Celebrating World Art Day — Mindfulness & Art

Today, April 15, is World Art Day. Sometimes when we bring up the “a-word” in classes, we inevitably see some eye-rolling and sighs. If you find yourself in that camp, before you click off this blog to read something else, consider that the word “art” can take many forms, and not all of them are about producing something.

Art can be photography or dance, accessorizing an outfit, or convincing the judge in a mock trial. Art can also be scribbling on the margins of a paper or creating a full-page doodle that you immediately recycle. Art is not just a product, but a creative process that is yours to define. Studies show that engaging with this process, with an intentional contemplative layer, has far-reaching benefits.

Some of the art our students have created mindfully

We all know the phrase, “process not product.” It’s the journey through creativity, not the outcome, where all the benefits lie. Scientists studying creativity are finding that engaging your brain in creative processes benefits brain function, mental health, and physical health. They also report that the benefits of developing creative skills include better relationships and greater confidence in one’s ability to succeed.

The term “dropping in” is used frequently in mindfulness teachings. Similarly, people often refer to “being in the zone” when talking about athletes’ or musicians’ performances. Both imply steady concentration without distraction. when we are better able to trust our instincts to make the right decisions for ourselves. As one artist friend said, “When you’re present with yourself, the possibilities open up. The ideas just flow as opposed to being a chore we have to cross off a list.”

Today, on World Art Day, consider engaging in something creative, just for the sake of it. Alternatively, you could join us tonight at 8pm EDT on Zoom (Password: CFR2020) for our nightly 10-minutes of mindfulness, and be sure to bring a piece of paper and a pencil or marker for some fun “art-like” activities.