Permission to Pause

Steps to pause and refuel creative energy.

Excerpt from Reframe Your Artistry, the book:

Picture the last time you powered down. If you cannot recall, I’m not judging. I very much relate. Nights pass with a neglected feeling of wanting to connect with my husband at bedtime, even if it’s a few highlights or lowlights from our day. Too often, we’re both scrolling through our phones for latest updates and what-nots. Take it from me, power down more often. It’s liberating! And it’s healthy. And your artistic growth depends upon this healthy freedom.

            Silence your cell phone and camp out in your make-shift art cave. Or just make eye contact with someone, anyone, or anything, during prime time.  Maybe this sounds too good to be true, right away. But like Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams, build it and it will come to you. Intend to make it happen! And it happens!

MECHANISMS TO PRACTICE PAUSING INCLUDE:

three part breath, three times: inhale – belly, chest, nostrils, exhale – nostrils, chest, belly

set an intention and visualize actions that embody that intention

make eye contact and follow a child’s or pet’s lead for ten minutes

journal for a few minutes, early in the morning or to engage creative circuitry during a lunch break

sketch a familiar spot

meander down an unfamiliar lane

back to the ground, study the sky

            With pausing practices under your belt, powering down is within reach. Pausing with natural elements, repurposing energy, or marveling at supposed mistakes shift our outlook. It warms up our brain to thaw technological chills. Pause and fresh point of view are some of the best nutrients for a twenty-first century brain. They are also vital nutrients to expand concentration to find your flow for art making. The practice of pausing is productive for the brain no matter what you’re engaging with. And I bet the time spent pausing off-line will translate into more time spent art making.

            Begin by setting aside pockets of time throughout the day and choose to pause. Some of these pockets may be straight-up pauses and some may be time for art making. Some pauses could be as brief as a drink of water or three even breaths. Some might be as simple as a two-minute shower or as long as thirty minutes meal. Length does not matter as much as mindful attention to one grace-filled thing at a time.

NOTICE THAT GRACE-FILLED THING WITH BEGINNER’S EYES AND ATTENTIVE REGARD.

            Pausing becomes second nature like flossing rituals. The tool’s brand may change, and certain brands work better for some than others, but the effect is similar. Pauses clean out excess goop and create healthy foundations.  The more habitual the practice, the cleaner the space. I consider quality of mind, or the health of our mind-body-spirit connection, to be our mental ability to maximize intentional living and decrease distractibility or reactivity. Give pause, with or without art making, the same hygiene regard as flossing. Like any habit formation, after a matter of weeks, it becomes part of your lifestyle.

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