Paula Kuitenbrouwer keeps a lovely online portfolio and shop of “Mindful Drawings.” Most masterful artists would likely have developed a refined quality of mindfulness, but Paula’s work breathes from a deep and clearly-articulated intention to work from a place of mindfulness.
“I carefully prepare my drawing session by laying out all the tools. I think long about what I want, and I pay attention to the composition. I also do research, because I like to know what I am drawing. When I draw a bird, I study that bird in real as well as with the helps of books. When I draw a flower, I have it seen in nature or it is right before me on my table. I read about the flower, and I like to study and know its Latin name. The same counts for bugs: I do not draw any bug I haven’t seen or studied.”
Recently, my partner Maitreya and I had a friend come to stay at our apartment, a very kind musician named Walter. A month or so earlier, we had been travelling with Walter, the three of us in a car, taking in the stunning beauty of the Connemara landscape — we totally bonded.
During his most recent visit, we went for walks, cooked lentils and rice, played music, and joked about the peculiarities of living in Ireland — ‘why on earth do you need a key to unlock doors from the inside?!’ I pondered aloud. I guess what is commonplace to some, seems like a fire hazard to others.
His light-heartedness, which we so enjoyed, lingered even after he had left. It was marked by a great sense mindfulness and presence, exemplified in the way he would clean the dishes after a meal. Maitreya remarked:
Yeah, it’s like the world is at ease when he washes the dishes.
And it was! He always took his time, clearing the drain board in full, waiting patiently for the sink to fill with soapy water, washing each dish thoroughly, rinsing with cold water, and then placing intently into the drain board, one-at-a-time.
Daniel J. Siegel, co-founder of UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center:
“With repetition, an intentionally created state can become an enduring trait of the individual as reflected in long-term changes in brain function and structure.”