I’ve been to lots of mindfulness sessions, and somehow whenever I’m supposed to be lying on a beach, relaxing and feeling the warmth of the sun, something random will arrive in the sky, a giant fly, or a thought reminding me that’s it is, in fact, raining, and I need to bring the washing in. This is frustrating as I’m completely aware of how mindless our lives can be and so the ability to completely concentrate on the present is an important skill to cultivate.
What I have discovered, however, in the two years I’ve been doing my illustrated journal is that drawing does allow me to just be, and the sketches in this post that were done in the last week demonstrate why I need to keep practising mindfulness.
The pencil sketch of my little boy was drawn from photograph taken when he was a toddler, warm and wet and fresh out of the bath wrapped in a rabbit-eared dressing gown. I don’t normally do pencil sketches, highly detailed pen and ink is what I normally do. But last Friday the boy decided to throw the mother of all strops on the way home from school. Crying, screaming, and telling me he hated me. When we got in he went to his bedroom. Both of us needing some time to calm down. I was smarting from his telling me he hated me and embarrassed at his behaviour in the middle of the street, but rather than dwell on it, I found an old photograph and just drew, quickly, concentrating on the pencil strokes, and recalling how lovely, warm and squashy the boy was, and still is, when he’s come out of the bath. It worked, my anger dissipated. We were both able to cuddle and make up with the space that might have been filled by arguing filled with me remembering how much I love him instead, and that we all have off days.
So, I may not be able to imagine myself on a beach, but I can do mindful sketches to ground myself and my emotions in the here and now, and it’s something that I need to do more often.