Writers, artists, teachers, kids, parents, cooks, musicians, EVERYBODY … this column is for you. We are all creative, whether you think you are or not!
I strive everyday to be more present, more mindful. With technology at my fingertips — be it a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or television — these devices take me away from the real life that is all around me. There are days when such a technology-inspired journey is a welcome respite, and other days when my mind is left numb by what I witness on the small screen.
Sometimes I need to put it all aside and just reflect. Take a time out. Go on an electronics hiatus. But it’s not always easy to do.
That’s where finding something and making discoveries help me to become more mindful.
Discoveries: Find Something
Time: Take as long as you can with this. Your brain will feel rejuvenated and ready to create once you’ve spent some time focusing on being present.
Materials: You(!) … that’s all!
Take a walk outside, whether it’s down your street or on a nature trail. Keep your mind aware of your surroundings, and find something that sparks a thought, an idea, a memory, or a story.
One day this past fall, as I walked around our village pond, I spotted a pencil on the trail. When I picked it up, I found it to be a colored pencil, which I named Victoria Purple … the color of royalty, my favorite color. Left by the bench on the trail or accidently dropped, I wondered what drawings this regal pencil had created. Had it once colored in a purple, pink and orange sunset? Whose hands held this artist’s tool? An artist, creating her masterpiece? A student adding purple to a homework assignment while sitting peacefully by the pond, trying to escape the mayhem of home? Perhaps a child recently received a pencil set from his grandmother and was so proud of his drawing of Gramma in a Victoria Purple dress, that he dropped the pencil in his haste to share his picture with her.
This pencil has found a new home among my collection of pens, pencils and markers, and remains a reminder of my reflective walk. I’m reminded to be receptive to whatever speaks to me, whatever calls my attention … even a stray pencil dropped upon the dirt trail. I know that when I walk mindfully, something will grab my attention. Sometimes it’s something that I can pick up, hold and bring home like the Victoria Purple pencil. Or maybe it’s something I discover in the natural world that I can’t physically hold, but I can hold in my imagination.
What pulls your attention? Whatever it is, spend time with it. Bring it home in your heart and in your imagination. It’s amazing what our imaginations can do when given the opportunity to be heard, and when we take the time to reflect and listen.
I’m typing this column on my laptop and will utilize social media to promote it. But I remind myself that a healthy life relies on balance. When I’m finished typing, I’ll be back outside, walking, searching and listening.
Not-To-Miss Creative Events: Two exciting shows at:
NC Arts Incubator
223 N. Chatham Ave., Siler City – 919-663-1335
Various media will be represented by a variety of NC folk artists (including me!)
No charge – open most weekdays
Now through March 15: Folk Art Exhibit
March 17-April 18: Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild of Raleigh show, “March Hare”
Share your ideas, questions, or comments by contacting me at Barbara@WildesArt.com. Is there a creative event happening? Let me know — I’d love to hear from you!
Barbara Hengstenberg is an educator, artist, writer and founder of www.WildesArt.com, an online community of creatives. Barbara lives in Pittsboro, and sells her Zen folkart and offers tips on creativity through her website. She is on the Board of the NC Arts Incubator and teaches at Central Carolina Community College. You can reach Barbara at Barbara@WildesArt.com