Mindful observation is a practice that everyone can develop, with just a few moments of free time. It costs nothing – and yet can have really positive impact on our sense of wellbeing – and get our creative juices flowing!
Mindfulness can really be about revisiting the things we do every day on autopilot, and slowing right down to look at how we do them. Looking at how we operate lets us get out of autopilot mode and be far more intentional about things.
When we are intentional, we increase our levels of awareness. Things look different because we have brought the power of our attention along with us. And so looking can become looking. Not just scanning, or sighting, or seeing, but really observing.
Mindful Observation can give us all sorts of lovely experiences. Here’s a few reasons to explore this practice:
- It can help us find beauty in detail by observing objects and scenes more slowly
- It can help us develop a higher appreciation for shapes, texture, light, lines, pattern and repetition
- Observation doesn’t just have to be outwards-focused. It ca be about looking – and then observing how we feel in that moment. If we sit down beside a river and spend some time observing the water, what happens when we look inwards and observe our thoughts, and any feelings that may arise? Can we observe our bodies respond to the slowing down that happens when our gaze shifts from looking to observing?
An Exercise in Mindful Observation + Free Download
Here’s an easy observation exercise that you can try. I’ve provided a work sheet for you to print out and use – but feel to go out and find your own leaf or object to use as an exercise in observation!
- Place your object in front of you, about an arm’s length away. Drink it in with your eyes. What do you see? Appreciate the colours of the object. Try and articulate every colour you can see. How are you responding to the colours – do they bring about any feelings or make you think of anything?
- With your finger, trace the outline of the object. Trace the object fast, then slow.
- Place the object on a piece of white paper and trace its outline with a pen or pencil. Add as many details as you can observe.
- Bring your object closer and visually explore you’re the minute details of your object. See how many words you can think of to describe it. Are there any themes that you can identify in the words you choose?
- Think about the object and its energy. Is there a particular season or time of year that this object makes an appearance? Do you feel a sense of connection to it? What is that sense of connection?
- Capture your image in some way. Take photos on your camera or phone, do a few quick sketches, or write a few sentences describing it. Think about how you could best share the ‘essence’ of this object with someone else, and what that could look like.
Click on image to the left to download and use as your object for observation!
What is Mindful Creativity?
Hello, my name’s Jordan. Mindful Creativity is a great way to relax, unwind and enjoy creativity to enhance our sense of wellness. If you’re looking for a way to connect with your inner voice as you develop your own personal creative practice, it might be just the thing for you.
My Mindful Creativity blog, resources and tools provides ways for you to deepen into a more nourishing creative practice!