On the mindful Meditations podcast on Spotify titled Gather your Energy, Sharon Salzberg suggests:
If you consider how scattered, how distracted, how out of the moment you may ordinarily be, you can see the benefit of gathering our attention and our energy. All of that energy could be available to us, but usually isn’t, because we throw it away into distraction.
Today was my first day back at mediation, and yes I did use Spotify, but I needed the voice guidance. I usually find Yoga to be enough in the morning, it’s my moving mediation, but lately distraction has been next level.
Holding onto the present moment is difficult to do. The mind wonders off so quickly and I just seemingly go along for the ride. So my focus is now to meditate 3 times a day. First being yoga, then a lead mediation via app or Spotify, then a short meditation before bed. I’m hoping these 3 points in the day can bring my ‘self ‘ into more clarity and then when ready to create, I can focus my energy.
To be present, is to abandon the past and dismiss the future. Try it. Just for one moment, think of nothing, let thought go. View what is around you, marvel at the light, at the shadow, at the shape and presence of things.
In this space let yourself just be. Breathe. This is a place you can create from. Not thinking of goals. Not thinking of self criticism. Not thinking. Just being, creating, breathing.
Packed, picked up coffee, and hit the road. Auckland traffic was light heading out midday Sunday. Had to take my knitting, it’s my goal this week to knit, read, walk and relax. The road soon changed from concrete-scapes to hills, bush and ocean.
We got to our beach batch. After unpacking, eating scones and cheese, we headed out for a walk into what was quickly becoming wild, wet and windy. Couldn’t go as far as we would have liked, as the tide had come in too far, but it was fun to navigate the area.
Last night when leaving work to head home I noticed how pink the sky was. I stood and tried to breathe the colours in, the adaptions of tone. My first thought was to take my phone-camera out and try to capture the colour, the silhouette of the buildings, but something made me stop. Instead I just relaxed for a moment in this experience of pink light, and the mood of the evening and let that be enough, without having to hold onto it.
I’m listening to Eckhart Tolle talk with Russell Brand about awakening, which really is about tuning out of our thinking brain and experiencing the phenomenon of life. Living in the moment.
Sometimes, for me, these moments are so short, because my brain just keeps worrying, and fretting – but then a pink sky comes along, and I remember to breathe.
A student in class today, randomly asked about soup. We were discussing films and television production, group work, directing actors, and suddenly the conversation took a side-step.
Soup – what is it we like about soup. What types of soup there are. Then an idea come up from this about sharing soup recipes. As a teacher there are times when I ‘try’ to get the class to stay on track, but occasionally we need a laugh, we need to just be a community, friends sharing soup recipes. And, that is just OK.
A soup I made 2 weeks ago, was made up of 1 leek, 1 broccoli, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 potatoes, 1 cube a stock, salt and pepper and water. Simple beautiful soup. I will share this with my film class. Just because.
Simple isn’t always the most beautiful, but sometimes it’s all I want.
Over the Easter break, and due to our current lockdown situation, I decided to do some mending. I’ve been working in a stressful situation since lockdown began, so I desperately needed to take some time out and get my mind off work, and the situation the world is in.
I had bought a cardigan a couple of months ago from an op shop that had quite a few holes in it. I know, seems strange to buy something like this, but I just kind of fell in love with this old thing, and I knew it was just going to end up in landfill if I didn’t intervene.
So, I brought it home, and have tried wearing it and just being OK with the holes, but it wasn’t really my thing, so I decided this weekend to patch it.
I’m definitely not a knitter. But it was the only way I could see to patch up this garment. So first I knitted two elbow patches, this worked well. Took me all day – and any knitter reading this will probably laugh, as really, they are quite small. It would have been nice to shape them into ovals, but all I could do was a rectangle.
Then I needed to patch the pockets but had to use bits of wool I had, so I made two large striped patches for these.
