“For the record, woohoo! Not just art, but life- magic.”
– Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun
I am just learning how to play again; how to make life magical. How to find the silky seedlings in dried out pods while walking and then set them free in the wind one by one.
How to grab hand-fulls of leaves and smoosh them into my face before tossing them high into the air and watching them fall.
How to whisper stories to trees while I press my hand to the rough bark and listen for an answer. (See The Silent Friends video).
It is good learning.
This last week my husband Jamey and I took Sawyer (our five-year-old) to see the Lego exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art.
I hosted a Mindful Creativity Workshop for St. Francis DeSales High School staff a few weeks ago. Here are some photos and a responses to questions teachers asked in the workshop.
How do we make those spaces in our brain happen more often?
Brains are never going to be completely silent. Their jobs are to think, so those thoughts will just keep coming. I do find that my brain tells me fewer stories since I have been practicing for awhile, but what is more important than this is to “get distance” from thoughts. To know thoughts are not you. You don’t have to believe them. This will naturally create more “space” in our brains, because we won’t be feeding our thoughts as often. We will see that they are simply passing through.
I am hosting a workshop at the Wexner Center for the Arts for Capital (or COTA) day on October 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. called Mindful Creativity which is FREE and open to ALL teachers!
Here is a blurb about it from the Wexner Center website:
What does it mean to be “present”—to notice the colors and textures of our everyday surroundings? How does this “presence” apply to one’s process as an artist, a writer, a thinker, or an explorer of the world? Answering these questions and more will be the focus of this year’s Capital Day, Mindful Creativity. Learn how mindfulness works and what it looks like in practice. Investigate creativity through this lens to explore the world of art and artistry together using the exhibition After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists as inspiration. Consider ways that you can take this new knowledge to your students to enhance their own presence in the world and their abilities as explorers and artists. Come prepared to write, discuss, reflect, and practice mindfulness strategies.
You can register for the workshop on the Wexner Center website at this link. There is a gray box in the top right corner that says “register.”
This week I worked with students in the Mosaic program with Kim Leddy and Steve Shapiro. We wanted to provide students with an introduction to mindfulness and mindful creativity while also introducing the themes of transformation, identity and change.
Before I came into the classroom, Kim and Steve had used a variation on this mindfulness lesson (originally for teachers and staff) to introduce neuroplasticity and mindfulness to students. In the lesson, they also had students write metaphors for their brains. Student responses ranged from “a runaway train” to “Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.”
This lesson prepared students by providing opportunities to think about what their brain is like now, and what they might want it to be like in the future with the understanding that they can make changes with focused attention. It was a great lead in to some creative, messy work.
“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
–The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder
Flowers and I have a long history soaked in sadness and beauty. For me, flowers are linked to death, linked to joyously being alive, linked to the connection between the two.
My flower story begins with my beloved Grandma Rose who passed away last October. We were very close, and I had the fortunate experience of living with her throughout most of college with my oldest son and also of being a close partner with her as she traveled through her death experience.
In my role as Educator-in-Residence in the wonderful and amazing Pages program with the inspirational Dionne Custer-Edwards I have been teaching Mindful Creativity. We began on day one with an introduction to mindfulness, and I received some good questions from teachers about personal mindful practice, implementing mindfulness for students in the classroom, and how to talk to people about mindfulness in order to build more acceptance. Here are some questions from teachers and the responses I gave with links for further information.