Mindful Creativity – a great way to bound back after a challenging 2020

I’m really pleased to be offering Mindful Creativity workshops in 2021 – my new programme is called 168 Days of Kapiti Magic and kicks off February 7. You may have started to hear more about the benefits of mindfulness, particularly as we look for ways to best navigate the challenging landscapes of the world since Covid-19 appeared. We exist in a global landscape challenged by pandemic surges, climate change, and geopolitical instability. Our concerns around these things can get the best of all of us at times.

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand says ‘Research suggests that when we intentionally practise being mindful, we feel less stressed, anxious and depressed, and more balanced and in tune with what is happening inside and outside of our bodies. The resulting calm and clarity boosts wellbeing, broadens perspective and provides an important foundation for learning.’

As a writer and artist, I believe that art, mindfulness, nature and creativity can combine to enhance our sense of wellbeing. Creativity provides an abundance of opportunity to relax, unwind and de-stress. ‘In 168 Days of Kapiti Magic, we explore a range of creative techniques and exercises from doodling to sketching, exploring watercolour, charcoal and acrylic painting. We play with intuitive writing and explore visualisations and breathing exercises.

Exploring our stories and experiences through creative play also enables us to re-connect with our inner selves and reflect on our experiences. It’s a way of finding new meaning and gleaning wisdom from what we’ve experienced. 

My new programme has received funding support from the latest round of the Creative Communities Scheme. Chair of Creative Communities Grants Allocation Subcommittee Jackie Elliott says the funding recipients will play an important part in the Kāpiti district’s COVID-19 recovery and in capturing local experiences.

“Artistic expression plays a vital role in helping individuals and communities understand the world around us, and in this uncertain time we all need a bit of help processing 2020,” Cr Elliott says. “In selecting the projects funded this round, the committee considered how they would support our community in the recovery from lockdown and as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 climate.

168 Days of Kāpiti Magic is a mixed delivery course, with Zoom tutorials and literary as well as monthly half-day workshops in my studio.

The course is open to everyone who wants to explore creativity for wellbeing, relaxation and fun.

More about 168 Days of Magic

168 Days of Kapit Magic focuses on five specific themes:

Connection / Storytelling 

Connection to self. Connection to other. Connection to nature and the environment. All of these things are part of our sense of wellbeing, and can be enhanced and enlivened by telling and sharing and creating stories of our lives and experiences. With this connection and sharing of stories comes collective strength, wisdom and increased understanding about the experience of others.

Reflection / Mindfulness 

Reflection is one of the healthiest things we can do to process our life experiences – to find meaning and learn lessons from our experiences, to value what comes to us and value what we can offer to others. Mindfulness is an excellent tool to create a foundation for deep reflection. Mindful reflection can be achieved through creative processes that enable participants to cease the business of their mind and find quiet, nourishing inner spaces. Mindful creativity is a practice that, once established in a person’s life, can continue to bring joy well into the future and is an excellent way to create a buffer against fatigue, worry, stress and mental overload – particularly relevant in times of uncertainly.

Expression / Artistic Play 

Abstract art is a wonderful way to explore our own physicality and our boy’s own sense of intelligence. Painting is another way that we can give our brains permission to take a break while we play with colour and engage our imaginations. Abstract art is an accessible form of painting for everyone interested in creativity. It requires no former experience, no trained artistic eye, only a desire to create, to play and to enjoy the freedom of an empty canvas or sheet of paper.

Exploration 

Exploration takes on a multitude of meanings in this course. Exploration of our own inner selves. Exploration of new ideas. Exploration of our collective experiences of life. This course invites participants to open themselves up to a range of new experiences and to participate with an open mind. In the literal sense, the half-day studio workshops will also enable participants to explore the many wonderful facets of the natural landscape – from the river to the estuary and the ocean.

Discussion 

All zoom workshops, as well as studio workshops, will involve instructor-led and self-led discussion. This allows people to share ideas and reflections, and to talk further on creative topics to enrich their own, as well as each other’s understanding and interpretation of the subject.

Curious about Mindful Creativity?

I’m really pleased to be able to open up my gardens and studio space for some group creative fun! If you’re curious about what Mindful Creativity is, and if it’s for you, I’ve created some super-short videos to provide a bit of an explainer. Hope to see you there!