I've had a new morning ritual for the last seven weeks or so. Surprisingly, it doesn't involve reaching for my phone immediately upon waking to look at Instagram or Facebook—the Good Lord knows I'll do that later in the day. It doesn't involve witlessly scrolling through other people's pictures, comments, stories, complaints, fights, or "humble brags" with a slack mouth and a dull mind. I don't mean to brag myself—this change in habit has been years in the making, and is definitely made easier by having the fortune of a private spot where I love to be. I've been meditating, people—that's right—MEDITATING. Once coffee is made I go straight out to my studio, where I write in my journal—which now includes writing down three things that I am thankful for—and then I meditate.
-Here I go-
Nothing fancy. I tried "free trials" of a few different apps that eventually charge, but I settled on a completely free app called 1 Giant Mind (I abandoned my free trial at calm.com when at one point I was instructed to "have a little smile on my face". Umm, no). The meditation takes 15 minutes each morning, and I do think it has helped to change my state of mind. I long laboured under various misconceptions about both meditation and gratitude, which I rejected practicing in any formal way because "gratitude" had become such a catch-word. That's not really a good reason to reject something out of hand, but there you have it. Both of these practices were suggested to me (thank you, Indrus) as an antidote to the constant feeling of impending doom that I carried around after my mother's dementia and death—waiting for the next boulder to drop on my head. You can't prevent boulders from entering your life of course, but while you *are* free of them it would be nice to appreciate and feel their absence. It seems that the meditation is helping to both "ground" me and calm me, and I've read that 8 weeks of mindfulness practice has been shown to shrink the amygdala—the emotion and "fight or flight" centre of the brain. The gratitude practice helps to keep me firmly in the present as well, and appreciating what I have in my life—as opposed to furtively staring into the dark mystery of the future, trying desperately to see what's there. Mind you, I still have trouble with the words "gratitude" and "grateful", so I write down what I am thankful for instead.
In the past I probably would have told you that I just wasn't relaxed enough to meditate. No shit, Shakespeare—that's what it's supposed to help you with. There's nothing like middle-aged trauma to help you appreciate calm.
"Sad Eye" - collage and paint on wooden cradle board, 8X8 inches.
Last month the winner of the draw for a giclée print was a lovely woman named Samantha, and for her prize she chose a print of the above collage, "Sad Eye". I was surprised by her choice, until she explained the ways in which this collage spoke to her. Without giving away personal details, the combined elements of this piece have very specific and real meaning for her. I think we both marveled at how I could not have guessed when I made this collage (five years ago?) how it would touch someone one day. Handing over the print I was verklempt, and I saw how giving away prints of my artwork is going to be far more rewarding for me than I ever could have known.
SPEAKING OF GICLÉE PRINTS... I have lowered my prices. Production costs are not what I thought they would be, so I am passing on the savings to you! Giclée prints are now $75 for the 13X17 inch size, and $100 for the 16X20 inch size. AND ANOTHER THING... I am now offering all of my collages as giclée prints as well as the paintings.You can see what's available here.
The winner of this month's draw is Kent Bendall of Pic-A-Flic Video! Strangely I have an idea of what he might choose for his giclée print... just a hunch. Kent, I'll get in touch and we can arrange for the delivery of your new print.
Thanks for reading-
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