My creative practice wouldn't be much without mindfulness meditation (the practice of being present). I'm a worrier and most definitely have undiagnosed anxiety. Panic attacks are a daily annoyance. And how this impacts my art-making comes in mood swings anchored by doubt, isolation, and fear of failure.
This photo is me writing my memoir in Iceland. I had quit my day job to write abroad - first in Ireland, then Iceland - for two months in spring 2019. This image flashed in my head while practicing mindfulness meditation. In recent weeks, my mood has been sour, and I believe the constant Pacific Northwest drizzle might have something to do with it. Winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a real menace, and it exacerbates my anxiety. Prior to moving to Seattle nearly ten years ago, I'd never heard of SAD. Since then, meditation is my go-to with managing SAD symptoms. Yet meditation hasn't been working. Why?
To combat my blues, I alternatively scribbled everything I was thankful for in my journal. Then I declined a wild weekend of partying, which is becoming more energy draining the older I get. I then watched childhood movies to activate feelings of nostalgia. None of these strategies worked.
This morning, I gave this guided Youtube track a try: When Your Mind is Resisting Meditation, which walked me through accepting my feelings of sadness. Rather than investigating my feeling's purpose or origins, I was instead asked to let sad thoughts play out in my brain so I could focus on the present moment. That's when the photo of me in Iceland popped in my head.
The bottom line
I've come a long way with my life. It's difficult to capture all of those twists and turns in one blog post, but what it meant to leave my job to write my memoir is life changing. I'd never done anything like that before. It was terrifying to not have a steady income. Obviously, everything worked out. I traveled, finished the first draft of my memoir, and learned a lot about myself. As I battle against - err correction - as I accept my winter blues, I learned that it's temporary. Soon enough, spring will once again bloom, then summer will sweat my pores. Until then, my writing commences. In fact, this past weekend I workshopped half of my memoir. Perhaps that's why the image popped up in head during my morning meditation.
Is Mindfulness Meditation for you?
It never hurts to practice new forms of wellness-ish-ness, as long as you do your research. Mindfulness meditation is nearly a daily practice for me, especially when I'm in a creative slump. For me, mindfulness resets my brain so I can focus on what's in front of me: a blank page to write however and whatever I like. Thus, a sense of temporary control has returned to my hands, enough control to keep my creative work (pro)active.
What is Mindfulness?