Tag Archives: Activity

Jazz and Collages

5 Feb

One of my favourite things to do on a winter evening is listen to jazz and make collages.

Collage

A recent collage

I started making collages two years ago, after my yoga teacher asked everyone in the class to “go home and make a mood board”. In fact, “our subconscious works with images”, she said “so it is more useful to look at an image of what we wish to bring into our lives, rather than to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, for example”.

In order to pick out images that relate to our subconscious, our yoga teacher gave us the following instructions:

1)      Set aside at least half an hour in your day for solely this activity.

2)      Create a calm atmosphere: light candles, put on relaxing music, dim the lights, take a few deep breaths, clear your mind.

3)      Have a selection of magazines and newspapers ready. It doesn’t matter what they are, as long as they have pictures in them!

4)      Flick through the magazines and cut out all images that you feel immediately attracted to. Don’t think about it – your ‘gut’ choice may be surprising or unexpected to your rational mind, but the important thing is to go with your gut feeling.

5)      Put all of the images together either into a frame that you can hang up in a visible place in your home, or into a large art notebook, to which you can add images regularly.

6)      Keep on looking out for images that seem meaningful to you – ask friends to give you their old magazines, pick up free newspapers and leaflets, take photos, print out images from the internet that you love. Keep on building up your mood board and make new ones when the older ones no longer seem relevant.

After having made our collages, my yoga classmates and I began discovering amazing things manifest themselves in our lives. A girl who had chosen an image of a horse walking on a beach was soon invited by a cousin to do horse-riding along the sea. I had made collages based around photos of the beach and nature, to find myself moving to the South of France half a year later.

Collages not only remind our subconscious of what we truly want, but they add a personal and warm touch to our homes. In my kitchen and my living room I have collages that reflect my desires. These carry so much more meaning for me than the artwork of an unknown (or famous) artist hanging on my wall, because they are something that my subconscious itself has chosen and created.

Collage

Kitchen Collage

I also have a large art book, to which I regularly add images from any magazines I can get my hands on. I choose a page in the book that I particularly like and put it on a visible place in my home. Looking at these images brings me a sense of peace and comfort.

 Collage

Another favourite from my book

Try it yourself: set aside half an hour this week to make a mood board. Follow the instructions above and keep your mood board in a visible place. Let your subconscious and the universe do the rest!

A Break is a Change of Activity

12 May

It’s that sort of day: a list of things to do and a mind/body/soul completely resistant on doing anything. You stand paralysed in the middle of the room, staring blankly at your ‘to do’ list. With a distracted mind and a tired body, your whole being rejects the idea of doing any of the tasks at hand. “No!” it screams “I do not want to sort out my bank statements. I do not want to call the phone company and I certainly do not want to fill out all those forms”. And that’s it; you’re on strike.

We all have days when we sigh and grumble getting out of bed, when every task seems like a chore and when we are so overwhelmed by banalities that they block us from getting anything done. Our head spins and our body freezes; the only thing we seem capable of doing at that moment is hiding under our bed covers. But stopping all activity at a household choresmoment like this is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. In order to get ourselves out of this rotten mood, we need to do something – anything – that does not require emotional or mental effort.

Don’t feel like sorting out your bank statements? Wash the dishes. Can’t face calling the phone company? Put up that book shelf. Don’t want to fill out those forms? Take the dog for a walk.

By doing something productive that requires no emotional or mental effort, we are making it easier for ourselves to tackle those tasks that we are reluctant on doing. We are distracting ourselves from the things that are blocking us, we are giving ourselves a break from negative thoughts and we even feel good about having done a useful activity. If, in these moments, we stop everything and sit on the couch feeling sorry for ourselves, we give ourselves even more reason for grief.

Yesterday, I froze up at the thought of spending my afternoon calling various companies, filling out forms and reading endless information about jobs and courses online. I was so overwhelmed by the things that I had to do, that I felt like jumping into bed and sleeping through everything. Instead, I put on my sandals and went to pick flowers for a hair mask in a nearby field. I then cooked a meal using a new recipe, and by the end of it all, I was feeling so happy and satisfied that I sat down to complete my other tasks with a smile on my face.

But be careful – distracting yourself with other, more menial, tasks is a solution for getting things done and not an excuse for putting things off. When you are overwhelmed – mentally, physically or emotionally – by your ‘to do’ list, taking a break and changing activity is refreshing and energising, but using menial tasks as an excuse to delay completing more important things is procrastination.

As my grandma always says “A break is a change of activity”.