Travels with my Art

Paintings and Photographs inspired by Travels Around the World

Crafting isn’t a hobby, it’s therapy

I am rubbish at meditating, absolutely rubbish.

And it’s not for want of trying; I’ve read books about meditation and mindfulness, joined yoga clubs, listened to calming CDs, discussed meditating with therapists and have even tried going for a relaxing massage, but that just made me laugh.

I decided to get a Zen app on my phone to help me get into the right frame of mind,  waited for my children to go to bed, lit a scented candle and began to focus on my breathing. But every time the initial meditation gong went off and I am encouraged to clear my mind, my mind does the exact opposite and starts to fill up with everything from trivial problems like ‘oops, I forgot to put the bin out’ to more series long term problems such as ‘I really need to start organising a pension plan’.

I simply can not empty my mind when I am told to.

I guess I’m a bit like Anna in this photo from the best book I’ve read on this subject, the tongue-in-cheek The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness by Jason Hazeley.

Ironically, it was while I was making a meditation pillow for my husband Mark that I realised that for me, doing craft is my way of meditating. When I am doing knitting, crochet or sewing, I zone out completely and experience a kind of meditative mindfulness state. I actually find these activities almost hypnotic and when I do them my head clears completely and I concentrate on nothing else other than what I am doing at that time – it is almost as if I concentrate on nothing.

I researched ‘doing something creative as a form of meditation’ and found out that I was right – when people engage in a creative interest or passion, they are in fact doing a form of meditation. Creating allows us to focus on what’s in front of us and stops us from thinking about the past or worrying about the future.

And it dawned on me that I have the exact same calm and ‘in the moment’ feeling when I am sketching, painting, playing the piano, playing the guitar or doing some gardening.

So now I don’t have to berate myself because I am not making time for meditation, I can just spend more time crocheting, knitting, sewing or playing music and apparently I am meditating. Crafting is not just a hobby, it’s a form of therapy –  hopefully this will help me with my stress levels and save me a bit of money 🙂

My moment of enlightenment – making the meditation pillow

Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. ~Buddha


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  1. thewonderer86 December 2, 2017

    Great that you’ve found your way of meditation. I think it’s almost impossible to empty the mind and I think during meditation it’s OK just to recognise the thought and move on, start over, concentrate on the breathing – whatever. Feeling you have to stop having these thoughts only makes them occur faster and thicker.

    • Ali Dunnell December 3, 2017

      I know… as soon as I am told to think of nothing, I can’t stop thinking of everything. But while I am crocheting and knitting or playing the piano, I think of nothing, apart from what I am doing there and then… easy 🙂

  2. healingpilgrim December 2, 2017

    I’m with you on this, Ali! It’s also called Flow 😉 I can get easily distracted while attempting to meditate, so I’ll often call the whole thing off. But put a paintbrush in my hand, or let me get my hands dirty in earth while making a labyrinth, or going for a long walk in nature… that’s when I ZEN out!

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