The Satisfaction of Completion
or Happy Endings…
Over the last few weeks I’ve had some time for myself for the first time in several months. Not much but I realised I have a necessity to always be ‘doing’. Everything I do must be in some way constructive or it has no value or merit - my subconscious thinks so anyway.
This is until I hired a beach hut for the winter. It is five minutes from my house and a halfway point on the scenic version of the school run. I have gone there with the best intentions of ‘getting stuff done’ which I do, but at the same time, there is nothing like sitting with a mug of tea, staring out to sea and waiting for what my mind wants me to know to surface. This is the important work, the unlearning. Because it is only by doing this that I can unravel to the point of reknitting things how I want them to look. To pull out the knots and re-do the slipped stitches and before any of that can happen I need to have noticed them in the first place. To have looked at the pattern. When I did this I could see I was going round in circles like my cat Nancy when she wakes up on a radiator and is startled by her own tail and chases it.
I decided to finish some things. It turns out that while I have been chasing my tail and leaving all the tabs open I have in fact learned a great deal. This became apparent when I went through three years of coursework and submitted it to the School of Modern Psychology with whom I have been studying all this time. It turns out that this is not knowledge that can be consumed in one sitting, it needs to sink in. And it is a journey that illuminates not only the power of understanding in an abstract sense, the theory. All of this knowledge has to be applied through the filter of my own mind, my life choices, history, family past and present. It requires a great deal of processing, and, in some cases for a while - avoidance. Because it is a treacherous journey at times. There are many halls of mirrors and not liking what we see is one thing but having the courage to change it is another. Courage being the tipping point between negative and positive. (Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by David R Hawkins)
Recently I took my children to Burton Agnes Hall and Gardens to do the spooky Halloween trail. We do this every year and my kids and I love it. At Burton Agnes there is a woodland walk which we often do, but there is a main path which follows two sides of a field in which crops grow. For this reason we have never walked to the end of it as we have to turn round and walk all the way back again and are never sure how far it is. This is the first year my son has had the confidence and ability to read every clue himself and write all the answers in too. My daughter read all the freaky facts and a rare balance was found. The final clue was at the end of the path in the woods. So, for the first time in seven years, we walked to the end of the woods. I hope the mummified family and their pet spiders aren’t waiting for us next time though.
The perspective of the sea from the beach hut, the perspective of Burton Agnes from the end of the woods, the perspective of my life from the end of long study in mindfulness, creativity and psychology: A pattern is forming here.
If you walk down to the promenade from my house and turn right at Bridlington Spa, you go past the lifeboat station, a cafe, the beach huts, a paddling pool. Eventually the beach carries on but the promenade runs out. You can’t go any further without walking on the sand. We call this point ‘the orange sculpture’ and frequently went to this - daily in fact in the main lockdown this year. It is an orange fence which surrounds some random other fences and pieces of metal. The children are not allowed to climb on it. We have never worked out what it is doing there, why it is there - it doesn’t look like art. It seems very pointless indeed to have this bizarre collection of structures. Until my husband sent me this picture:
It is the same face that we only really recently noticed is on the side of the paddling pool, as we were looking down at it from the road. It pops up in a couple of other places too. All this time we had no idea it was a face.
Sometimes all you need to do is to look at something from a different angle and it all makes sense.
Last Month’s Challenge
I found it interesting to draw my breath, this is a fairly new one for me. I noticed a few points:
I first had my sketchbook in a landscape position, but changed it to portrait.
When drawing my breath with eyes closed, I thought I was filling the whole page but when I looked I had used about ⅔ of it.
My phone buzzed half way through and after that my lines became harder and more jagged.
I gave some thought to how to colour it and chose pencils, an unusual choice for me.
I took out the contents of a few packs of pencils and looked at them
I removed all the purple ones
I removed all the brown ones
Then I colour ordered the rest
The first colour I chose to use was white
I didn’t need to colour every area for it to feel finished
So this was a really insightful exercise for me and I hope it was for you too, I’d love to see what you have come up with. You can tag me on instagram @attentive_art or email me at email@example.com. Or put it in The Attentive Art Group on Facebook, if you’re not a member you can join here.
This month’s challenge
Choose a symbol that for you depicts and points to positivity. Make a piece of art around it. As always, doodles on the back of envelopes are just as valid as oil paintings here.
As a suggestion you can try:
If you have another symbol which suggests positivity for you then please use it if you want to. I look forward to seeing your creations. You can tag me on instagram @attentive_art or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or put it in The Attentive Art Group on Facebook, if you’re not a member you can join here.
As we head towards a second UK lockdown, I encourage you to find an element of creativity in your days. It will make all the difference. If you are really struggling in any way then please get in touch. Enjoy the challenge and stay safe.