Through the past 10 months, we have worked on remembering stories of appreciation whether they have to do with people, places or times in our lives. We have also touched on quieting our own souls and the importance of that. Today we are going to stretch farther by finding appreciation here and now, in this very moment. It is time to wring all tension from our minds and bodies. Let’s start by quieting our minds. Whatever thoughts are swirling around in there like autumn leaves, take about 5 minutes to allow them to come to a rest. Turn off or remove yourself from as many outside distractions as possible, and sit quietly, or lay down on the floor or bed or couch. Feel your mind begin to quiet and your muscles relax during this time. Allow the tension to flow out your fingers and toes. Feel even your face relax. Ahhhh. Come back when you are done.
Doesn’t that feel wonderful? Quieting is easier for some than for others. If you found difficult to quiet your mind or body, this may be a good practice for you. Quieting is really a learned thing, as is not quieting. But the practice is so beneficial to our mental and physical health, I highly recommend adding a few moments of quieting practice each day. Quieting not only reduces stress levels, but also helps us in returning to “ourselves” from stress or agitation.
Our assignment today will be a reflection of the tension and relaxation felt during our time of quieting. Since our experiences are so unique, please remember that your journal page will probably look nothing like mine. To begin, I will share with you my thought process during my quiet time. The tension that I released during my quieting moment was related to my busy schedule of late. I have set up my calendar in blocks of time corresponding to projects and due dates. While I understand that life happens and I have allowed for a great deal of flexibility in my schedule, I have found when something interrupts my goals for the moment, I am allowing tension to enter my body.
Since we all have different types of paper in our journals, I am going to give you some options. Pick the one that will work best for you paper type.
- Thick, bumpy paper like watercolor or mixed media paper: Paint your pages with brush that is wet with water. Then fill a brush with watercolor paint of your choice and tap the brush above your page. This will leave dots of color that spread as they absorb into the wet page.
- Thinner paper that does not absorb water well, more of a drawing paper consistency: Using fluid acrylic paint, dip a damp brush into your paint and then tap the brush above your page. This will leaves random dots of color across your page.
- Heavier, but slick paper that is less absorbent: You get to choose the method. Another option would be to tap your brush full of watercolor over a dry page.
Try a few colors if you’d like.
I am painting the page with a wash of water.
And tapping my brush full of orange watercolor paint onto the wet page.
The page on the left was not painted with water. See how the dots of paint do not diffuse on the dry page. Both are nice. Try what you like best, or what will work better with your paper.
Next using a water soluble pen, write about the tension and release that you experienced earlier. If this does not seem to flow, write about what is floating or swirling in your mind right now. Don’t worry about censorship. We will be making the words mostly illegible. If you are not sure if your pen is water soluble, write with it on a piece of scratch paper and wipe a wet brush over the ink. Does the ink bleed or run? Then it is water soluble. Here I am using a Flair pen, but have found that many of my gel pens are also water soluble.
Is this too much writing for you? Write with big letters. Write in phrases or word chunks instead of sentences. Use your own style.
Now dip a brush in a light wash of watercolor paint and paint over your words. They will smear and fade. That is okay.
Here I used a very light blue wash over my orange words.
Using either collage or drawing with a waterproof pen or marker, begin to tell your story of the moment. (For a refresher on collage, review assignment #2.) What tension was your body or mind holding onto when you began your quieting? As you relaxed and allowed the tension to release and your mind to clear, what was different about your perspective?
Yes, I’m still practicing my drawing. After drawing representations of my calendar and clock, I did some very fast sketches of my family that I think turned out hilarious.
Let the coloring begin! Add color using our toolbox of techniques we’ve been using. What is your favorite technique? Some options:
- fluid acrylic paint
- more collage
- water-soluble crayons
- oil pastels
I’m stuck in a water-soluble crayon phase, so I used my crayons followed by my wet brush with a bit of gesso mixed in here and there to add both translucent and opaque splashes of color. Choose whatever color grabs you at the moment. No over-thinking allowed.
Intuitively add your color. Pull from the feelings of our quieting session at the start of the assignment. Is there a contrast in how your body or mind felt? Can you represent this with color?
Are you at a stopping point? Take a little break, get a drink or snack, take a walk (unless you’re in class with me) or move around. Then come back to your page and continue added little details.
Here I’ve added detail with various gel pens. The little white rectangles at the top represent my relational circuits. The goal is to keep them on.
If you had a great time with zentangling in January, feel free to experiment some more with new patterns and tangles. Here’s a link to that wonderful zentangle website. Are there any words that would help you remember today’s story of you any clearer? And when you feel done, give yourself permission to come back and add details at a later time if something comes to mind.
While working through this, my mind resolved a lot of little issues about my schedule. Better.
Today’s assignment is all about working through the present moment. Perhaps you were relaxed when you started this assignment so had little tension to deal with. If so, give this a try again when you feel an underlying restlessness or you find yourself holding tension in your body. Even if you do not have time for a complete journal page, little doodles after your quieting moment can help you tell your story and bring resolution or calm.
I look forward hearing about your experience. Please connect by:
- leaving a comment with a link to your blog post -OR-
- joining the facebook group to share photos and stories