Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lessons Learned From Drawing

What is this mound of goodness? The return of perfect oatmeal breakfast. Oh and a REAL honeycrisp apple...after having to suffer through those bitter/sour fakes I got at the Farmer's Market.

Enjoyed at my wonderful dining room table which is surrounded by windows filled with trees.

In the perfect oatmeal mix:
-Thick Rolled Oats and Groats mixed together (love this!!)
-Honeycrisp Apple
-1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
-Sprinkle of Unsweetened Coconut
-Sprinkle of Sunflower Seeds
-Sprinkle of Raisins
-Drizle of PB on top

I am really missing my steel cut oats in the morning, what ever made me decide to try out thick rolled oats? Haha it's really not that bad and I actually loved the combination of Thick Rolled Oats and Groats this morning. Life's all about trying new things :)

So I don't know if you remember my Monday Morning post...where I talked about how great my morning was and how I hoped my evening would treat me just as well.

Well my evening pulled through and treated me even better than my morning! After spending too much time in the library I rushed home for 20 minutes to scarf some Black Bean Cocoa Quinoa Leftovers and then rushed off to drawing class arriving late. I stumbled in sweating with tea dripping all over the place (note to self: you only have two hands, which cannot hold a tackle box, portfolio, bus pass, cup of tea, and drawing board). I was flustered and just short of falling over when one of my classmates smiled at me and cheerily said, "we're going outside!" Those words were so delicious and perfect I swear they were dipped in chocolate. So we headed outside to draw.

Before class we had an assignment to do 3-5 sketches of outdoor scenes. I was lazy and dreaded doing these sketches so I ended up drawing from pictures taken on my Minnehaha Falls adventure. They turned out less than favorable...

Stiff, no movement...

Too overbearing and dark...

Complete Failure.

The worst part about these drawings? I had NO FUN drawing them and just stressed out about how "bad" they were. (looking back the first two aren't as awful as I thought they were just a little uninspired.) The only thing I could think about while drawing these was being DONE with drawing them. All I got from drawing these sketches was stress that I was a horrible artist and I was a failure of an art student.

Umm I spent about 2-5 minutes on each one...and drew from a tiny picture? Of course they sucked.

Now here are a few from class that I am immensely proud of:

Their really not any "better" from my sketches but the experience was. I went and sat outside, took my time looking, and observing what I was drawing. I got the feel of what I was drawing. In essence I put my whole self into my drawing. I didn't try to rush and just get it done, I wasn't thinking about the next thing I wanted to do, I didn't even try all that hard on them. I just drew, and only drew. By focusing solely on drawing my end result was that of feeling better about myself and creating something I was proud of, rather than something that caused me stress.

The moral? When you are doing something, just do that one thing. This is a Zen Teaching and it makes total sense. My sketches turned out bad because I wasn't drawing from real life and I saw it only as an assignment that needed to be DONE. Not something that could be ENJOYED.

The same principle applies to all aspects of my life(and yours!). I speak much better Spanish in Spanish Class when I'm only thinking about Spanish, not about all the homework I have, or what my plans are for the night. Or when I'm cooking, I may have a million things going on in the kitchen but when I chop carrots, I chop carrots and only when their done do I move to the next task and focus my energy on that new task.

When you put your whole mind onto one task it becomes much more enjoyable and less stressful. Usually you'll complete the task better and faster as well!

Stress is something we all deal with, although in today's world it is probably impossible to eliminate it from our life it is definitely something we can learn to deal with. Instead of letting it take over our lives. Dealing with stress is a very low impact activity. Stress affects our mental and physical health, and I think a lot of people, women and girls especially, cause their own stress by not feeling "good enough" compared to others. My sketches really weren't thaaaat bad, yeah they weren't great, but they were nothing to stress about. Because I felt inferior my drawings progressed from decent to just plain awful because I had NO CONFIDENCE.

My challenge to you? Next time your stressed out take a deep breath, a step back, slow down, and focus. Think about what your doing and what needs to be done and then put all your energy into it. Not frazzled, stressed out energy with no confidence in your actions. Make your energy well thought out and focused. And have confidence in what your doing, there is always going to be somebody that is doing something better than you and somebody who is doing it worse than you. Don't compare to them, compare to yourself. Through focusing your energy solely on one task, having confidence that you are doing a good job for YOU, and looking at progress rather than perfection I hope your stress will be erased. As for the task you are working on I hope it turns out better and is something you are proud of.

Oh and also...

Don't forget to play and have fun every once in a while! Doodling is one of my biggest stress relievers and leaves me refocused and ready to complete whatever I'm working on.

What helps you deal with stress? Do often feel like you are pulled in too many directions and cannot focus at all?

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