meditation

The November of Ensos – Day 1

 

 

Acrylics on scrapbook paper

Acrylics on scrapbook paper

So – November first means Day 1 of the announced Enso Project. Here it is – apologies for the low photo Quality, this will improve in the course of this month as I hope wireless will be back to its usual …. good to medium quality ūüėČ

I am not likely to post every day, rather you will find a post of the latest 3-4 ensos every couple of days. And it is my ambitious Intention to offer an inspiring Quote alongside the photos – today’s Quote is from the insightful, wonderful Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh:

“A work of art can help people understand the nature of their suffering, and have insight into how to transform the negative and develop the positive in themselves. Writing, making a film, creating a work of art can be a act of love. That act of love nourishes you and nourishes others. If you’re happy, you know how to live deeply every Moment of your life, then deep understanding, joy, and compassion can come. Your art will reflect this understanding and will share it with others”
-from: Your True Home, by Thich Nhat Hanh, No.206, “An Act of Love”

 

Categories: Achtsamkeit, Art, buddhism, creativity, life, meditation, mindfulness | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The November of Ensos – how about joining?

Enso_1_copyrighted (548x640)

This is my first ever enso. Not a typical one Definition wise but I used up leftover acrylics there and painted in long circular movements….

 

 

So today is Halloween Day¬† – actually I am hearing a bunch of Kids rehearsing their trick or treat rhymes from outside as we speak. And it’s also – well, as you all know – the last day of October.

In a wonderful circle of creative People I have drawn and painted almost each day of October thanks to Tara Leaver’s “31 days of playful drawing” Project, also see recent Posts, which will get an update pretty soon.

As the everyday-creativity feels very healthy and makes my life richer in many ways, I decided to find a new Project in November. Let’s have a look at November for a moment… Many People find it a wet, foggy, cold, grey month.

Now, let’s reframe November:

mystic? Yes, I think so, thanks to the foggy mornings. A gift for photographers by the way.

Lots of invitations to get the candles out.  To find a lovely spot for fairy lights.

berry light (640x597)

 

a time for cocoon, maybe, to catch a big breath before the Christmas¬†crazyness begins. And speaking of “breath” – how about refreshing your Meditation / mindfulness practice if you are interested?

Besides sitting Meditation the Enso painting is a way to do this. And *bam* – there we are in the middle of what I want you to invite you to.

Enso

What is an enso?

An enso is a hand-drawn circle. Traditionally it’s drawn in one, (fluent) movement, not too slow, but definitely not fast. Moderately, a mindful circle comes to life.¬†

Some¬†buddhist monks have giant brushes, big as brooms, to draw an enso on a big table-cloth sized surface on the ground, it’s very fascinating to watch this as it is a whole-body experience. If you have the opportunity and a room, I highly recommend trying this.

What is an enso and what does it mean?

Enso is a japanese term which means circle. It corresponds to the wabisabi concept. If you look at photos of enso, see inserted links below, you see the opening of the circle as a typical trait and the obvious fact that it’s not made with any kind of compass. The drawing wants to remind of the imperfection which is an inherent part of our existence. It also stands for enlightenment, strength, the universe and the Buddhist understanding of the void (meaning, in¬†very short terms not an emptiness but the lack of “not-connectedness” of things and beings)

How about a November of Ensos?

So, here is the Basic idea:

For each day of November, we will take a good ten minutes out of our busy days, sit down, light a candle maybe, and drawn an enso.

What do we need?

Here are my recommendations – but you are totally free to choose whatever art supply you feel drawn to, just stick to a brush or maybe your fingers, not a pen.

  • a thick brush, a round tip
  • a thick paper, at least 100g/square metre
  • a quiet space
  • a table where you can move your arm without stopping

Making it a meditative practice – further ideas

Here is how I will go about my daily enso practice:

-lighting a candle, probably even finding a candle which will stay at this spot for every enso drawing day of November.

-lighting incense

-sitting with a straight, yet relaxed back

-breathing deep and watching my breath for at least 3 in- and outbreaths

-then slowly taking the brush, dipping it in the colour of my choice and drawing an enso.

 

Further creative Ideas are:

– if you feel especially crafty, of course it’s fantastic to prepare a few backgrounds.

– to do so, choose acrylics or watercolour and paint the backgrounds with them so you have a few waiting for the next ensos to come.

