Winter 2020-2021: New Outlooks
There is a new meditative drawing trend that I recently started looking into, Neurographic drawing (so new that autocorrect doesn't recognize it apparently). This exercise is basically a way of making marks without focusing on the marks themselves, but on things that are on your mind, mainly problems and things that are causing you stress. The idea is to create long flowing lines across a page as you focus on your problem, then after a few minutes you are supposed to "round out" all of the sharp corners as a metaphor for "softening" your worries. These designs are generally colored in as abstract art and they look very unique and interesting. I recently took the position of art club facilitator for the high school in my district and when I suggested we try this exercise on our Zoom meeting, I was delighted to see the students sink into it and become absorbed in their drawings for an entire hour. When I focused on what was bothering me, some of the normal school and family worries came up, but nothing was more pressing than the back and forth political arguing that I have been witnessing mostly on Social Media. I make it a point to always keep my social media personal since I believe there are too many opportunities for information to be misconstrued and for emotions to boil, causing knee-jerk reactions that could possibly create a domino effect that is detrimental to not only relationships, but to your own mental health. Being stuck home behind screens for months on end has poured lighter fluid onto the fire, and I believe so many people are willingly walking into the flames. We have been brainwashed to believe that we are part of the change because we are loudest, when in reality it is the quiet gestures of your everyday life that create a different domino effect, one of kindness, nurture, and peace. I was reminded of a New York Times article by Jessica Bennet that I came across on one of those days I was mindlessly scrolling Facebook seeing argument after argument lighting fires everywhere. This article focuses on Professor Loretta J. Ross from Smith College who teaches how to combat "call-out" culture by understanding why people have the opinions that they have, and to actually find common ground. She believes the true answer to change is by "Calling- in" or listening and understanding, rather than shaming.
As I started to round out all the sharp corners of my flowing lines across the page, I thought about gratitude and the things in my life that I am grateful for. I started to feel the tension ease from my shoulders. In addition to this artful meditation I have also continued walking around my neighborhood and into nature to gain some perspective. I have put my energy into cooking cozy soups on cold days (the white cheddar bisque from the Magnolia Cookbook is to die for) and stretching my creativity as much as possible. When I find myself in a moment of mindless scrolling, I will mentally weed out anything toxic and focus on the beauty of everyday life, keep spreading your art, "round out" those corners of animosity and step back to see the big picture.
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