I’ve already admitted that I’m one of those people who hop on the resolutions band wagon every year. More about that here. However, this year I’m attempting to take a more mature approach to keeping my resolutions. Every change begins in the mind, so one of my resolutions is to practice the art of mindfulness. I’m still researching all of the many ways to be more mindful, but one step I’ve already taken is to simply slow down and be fully present in each moment. This is a major feat for someone with an imagination as extensive as mine. I’m also super analytical and philosophical. I always say that I am truly my own best company. There are those that would argue that point, but screw them. I know what I’m talking about.
“Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”
Of course, since I’m practicing the art of mindfulness, I have to apply it to writing. Writing is a large part of my life so it stands to reason that mindfulness and writing should go hand in hand for me. Maybe it will help you out as well. I think the best writers are the one’s that are the most authentic. This quote sums up the benefits I hope to garner while being a mindful writer:
“The artist must summon all his energy, his sincerity, and the greatest modesty in order to shatter the old clichés that come too easily to hand while working, which can suffocate the little flower that does not come, ever, the way one expects.”
— Henri Matisse
In other words, being mindful should serve to help me cut through my literary crutches and get down to the nitty-gritty of creating something worth while. I’m striving to be fully present in each moment, which means my overall observations are phenomenal. I bake a cake and I’m totally aware of the sweet pungent smell of the cake mix, the tinny sound of my silver mixing spoon scraping the metal mixing bowl, the cascading ripples the batter makes as I pour it in the pan. When all of these observations combine to remind me of fond childhood memories, I allow the thought to bring a smile to my face, then bring my mind back into this moment; to experience it before it too becomes a memory. I am fully present in sight, sound, smell, emotion and physical touch. To develop the habit of experiencing every day life with so much awareness can’t help but to make my writing more descriptive and engaging.
I’m also giving up sugar for the next 21 days, so the above paragraph almost seems down right pornographic. But I digress…
Another helpful tool for writing is the act of meditation. I’m still getting into the habit of meditating and exploring the many different techniques. This is just an honorable mention, until I have something more to report. While researching, I was surprised to discover that one of my favorite ways to create is considered a form of meditation. I often create full scenes in my mind while drifting off to sleep. I fully immerse myself in the scene, rearranging dialogue, re-phrasing action etc. I don’t write anything down at this point. I let the action unfold and when the scene is done, I may jot down a few notes before I go to sleep. Then, the next day (or sometimes a few days later) I pound the scene out on the computer. Because I’m so heavily involved in the visualization of it all, there’s no need to rush to get it down on paper. I own it. Because the scene was so vivid, I feel like I lived it. It goes from a visualization to a memory. It’s much easier to reproduce a memory than a creation. All of the above it a form of meditation. You should try it sometime. I’m learning that meditation is less about breathing techniques and humming and more about freeing your mind.
I hope that sharing my own burgeoning attempts at mindfulness and mediation as they relate to writing will inspire you to give them a whirl.
Do you practice the arts of mindfulness and mediation? Tell us about your experience below!