2 minute read
During my slow journey so far, I’ve been getting rid of the bad habits and practices that keep me on the fast-living treadmill. Now I want to focus on filling my life with experiences that bring me happiness. I turn to Sarah Samuel, author of Mindful Crafting (Leaping Hare Press, £9.99). ‘When we practise mindful crafting, we uncover who we are: our innate beauty, trust, wisdom, peace and joy,’ she says.
I used to love painting as a child, so I buy some watercolours. I dive straight in, paint clumsy splodges – then sneer and judge myself: ‘So childish!’ Stop judging your output, says Samuel. ‘Use crafting to be mindful. Let go of all other demands on your attention; trust your inner genius.’ Inner genius? More sneering. ‘What if the things that block you from being creative – your flow – are also the things that block you in life?’ asks Samuel. Ah, hello, old friend! Self-judgement, my trusty sidekick.
Try again, Samuel encourages. ‘Tell yourself you have nothing to prove, nowhere to go and nothing to do other than being here, right now. Notice how you feel. All feelings are welcome. Allow whatever emotions that arise to be just as they are. Thoughts will crop up that tell you it’s not OK to feel what you’re feeling. Let them come and go, using your breath as an anchor. It may be uncomfortable to feel those feelings you try to avoid – but stick with it,’ she says. I do. Thoughts rampage through my head but I keep painting… the inner noise quietens and two hours slip by.
A dab hand
My son leafs through my sheaf of paintings. ‘When did you learn to paint?’ he asks. In two hours, I hadn’t learned how to paint exactly, but I had learned to notice and stop buying into the self-judgement that forever nibbles at my endeavours. It was fun swirling colours on a page! ‘When we craft mindfully, we are letting go of beliefs that tell us we are not enough,’ says Samuel.
So, halfway through my year, I’m still letting go – this time of ingrained beliefs – but I now have a paintbrush in my hand. Maybe I can craft a new future for myself…
Listen to ‘My slow year’ podcasts here to hear Suzy in conversation with various experts