Mindfulness and Museums

A shout out to Alli Burness, a museum writer and content creator, for her excellent post “Reacting to Objects: Mindfulness, Tech and Emotions“.

Cornelius Krieghoff, Breaking up of a Country Ball in Canada, Early Morning (The Morning after a Merrymaking in Lower Canada) 1857, ago.net

Clearing my mind of the surroundings and ignoring interpretation, I focus on the image, the physicality of an object and listen to how I react emotionally. Mindfulness has been a useful way to hear my emotions talking to objects in busy museum spaces. It’s let me identify objects I feel connected to in huge collections; it’s one method to navigate an ocean of images, not all of which I’m capable of connecting with.

It’s like she read my mind, knew my history, and fresh-pressed it just for me 🙂

Mindfulness is very much on my mind these days. In fact, my doctor has referred me to join a Mindfulness Meditation Therapy programme to better manage my stress, the culprit behind some severe health symptoms.

Pilates is my go-to for retraining my breathing which has been in shallow, flight-or-fight mode probably throughout my waking hours till self-observation kicked in. The demand of Contrology (as Pilates was original called) means mindfulness of both my mind and body must be in high gear to master the movements.

Another mindfulness exercise we should all practise is Mindful Eating. For me, it is the pivotal key to my eating disorder; for people without such issue, it’s still an excellent habit for good digestion and table manners.

So now you should see why I feel that this post on “experiencing the museum’ is a deliciously timely tip to further my mindfulness training, extending it into a place – museum – that I already adore.

I’m learning to see differently, rediscovering how my subjectivity and emotions can have a role in my museum experience.  When researching later, I’ve found the emotions I feel when looking are rarely at odds with the story or meaning these objects are widely accepted to have. In fact, the emotions join hands with the meaning and both ring out louder. I’ve felt more deeply connected to these objects. I wonder if museums design exhibitions to allow a valuable experience to be had if the labels are ignored or read?

I am also grateful that someone (an expert no less) can so aptly describe how I’ve been sensing all these years, of being distracted from appreciating the objects or genuinely connecting with and responding to them, because I felt the need to read and learn at the same time.

Off to the museum it is. Happy!!!!!

Stretch Your Plastic Brains!

Have you read this brilliant article from WSJ – Our Amazing Plastic Brains?

content

 

…Neuroscientists took to describing the brain as a computer. This “master analogy” … encourages us to see thought as “software” and the brain’s structure as “hardware….The unhappy practical implication of this view…is clear: Hardware inevitably degenerates with time and use. The rule for a machine is, “Use it and lose it.” Many clinicians under the sway of this analogy saw patients’ attempts to resist their brains’ decline through activity and mental exercise as a harmless waste of time.

Fortunately, a growing body of research suggests that this older view is wrong. It seems that a more accurate rule for our brains is “Use it or lose it.”

If so, are you as super duper excited as I am? Haven’t read it? Please please please click and read (yes, even if you are leaving my blog, I insist!).

 

For 10 years, both my mind and body have been constantly exposed to serious challenges, some deliberately sought, most in the form of big, fierce curveballs.

It’s also the beginning of a decade when I am constantly told “it’s time to slow down”, or “accept things as is” WHICH I INSTINCTIVELY WRITE OFF.

As a result, my brainwork has evolved in the most amazing ways. It’s tough but rewarding, scary yet deliciously exciting. A fan of neuroscience, I am happy to read that such plasticity is indeed scientifically proven and encouraged!!

Have you been told to accept a downhill decline? Did you accept or ignore the advice? What did you do? How do you feel? What WILL you be?

A Most Sensible Dietary Guide

I am so in love with Brazil’s proposed food guide!

The authors of Brazil’s proposed dietary guidelines boiled down the 87-page document into 10 basic steps:

natural vegetables and spices

 

 

1. Prepare meals using fresh and staple foods.

2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.

3. Limit consumption of ready-to-eat food and drink products.

4. Eat at regular mealtimes and pay attention to your food instead of multitasking. Find a comfortable place to eat. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets and noisy, stressful environments.

5. Eat with others whenever possible.

6. Buy food in shops and markets that offer a variety of fresh foods. Avoid those that sell mainly ready-to-eat products.

7. Develop, practise, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.

8. Decide as a family to share cooking responsibilities and dedicate enough time for healthy meals.

9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes. Avoid fast-food chains.

10. Be critical of food-industry advertising.

BRILLIANT.

Oh, how I wish I could sketch!

Happened upon Pete Scully’s blog and impressive sketches today. Which reminds me of the allure of sketches, my inability to do so, and why I hope to learn.

Pete Scully
Source: http://petescully.com

Sketching and Doodling as a Business Tool

Whiteboard brainstorming is an elementary business practice. For years, I relied on bullet points, various shapes and connecting lines to capture, organize, analyse, and summarize my/team ideas. They were my go-to tools because they were my limits.

As visual thinking became more popular (like Xplane, Dan Roam’s The Back of a Napkin) , I had the opportunity to learn (Sunni Brown’s Infodoodling) and tip-toe into this new/enhanced/alternative ways to communicate. So far, I am using this as a thinking tool – or communication with myself if you will. It really helps to sort out the oodles of noodles in my head 🙂

Travel Sketching

If sketches are used to depict a dreary court scene, surely it can and should be used to capture happier moments, such as delightful sights during one’s travels. Imagine, supplementing your Facebook/Instagram feeds with sketches of what you see, feel, eat and sense.

Googled and found numerous entries about the topic. A few random sites that caught my eyes: Travelsketch blog, Trumpet Vine Travels, Gear for Travel Sketching.

BUT SINCE YOU’VE hit the road, you’ve started to feel like your camera just isn’t cutting it anymore. Something about the new scenes in front of you is begging to be seen through a different lens – the artist’s eye.  (Candace Rardon)

Source: http://matadornetwork.com/goods/gear-start-travel-sketching/

I wonder if I would ever be good enough to sketch on the go? Will it be relaxing or stressful? Is this something we can encourage our kid to try, using pictures as opposed to words to record their travel experiences?

Draw your Feelings

A few month ago, I received a very precious gift from a friend.

pickmeup

She also frequently post a signature “mouse” figure to convey her mood du jour. I may share some in the future, with her permission.

Coincidentally, right before I received her sketch, I was feeling rather down and reached out to an online group for support.

While I wrote for comfort, she drew. Such talent.

Digital Tools

Pen and paper is relatively new to me; I have always used the digital medium. A few apps have been downloaded but not frequently used on my iPad, including Penultimate (a product by Evernote, which I love), and Paper by FiftyThree (a gorgeous app). Apparently there is a whole world of digital sketching and drawing apps I have yet explored (thanks, http://www.creativebloq.com).

Sketching, doodling, drawing … all still very new to me. Yet I feel that this skill, when acquired and improved, will serve me well in many ways.

Do you sketch?