Anyway, the whole time knitting, I got to thinking about mending. How often we need mending and what we do to patch things up. When I first decided to patch the cardigan, I thought about purchasing wool that was the exact same colour, so the patches would not be noticeable. I actually went into a wool shop and was going to bring the cardigan in with me, however the shutdown started, so I decided to use what I had left over from a couple of plain scarfs and some Peggy-squares I’d made into a cushion.
But like I mentioned, over this time sitting at the window and mending this cardigan, I started to think about all the mending that needs done in my own life. When things are difficult, I often hide it, or cover it up so no one can notice how I’m feeling. And now, staring at these coloured patches on my cardigan I wondered what would happen if we allowed ourselves to be patched, and we allowed our broken parts to be seen.
How many times have you hidden what is broken, thinking that if people see you in this state you are somehow lesser, or weaker?
I know from experience, that certain things that happen in life never go away. There is no ‘getting over it’. No way to fix it. It stays with you. So, what I do is try to live with it, and maybe when I’m out and about, at work or social events, I cover it up. Hide certain parts that I don’t want people to see. Thinking if they see damage, they won’t think of me in the same way.
At the moment, with the world in turmoil, my moods have certainly been up and down. At times I spend time on creative projects, but I am also spending a lot of time lying on my bed and thinking about the world, and people’s lives. Some old hurts are also surfacing. Fears, and worries take over pretty quickly if I’m not careful. I mean, things are difficult right now, there is no easy way out of this.
So, in this time, can I mend? Can I be brave enough to turn towards some parts of myself and see that they need a patch. And yes, it might be a big bright one, noticeable, but in the long run, more durable, sustainable.
I don’t know how to actually go about mending. Maybe the first thing is to be honest. If you struggle with mental health, talk about it, on a level that is every day. I think that I want to be braver in this way, I want to include all of myself rather than pretend I’m able to do everything or feel a certain way. Some things will never go away, but instead of hiding them maybe it is possible to make those broken bits visible, and in time OK.
Below is a small list of quotes I found online from artists and writers that obviously know who they are, fully, and are not afraid to show their broken bits in their creative outlet.
Instead of discussing creativity, or how to approach it – I thought I would track our creative weekend, (which was a spontaneous idea to create a garden). We’ve had a super busy summer, and haven’t spent a lot of time at home, or outside, but thought we’d just do it anyway… make the most of the warm autumn days ahead.
We have had herbs and vegetables growing, but no nice space to enjoy so the focus was to tidy up, give the area some shape and add colour. Luckily we had bought a lot of $1 small terracotta pots, cheap summer plants and a few metal buckets to make into larger containers – this radically helped the budget. We also bought two larger plants (hibiscus and lemon tree), to fill it out, plus a standard size trellis to boarder in the area.
That’s pretty much it, the rest of it was just the work involved. Pretty happy with what we did – I mean it’s no award winner – but it is a place to enjoy, and I’ve been doing just that since we finished.
Reflecting on the process and thinking about creativity, the main thing is to have a plan, and do the work. We complicate this process so much, but really, that’s what it comes down to.
I’m going in a slightly different direction this week. We decided to head off on a road trip, so here is my day in photography.
We started our trip with a visit to the carwash, (which was much needed). I love going through the wash, always captured by the colours and movement. Then we drove from Auckland to Paeroa, a small town in the Waikato.
Paeroa has some super cool antique stores, everything from Victorian era pieces, to shops specialising in retro. Also love stopping into The Refinery, which has amazing food and GREAT COFFEE.
From Paeroa we drove to Te Kuiti to visit my mum. I took her out to the supermarket and did a few odd jobs. It was SO HOT, at least 30, so we had to stop for at Big Az Icecreams on the way home. Enjoyed my day, remembered to take photos all along the way, and stayed away from scrolling on my phone, which is always a win.
Next week I will dig more into the challenges of being a creative, however, this week I needed a lighter touch.