Tomorrow night is the winter solstice where I live. As much as I try, I find the darkness and gloom this time of year oppressive. Add challenging circumstances, whether they be personal, relational or political, and it can be just unbearable. Since a vacation to the southern hemisphere is not a possibility this year, I have turned to being mindful — in my art and in my life.
In my art, I have been struggling to learn how to use a new non-toxic ink. More about this in January. My meandering river topography came out much more midnight blue than I had anticipated. So I challenged myself to create something that felt like this time of year.
I imagined what it must have been like for prehistoric peoples who did not have a sense of our orbiting sun. Were they frightened to watch the sun set and not be certain it would return? What relief they must have felt when the first rays emerged from the horizon in the dawn. How often do you take a moment to focus on the setting and rising of the sun?
Being mindful of the materials
As I chose the various components of Coming of the Light, I thought about what each of them communicated. The thick inks of my monoprints made me think of lunar surfaces. Maps tell the story of Icelandic glaciers and no-fly zones in the Middle East. Cyanotypes speak of a vaulted glass ceiling, the bottom of a drained lake and the stones of a Japanese garden. Moments of time captured in Prussian Blue. Suddenly I don’t feel so gloomy.
Being mindful in daily life
Daily moments can keep you in the present and improve how you feel:
• watch the warm water droplets cascade toward you in the shower
• smell the citrus oil spraying as you grate some orange or lemon zest
• listen to what an evening sounds like without seeing — the crackle of dry leaves or the soft calls of insects
• feel the softness of your cat or dog’s fur as they snuggle with you.
Why not try being mindful in your life? No additional time is required…
Wishing you a mindful 2020.