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It was certainly a call for action that I had caught this program not once but twice on NPR, an analysis of various mental therapy options out there today, which was absolutely fascinating. It described the old Freudian ways, the movement in the 80's stemming from Beck's automatic thought theory, and lastly went on to talk about a 'New Age' wave or 'Mindfulness therapy' movement that is becoming prevalent today around US.

Essentially, 'Mindfulness therapy' acts like a meditation away from your gnawing problems and thoughts. There was an excellent analogy there when someone stuck a book in front of their face, obstructing his vision. He obviously couldn't focus on the book because it was covering his eyes. When he put a book on his lap where he got some distance, it was in his peripheral vision, and only then he could get a clearer way to read it.

A process of painting (or dance, or making music, or yoga, meditation, etc.) is that form of mindfulness therapy. You force yourself to concentrate on your project at hand so hard that your everyday worries are at least resting for a bit.

I accidentally attempted this process in my own latest painting. I worked on melting a certain part of my canvas but then moved my eyes and started thinking about another section, completely losing myself in new ideas. Meanwhile, the old area now in my peripheral vision kept changing, without my stressing over its completion. No matter how hard I tried to bring myself to focus on one square at a time, my eyes and thoughts would wander around the whole surface. I then decided to just take that process as a given and was able to multitask. I mixed new colors while melting a certain area, allowing the canvas to essentially work itself out. It's a truly magical painting that came as a result, because it didn't require my constant attention.

Meanwhile, my adult classes inadvertently shaped two separate life changing situations. Yes, mindfulness therapy does wonders for your brain!



Before the Storm

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