Viral Mindfulness #mondaymeditation

As part of the artistic collaboration I'm working on with Alexander, last week we meditated on our own 2013 power word, and tonight we meditated on each other's word. Alexander's power word(s) is Viral Mindfulness. Alexander is a clinical social worker turned life coach and motivational speaker. He also happens to be one of the most creative, artistic, and all around fabulous people I known. He's created a coaching brand and three-fold platform around his concept of viral mindfulness. The following links will take you to YouTube videos of Alexander in action, btw. Spreading Strokes is about practice, practice, practice (more on that later). Spreading Sit is about meditation (more on that, too). Spreading Slogans is about sharing nuggets of wisdom.

As I wrote in a previous post, I'm using painting as a way to retrain my mind out of a scarcity paradigm and come to fully understand abundance. Over the past week I painted on multiple occasions (even on tired busy weeknights) and each time I purposefully covered a previous layer of my canvas in some way and to some degree.

After I painted the first night, I covered the whole canvas in blue paint and left it. When I came back the next night, I added random gold sunburst things and red track marks. For no particular reason. That's the point.

No attachment. No fear that I messed it up. I'm purposefully painting random shapes and colors so that no one (mostly myself) can look at it and say, "That's clearly not a cat. Cats don't look like that. That's a bad cat." Randomness allows me to simply enjoy the feel of paint on a canvas. That and I can't draw cats. No fear that I'm losing something by painting over it. No fear that I can't possibly create something beautiful again.

The next night I painted a random leaf flower tree thing right on top of my sunbursts. Why not?

Alexander talks about cultivating, strengthening, and practicing new patterns of thought. The idea to Spread Strokes by embarking on a painting adventure is an act of meditation (Spreading Sit) for me. I'm "flirting with fear," as he would say, and I'm blasting right through it with new layers of paint and new habits. Okay, so I realize that paint on a canvas is a low-stakes controlled experiment with all of these concepts, but that's not the point. Start somewhere. Just start.

Whenever I'm done painting a new shape, I turn the canvas in a different direction. It's all about practicing detachment, and shutting down my controlling OCD brain. Let it go. Just turn the canvas and let it be something new. Now it's not a tree that I need to somehow protect and not mess up. It's just a shape.

Layers and layers and layers.

When I came back to the painting tonight, I felt weirdly attached to my little tree thing. Maybe I should just be done, I said. Maybe I should put a bird on it (then move to Portland), I said. Maybe that's pretty enough and I shouldn't mess it up, I said. But then, since I was paint-meditating on Alexander's power words tonight, I heard him telling me to "smile at my fear." I recognized that I was being crazy and letting a scarcity mindset take over. So instead, I let red paint smear all over the corner and I let blue circle stencils cover up my tree. That's Spreading Strokes, folks. It's all about the realization that "new habits and fresh thoughts expand with repeated effort."

Why stop there? Smear some metallic purple. Make some white arrow shapes. Just go.

Rotate. Continue. And done for the night.

As I proofread this post in preparation to publish it, I realize that I sound a bit crazy. A lot bit crazy. But guess what? That's because it IS crazy. All of this attachment and fear and control (illusion of) and scarcity is certifiably crazy. It's contrary to real real reality and that's why it sounds so nutso to us at our core. This realization is just like my revelation about meditation: Our natural state is calm and blissed out. Meditation doesn't bring anything to us, it only helps us clear away layers of gunk from our unbalanced lives. In other words, our natural state is also abundant and creative and in the moment and not attached to random silliness like tree shapes on a canvas. All the hamsters spinning on their bullshit wheels, as I'm known to say, are telling us otherwise, but that's the craziness. We do actually live in an abundant world; it's just taking a bit of viral mindfulness practice to help me see it fully.

Love and layers,

My Declaration: Celebration

Iowa. Salsa. Indigo Girls. #weekinphotos