I am aware that this will sound strange but when I watch or read dystopian fiction be it JG Ballards The Drowned World , I am legend or the book The Omega Man from which it came, to me it sounds like a travel writer describing an idyllic holiday location. The idea of a world where I can quietly get on with my art has some appeal. And I mean SOME appeal as there are plenty of people I do get on well with, but then again, there are plenty I don’t. I have spent too long in the past, working in various jobs dealing with the public, having to tolerate the rude, the unkind, the unstable, the dull, the self absorbed and the egotistical (and that was just other staff members) and I try and keep my contact with such to a minimum now. I realise there are people out there who would lay the same accusations at me for various reasons and they are at perfect liberty to do so, I try and remain self aware and self critical and would only ask that others took as equally hard a look at their own motivations and actions before they question mine.
With this in mind, I was recently underwent a curious form of counselling with a pair of therapists. One of the ideas that came up was to have a look at a website called headspace which centres around ways of achieving a healthy mind. Yesterday was probably the first day I’ve had for a long while that was quiet enough for me to seriously look at everything that they suggested. Well yoga was out for a start. Being dyspraxic and dyslexic anything that involves balance will end badly, plus the second you get group activities, you get people and then they go and invite you to stuff and try and talk to you. Bloody hell! That sounds awful doesn’t it? The thing is though, whilst I can happily pass the time of day with most people, it doesn’t take long before either my eyes glaze over because some random idea pops into my head or I go off on some massive tangent and lose them completely. So no to yoga or indeed any group or class activity.
The other suggestion was mindfulness… Blimey! Now where do I start with that one? Trying to quiet my mind is like trying to put out a forest fire with a thimble full of water. I am constantly being buried by an avalanche of thoughts, feeling, ideas and sensations and it is a struggle to get the constant stream of ideas down in some form that doesn’t eat me alive. Be it paintings, drawings, writing, whatever, there are all these things going on that need to be dealt with. I have done a fair share of cbt in my time and have done an amount of talking therapy, enough to be aware of what goes on in my mind and to be aware enough to keep a lid on the most negative of thoughts that creep into my head. Not all but most. So mindfulness, nah!
Over the last couple of days, I have been stuck in a sort of loop. I have been cleaning up an image I drew of a local band in Photoshop. Due to the amount of detail I need to get in, the drawing was huge, which meant that I needed to have it commercially scanned. Like anything that doesn’t happen in house, once you lose control things start going wrong and need correcting. On top of that, there were things that didn’t quite sit right in the image. So for days now, I’ve been working on the same image, evening up eyes, darkening areas, losing stray lines. Day after day, a bit here, a bit there, making judgement calls on how much to straighten up lines before they cease to look hand drawn. Working out the optimum level of wonk in a the final image. Every now and again, there will be a blissful moment where my mind is emersed In what I am doing and I cease to be deluged by stray thoughts. It doesn’t last long though, just moment, but even a moment of calm can be blissful.
It’s not the only quietness though. There are moments just staring at the majesty of the sea or little human moments of feeling the sun on your skin. If you are really lucky, there are those lovely sensual moments of someone stroking your hair, or hearing another’s heartbeat as you hold them close. I do so welcome those little engrossing moments, lost in thought, brush tool here, hair stroke there, pencil tool, clone, kiss, erase, sunshine, smudge, touch, Save as.