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Painting for Stillness

The studio is a microcosm of life; what I learn and how I approach the canvas reveals valuable information about how I am going through life. This is not a new idea to me. In yoga school and in my yoga practice my presence on the mat is often a reflection of how I experience my day, or what I am focusing on in my life. Sometimes after a difficult day of work or an altercation on a subway I find my yoga practice is navigated by the tightness of my muscles. Frustration or stress may show up through impatient and thoughtless motions through the sequence, without awareness of my breathing, or difficulty finding comfort in my seat or even in the relaxation of shavasana. As my yoga practice developed, my ability to find comfort and balance at the mat took hold over my emotional state that day and began to affect my quality of life off the mat. This is similar to the experience of an artist painting in the studio. The process of creating is the art. The art piece is only the result, the final moment of an artist's process. To create in this way the art-maker must be in the moment. The idea of presence seems so simple. Listening to my breath has been the best way in- the best way to attune to my self. By connecting to my internal rhythm I become aware of my body, my sensations, and my thoughts in the moment. This has been the most practical way for me to practice being consciously present in life. The outcome of what I experience when truly present and self-aware is remarkably fruitful and has the power to intensify the simplest moment to the most profound and unique experience. I believe the key is to allow, without judgment. Allowing creates an exchange of flowing energy from my breath to my brushstroke. And I believe it is in this interconnected energy that true healing resides. My brief but profound experience over this week in studio allowed me to be still without obligating my physical body to be seated in a traditional meditation position for long periods of time. While my body moved my mind was focused and calm. Sensations came and went but did not cloud my thoughts or distract me from my intention to be fully present with each brushstroke. The result may not be a masterpiece, but the practice of creating was perfect for me in every breath.

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