An invitation to be mindful
My new exhibition "Unmeasured Moments" is based themes of mindfulness, appreciation and gratitude and if you come and visit, I'd like to take you on a journey with me.
On that journey I hope to give you a little of what I've been learning this year about recognising and capturing the really important things that are present in the non-moments of our lives, and in the spaces where we might otherwise neglect to notice that life is happening.
So this week I've been busy making hundreds of little booklets to help each and every one of my guests on their way.
In the booklets are prompts to guide you through a mindfulness experience within my exhibition (with a bit of art appreciation mixed in) and I think you just might enjoy it! Or at the very least, I hope you walk away feeling lighter, as if you have cleared some of the cluttered space in your mind as a result of coming along.
Because mindfulness, practiced well, can be pretty powerful stuff.
Mindfulness - "a state of non-judgemental, observational awareness" - has been gaining a strong reputation across a range of health disciplines over the last 15 years. Indeed, research has now shown its ability to influence an increase in self-awareness, self-acceptance, the capacity for emotional regulation; reducestress and distress, and improve quality of life.
Not everyone does mindfulness in the same way... From small acts of being present, aware and appreciative of the sounds, smells and sights around us, to relaxation techniques and more intentional meditation practices, mindfulness takes many forms.
My own first introduction to the term "mindfulness" was back when I was still working as a psychologist, around the year 2000. The concept itself fit really well with a whole range of the relaxation and cognitive-behavioural techniques I already knew, and I was struck by the powerful resonance of the term. So my early introduction to mindfulness means have taken an active interest in its growing popularity over the years and the different forms of practice that it occupies.
My own practice of mindfulness could probably be described as a "popular culture" form, I'm not a meditator, and I pick and choose the mindfulness techniques that really resonate with me and apply them in my own way - in small ways everyday, and I try to cultivate those habits in my children too.
Taking time to relax and focus attention on each of the senses without analysing is a very simple mindfulness activity, and I find that focusing on the process of art making without any expectation of an outcome in mind is a great way to enjoy and channel this singular focus.
With this in mind, I've crafted a workshop series around the concept of mindfulness too.
From a 'Slow Art' experience, to exploring mark making on scraperboard, and indulging in some process, playing with paint and texture to make an abstract art piece, I have something that you'll be sure to enjoy!
So take some dedicated time out and look after yourself by creating some space in that busy brain of yours! You might not realise how much you need that space until you do it, so give it a try.
I'm looking forward to it.
Unmeasured Moments is on show from Fri 17 Nov to Thur 7 Dec at the ME artspace, 25 Atchison St, St Leonards. More information on the exhibition, workshops and booking details are available here.