Mindfulness Drawing : A 5 minute exercise

There are many elements which have helped my recovery. Mindfulness has been at the centre of my recovery therapy. It is a useful tool in finding inner peace. I have shared a mindfulness exercise which can be practiced individually or within a group.

Mindfulness tree exercise:

Find a comfortable postion to sit in, where you can feel relaxed but alert. With your piece of paper and pen start to draw a tree.

Enter into this exercise with no prior judgements of your drawing abilities or any preconceptions of what a tree should look like.
Just allow yourself to freely draw whatever your interpretation of a tree may be.

As you hold your pencil, take a few moments to focus on the feeling of your pencil between your fingers. This is something we do almost every day– but very rarely do we pay attention to how it actually feels to hold a pen in our hands.

Deliberately pay attention to each element of tree as you draw it.  The winding roots that achor the tree into the earth. The truck that stands tall. The branches that reachs out to the sky, and the leaves which decorate the tree. How does it feel to draw them on the paper?
As you draw them, Don't worry about the outcome of the drawing, just focus the process of drawing.

See if you can notice the different places the pencil presses against your skin. Is it resting on a knuckle or on the soft pads of the fingers? Is the surface rough or smooth? How does it feel? Experiment with how you hold the pencil. Are you holding it tightly or with a loose and relaxed grip? Can you loosen or tighten your hold so that it feels poised and yet still relaxed.

As you draw, if feel yourself becoming judgmental - let go of perfectionism and just focus on the feeling of drawing here and now. There is 'good' or 'bad' drawings, just your drawing.
This is not about making a work of art, but rather giving yourself permission to be uninhibited and experience the unfolding of lines, strokes, and shapes as they emerge on the page.

When you feel yourself getting lost in other thoughts, gently bring your attention back. Come back to the sensation of your hand drawing, brushing against the paper, holding the pencil. The act of realising that your mind has wandered and bringing your attention back without criticizing yourself is Central to the practice of mindfulness meditation.

Focus again on the freedom of your hand to move across the page producing whatever markings feels natural to you.

As you create your picture, redirect your attention to your other senses.
-Open yourself up to any smells. Does the paper or pencil have a particular  scent?
-Shift your attention to hearing, allow sounds to come as they arise. What noises are created by the contact of paper and pencil?
-Observe with eyes, look at your paper as a whole. Notice where you have drawn and notice where you haven't drawn. What type of marking have you created - dark lines or have drawn lightly?

And finally,  start to bring your drawing to a close. Finish the movements in your arm and hand. Remain still for a while and tune into the sensations from your whole body. Slowly start to reconnect with environment around you.


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