calligraphy as a mindfulness practice
When I first started teaching calligraphy workshops, one aspect of them made me really insecure: the silence.
I wondered, “Are the attendees not having fun? Is this awkward? Why is no one talking?”
It took me more workshops + more input to realize that the practice just took a lot of focus. That talking and writing at the same time was tricky. And countless attendees told me how relaxed they felt practicing this new skill.
Through my own experience with calligraphy and many of my workshops attendees, I’ve realized calligraphy can be a great practice in mindfulness and meditation.
USING CALLIGRAPHY AS A MINDFULNESS PRACTICE
Okay, I don’t have proof for this but stay with me.
Let me start by saying I have no official science or researched facts for this - it’s all anecdotal through my own experience or the testimonies of my workshop attendees! The only way to “prove” that my theories work for you is to try them out for yourself!
That being said, there is a lot of research out there that shows that meditation is seriously good for your brain. Like, reaaalllyyyy good. But not all of us are interested in sitting down in silence and trying to be silent and not think. To some of us, 5 minutes of that can feel like an eternity.
Maybe a practice like calligraphy can be your little intro into meditation?
Using calligraphy to free your mind from anxiety
Calligraphy takes a lot of focus - but not the kind of focus that leaves you exhausted. It’s the kind of focus that leaves you at peace because it doesn’t leave a lot of room to be thinking about everything else going on in your life. You have to focus on the angle of the pen, the pressure you’re applying (or not applying), the direction you’re moving and the shape you’re making.
It can take up just enough brain space to ease anxieties and leave you feeling rested and free.
I’ve found this to be true for myself whenever I’m practicing or designing. I have to focus on the actions I’m taking so I don’t have bonus room to think about the millions of ways I’m feeling stressed. And I’m not alone - so many people at my workshops have said the exact same thing.
This is a fun little shortcut in the world of mindfulness meditation! One of the practices in meditation is to focus on your breath and stop thinking, but when you notice you are thinking to simply label that as “thinking” and let the thought go. Through calligraphy, you’re able to do a similar thing by focusing on the work your hands are doing and to free your mind of everything else!
Using calligraphy to meditate on things that are important to you
As you get more comfortable with your calligraphy skills, it can be really fun to use the practice to meditate on, memorize, or focus on words that really matter to you by designing pieces of art with your favourite quotes!
Maybe you love a quote or bible verse and want to see it in your home every day. You write it over and over and over while you design it - memorizing and embodying the message of the quote. Then you hang it up in your house and see it every day, constantly being reminded of the meaning it has for you.
Or maybe you have family members you love, values you want to live by, or some other words that mean something deep to you - the same thing can be done with all that! Write it over and over and over. The more we are exposed to a thought, the more it really starts to live within us.
Meditate on the things that matter to you by writing them out over and over.
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