Only recently I discovered that there’s no need to take a huge break from ‘normal life’ in order to have a creative, mindful one.
For a while now I have been unsettled, wanting desperately to have time off from my 9-5 job, in order to focus on the other stuff that I really love – yoga, sewing, art. Last year I went to a day-long writing course. The writer's main message was:
|The Atelier, where stuff is created|
‘most writers don’t have the luxury of living in a cabin by the lake, writing 10 hours a day, ignoring all other aspects of life. Most writers find five, 10, 20 minutes a day here and there around everything else that’s going on.’.
This idea really resonated but I found it hard to implement in my daily life, while the longing for a ‘big break’ was still present.
Then I came across a sewing podcast where the interviewee was a mum with three kids who just really loved craft, and finds the time in between all the chaos of having small kids to focus. It’s a form of meditation and most importantly, it’s the process that is key, not the end product itself.
One of my favourite ideas is 'flow', and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has a great book on the topic - called FLOW - where he explains that our greatest moments of happiness are those where our concentration is so pure that nothing else seems to matter.
In yoga this is called dharana, or concentration, the sixth of the eight limbs of raja yoga (Patanjali II:29). By confining the mind to one point or one object or one area (III:1) perception becomes intense. This kind of brain-training where the fluctuations of the mind are stilled and no longer scattered can bring about great feelings of contentment and happiness.
This often happens when I'm sewing - three hours can pass by as if it's been five minutes - I'm so absorbed in measuring, moving darts, stitching, unpicking 😃, cutting, pinning, measuring again - it's the most amazing feeling.