We’ve all heard that mediation is good for us, body, mind, and soul. Why does it often seem like drudgery that we can never make time for? The key is to love it so much that you crave it, instead of think of it as yet another chore. Or, maybe meditation seems too foreign or mysterious, too daunting to try? The fact is that there are countless ways to meditate, no way more correct than another. And guess what? Meditations can be modified, or newly invented, to fit each unique individual. Your mind, your meditation.
I see meditation as an art form, and I believe that creativity is central to a rich inner life through regular practice. Your own mind can provide a beautiful, peaceful sanctuary, designed by you in every vivid, sensuous detail. This may take time and dedication to develop, yet the journey can be a fascinating exploration into a timeless tradition and a loving investigation into Self, step by mindful step. I’ll guide you in creating a lush personal vista that you will want to visit again and again.
As an artist and educator, meditation is central to my practice as a means for healing and for processing trauma. Most recently, I’ve worked with the American Institute of Graphic Arts and Healthy Mind, Happy Heart to develop a meditative group art making experience aimed at increasing mental health awareness in our community. As an Art Specialist with Team Elliott Education, and a Certified Dementia Practitioner, I’ve guided seniors in art making exercises to relieve depression and encourage mental engagement, throughout Central Florida’s many assisted living and memory care facilities.
Meditation and art are so interconnected for me because of a life changing personal experience. In 2003, I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors of Fine Art, specialization in painting. My life took a harrowing turn just weeks later, when I lost my vision and most of my hearing, due to massive head injuries sustained in a drunk driving collision. I spent the next year in and out of hospitals, but as soon as my eyesight was partially restored I began making art again, although I was anything but fully recovered. Full steam ahead, I received my Masters in Fine Art in 2007 from Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Yet…so much unsaid was always under the surface. I refused to admit that many of my injuries seemed permanent, or even address my emotional reaction to that realization. Ignored on the outside, that unprocessed trauma first began manifesting as depression and withdrawal, then facial ticks and back pain, and finally as severe allergic reactions and life threatening asthma. Even worse, I lost all desire to make or even look at art.
In 2015, I turned to meditation as a last hope, when doctors and medicine stopped working and I simply did not know what else to do. I followed my instincts and approached meditation as I always had approached art: full of sights and sounds, smells and textures. My morning meditation became a ritual where every single ingredient was special, and deeply researched. From the incense and candles to the chanting and chimes, I made my yoga mat an art space where I could fully immerse myself in a beautiful experience. In my mind, I created imagery as rich as any painting, and I used my knowledge of art symbolism to examine all the subconscious surprises that popped up in my visualizations.
Even more rewarding, I found a meditative quality working it’s way into my art practice and I fell in love with painting again. My making meditation paintings have become mandalas that I’ve shared with others in everything from chakra balancing to team building exercises. Quite simply, my personal discovery of the amazing benefits of daily meditation has enhanced life in a way that reaches beyond myself.