The primary reason why I love doing handmade crafts is that it connects me to my deepest center. I love how working with my hands puts me into a state of contemplative meditation. Being thoroughly absorbed into the moment and being one with the fabric, felt, cloth, glue or glitter is an experience that is both profound and mind expanding. I feel most blissful when I feel this way.
However, life's many to-do lists and demands can sometimes rob us of these ephemeral, grounding moments. It's difficult to stay soulfully focused on a creative project when there are more urgent, practical tasks that demand our attention. How then do we cultivate a calm mind that is the fertile ground for creativity?
Here are simple ways on how to stay creatively focused and centered:
1. Meditate on-the-go
Music has a profound relaxing effect on the brain and emotions. You can create a virtual rock garden of the mind by taking mini meditation music breaks during your lunch hour. Download a guided meditation or theta entrainment music to your iPod or mobile device. Listen and relax into the mindful moment. A relaxed mind is a wellspring of infinite creative ideas.
2. Remember to Breathe
Too busy to even breathe? Holding your breath during busy moments during the day can even make your mind foggier and more de-focused. A few minutes of deep breathing oxygenates the mind for the production of fresh, creative ideas. You may want to explore ayurvedic or yogic breathing techniques to calm or energize.
Peace of mind is just a iPhone app away! There are lots of iPhone applications that can help you get centered and relaxed. In particular, Undo is a wonderful app that creates a virtual, sacred meditation space to do zazen (zen meditation). Meditation is often viewed a intuitive solution to a creative problem.
4. Focus on color
Color draws us in. It makes us more perceptive of form and nuance. Photography as a creative craft particularly requires a sharp and perceptive mind and eye. If your eyes have become too jaded to even notice or appreciate beauty around you, try soaking in some color. Focus on a particular object and try to identify the particular shade of color in question (celadon green or foamy mocha?). Not only is this exercise relaxing, it also awakens the senses. Awakened senses translate to more beautiful designs, tastes or flavors.
Multi-tasking may save you time and energy but it is a bad habit that may ruin your mental focus in the long run. It's hard to knit and be on the Wii at the same time. It's even impossible to quilt while texting at the same time.
If you can't help being a multi-track brained octopus, carve a special time (i.e. 30 minutes) during the day that is exclusively devoted to single-tasking. Focus all your energies on an activity that gives you joy (origami folding, embroidery or anything that floats your boat) and reap the benefits of a more creative existence.