I believe that creative expression is linked to mindfulness. When you are creating your are in the present moment. You are focusing on what is before you. I consider the process of creating to be an active form of meditation. This is especially true if you take the time to pause and notice your breath as you create, or the sensations that surround you as you create. Perhaps you notice the feel of the pencil or paintbrush in your hand. Perhaps you notice the sound a pencil scratching the surface of your paper, or the smell of the paint.
Here is a fun idea that anyone can do. This simple drawing meditation can calm your mind and body. It can help you release stress and be in the present moment. I am going to give you the basic instructions for the simplest form of this drawing meditation. After you have tried it feel free to embellish it or extend it in any way you wish. I will offer some suggestions following the post.
Drawing Your Breath Meditation
For this exercise you will need a piece of paper and something to draw with. I prefer to use a pen but a pencil or marker will work as well.
With your paper and pen/pencil on a surface in front of you, begin by taking a moment to simply breathe. Inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale with a sigh through your mouth. Do this tree times or more. When you are ready pick up your pen/pencil. Notice how it feels in your hand. Notice your grip on the pen/pencil. Is is tight? Or loose? There is no need to judge this, simply notice. With your next inhale set your pen/pencil down on the left side of your paper (any point is fine). As you exhale draw a line moving your pen/pencil across the paper to the right edge. Allow your hand to follow your breath as you make your line.
With your next inhale reset your pen/pencil to the left side directly under the first line. As you exhale drag your pen/pencil again across the page matching your breath. Allow this line to mimic the previous line following any dips or peaks.
Continue in the manner described above for 10-20 min or until the paper is full.
Extend Your Practice
Once you have practiced drawing with your breath, try extending your practice in different ways. Perhaps draw on your inhales instead of exhales. Perhaps allow each line to be a complete breath cycle, both inhales and exhales. Try drawing vertical lines or from right to left. As you make changes notice how your lines change. Notice how your movements feel different. Does your breath change?
Perhaps you try drawing circles instead of straightish lines, perhaps you draw shapes to fill in or curved lines. Try adding a color wash or a background before you draw your lines. I love to use black ink in my backgrounds and then draw my lines with a white gel pen. What else can you come up with? The sky is the limit!
Have fun with this exercise. You can do it as much as you want. I love to listen to a guided meditation or music as I draw sometimes. Make this practice your own and do what feels right for you. I would love to hear about your experiences, feel free to leave a comment.