in fact, all along I was missing the point, missing the moment where I can relax into the object I am looking at, where I enjoy every single mark, one after the other, slowly, as if I was sipping a delicious elixir of life. And here the analogy with food is very pertinent, because I have noticed -as I am studying Macrobiotic cooking and going deep inside my patterns around food and how I eat- that I do exactly the same thing with food. Now I am a good cook, I love doing it, it's creative, it's all about colours and textures, you can play with tastes and shapes, I feel like I'm in some magical laboratory in the kitchen. And although I put so much care, attention and creativity into the food I make, I then sit down and gobble it at the speed of light, scared at every fork full that someone is going to steal the plate away from me. And in both cases, in art as in food, I don't get to enjoy it very much, I only ever get glimpses where I really savour the food or the mark. I want to create all of "it", all of life, all at once. I want to eat all of it, all at once too.
So what about pausing? What about taking a minute or two to enjoy, to really watch the brush as it is leaving behind a trace or gooey pigments on the page, to make sure that before I rush to make the second mark -panicking it won't be good enough- I take a few seconds to breathe? It's all down to breathing, really. A very good friend of mine once told me "the only thing there really is, is breath" and it's true. The worries, the paranoïas, the rollercoaster of thoughts, it's all in our heads. So back to the breath, the only "real" thing.
“When we are drawing and seeing mindfully, then, we are encountering the world in an intimate way that we may never experience anywhere else, or in quite the same manner. The connection we form with what we are seeing, what we are drawing, goes beyond the intellectual, beyond words and language, or even marks on a page. It even goes beyond the thinking-mind. This is the relationship of two bodies in space, an intuitive relationship of the spirit, where we begin to sense the nature of things, their “is-ness”, their “being-ness”. And when this happens, we can simply be with them in our completeness too. More than that, we start to lose our sense of subject –us in here, and object- it out there." From « Mindfulness & the Art of Drawing : A Creative Path to Awareness » by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh