14 November 2012

Being mindful

I just wanted to share this gorgeous reminder from contemporary poet Libby Hart that sometimes what you need is to just *stop* and be present in the moment:
Before you do anything else today, I want you to stop and listen. I want you to close your eyes and listen to your surroundings. What is it that you can hear? Birdsong? Is it the sound of passing cars? The wind whispering? Is it the muffle of dead of night? Are you on a train? Are you listening to music while you read these words? Can you hear yourself breathing? Or is there someone else breathing beside you? Are they sleeping? Did the telephone just ring? Is that someone having an argument?

Regardless of what it is that you are listening to, you are experiencing something quite magnificent – and funnily enough, it goes on all around you at every moment of every single day. Its rules change frequently, but I think its premise goes a little something like this: to live is to experience the world and to experience the world is to commune with and within it. We are, all of us, in a conversation this very minute.
Life seems to move bloody fast these days. It's lovely to find yourself suddenly aware of the universe moving around you, and be reminded of the bigger picture.

We went for a walk on the weekend at the Knapsack Bridge, which is part of the old disused road heading up the Blue Mountains. The kids took their bikes, we walked the dog, Richie gave the kids a snack while I wandered off to take some photos with my new camera. There is something so quiet and spiritual about being in the bush; particularly in the mountains. I left feeling completely centered as I always do after being in the bush for a while. It's a bit hard to explain if you don't get that feeling yourself - I did a layout on the subject but that still doesn't quite convey what I mean.

I'm yet to start art journalling, but when I do, I think this will be the ever-present thread running through my journal - I could get all Buddhist and call it mindfulness, or I could echo my mum and say I'm stopping to smell the roses. I get so caught up in pointless crap sometimes, when what I really need is to get into the bush, or failing that, just watch the dog's nose wiffling as she breathes in and out, or to lay on the pavers and look at ants with Holly, or walk up the street and collect gumnuts with Ty. Being in nature, being part of something bigger, appreciating the tiny ephemeral things as an antidote to the excess and speed and chaos of everyday life.

What do you find yourself journalling about regularly? Do you reflect on the minutiae of every day life, your routines and rituals, do you create inspiring pages to reaffirm that you are awesome (and you are indeed awesome), or do you journal to express raw creativity that isn't released through regular scrapping or other channels? I'm really interested in the stories behind why people journal. I'm new to this gig - can you recommend a good art journal?

Thank you Libby Hart

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