-if you have A5 index Cards, These are great for ensos, too. and they are small enough to Frame or hang a collection of your favourites.

driftwood and circles i

Not an enso but a natural circle which always inspires me for ensos

 

-I am planning to paint a few dark backgrounds, maybe dark marroon or dark Petrol blue, and paint a White enso .. just one way to Experiment with colour combinations.

If you feel like joining, please feel free to drop a comment and maybe a photo Gallery contact info, maybe us interested People can blog-link each other to Exchange. I am very much looking forward to Hearing from you!

To see you off, here are a few inspiring Impressions from Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful artwork:

http://www.thichnhathanhcalligraphy.org/newyork/

http://plumvillage.org/news/calligraphic-meditation-the-mindful-art/

Enso_smile_breathe (480x640)

Inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Achtsamkeit, Art, buddhism, meditation, mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

On creativity (pt I of probably a whole series)

wpid-IMG1560.jpg

This might become a post which is partly “everyday-philosophy”, partly gratitude related.

I am in the very lucky Situation to have not only amazing friends per se, and also, there is a deep exchange about creativity. A wonderful day spent at my Long-time friend U.’s house yesterday, 7 hours of crafting and talking and happy-sighing lies behind me time wise but is still present in my heart. A talk to my friend A. a few days ago about how it feels to do creative activities, how you define creativity and how often you want creativity in your life keeps ringing in heart and head, too. Both talks make me deeply grateful and inspire me in ways I can hardly put in words. Ideas spark ideas, and I am well advised to Keep a paper and pen attached to my Body. Very deep written into my soul’s interests are Tara Leaver’s thoughts on creativity¬†– you can read them in her amazing book “Creative Spark” and her blog. ¬†

Am I an exception there? No. And here’s my theory:

If you make room for creativity, if you make creative Actions a Habit in your every day life, even if it’s “only” for ten minutes a day, you will notice a Change in your thinking. Maybe even more, if you commit to a form of Meditation, this is a particularly personal take on things and also said with grateful experience. I started a morning Habit of sitting Meditation in April 2012 and have kept to it ever since, days having missed out I can count on my two hands. After having found about Tara’s take on artmaking, I found myself several times a week, drawing, sketching, etc. on index Cards, in sketchbooks, or being inspired by wonderful Susannah Conway and Journal my heart out, or girly with masking tapes and Stickers to decorate away happily.

But sketching, drawing, writing and decorating are just a few examples of creativity, or, they are the outside result of a creative Soul pursuing her need to act out on ideas. The creativity takes place inside and you take Actions. Here is a list (a list, imagine that, dear freuqent Reader ^^) of things I personally consider as creative, although These things might turn very left brained, too, admittedly.

The things many People agree to call creative:

  • Collage
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • sculpting
  • sewing
  • writing short stories/poetry/fiction
  • land art
  • film making
  • photography¬† …

You get the Point, right?

A bowl of veggie soup ..as a way to make someone feel home. Works for me.

A bowl of veggie soup ..as a way to make someone feel home. Works for me.

 

 

Something very sweet ¬†I read in Tara Leaver’s Creative Spark and on her blog:

baking or cooking. She suggests that when you turn away from easel or desk and you feel uncreative, yet you feel like bringing Forward something, cooking a simple recipe might be a very good thing to do.

What do you do when you bake¬†a cake or cook a veggie Rice recipe for example? You Combine. You measure. You decide. lots of things involved in every creative process. Quod erat demonstrandum. ūüôā

What I would like to add to a creativity list:

  • decorating the Apartment
  • developing a concept for a particular purpose
  • planning a Party
  • simply Setting a table
  • plucking flowers and arranging them to a Bouquet
  • organizing your day with our without day planner (not the right blog post to get me started on the creative use of my filofax ^^)

TSA_collage

 

Please feel invited to¬†add to this list, as it’s far from being enough. And I am so curious. Looking forward to hearing from you all.

 

Let me add this wonderful blog post in case you feel the list bit curious about making time and space for creativity in your life:

http://taraleaver.com/2014/10/how-to-find-time-for-art-in-a-busy-life/

 

Categories: Art, cooking and baking, creativity, drawing, gratitude, meditation, psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Interested in Meditation? Maybe you might like to stop by at Headspace

Sitting on this meditation cushion for about 400 days so far has taught me a lot about saying yes to situations, emotions, things which are not always easy to accept.

Sitting on this meditation cushion for about 400 days so far has taught me a lot about saying yes to situations, emotions, things which are not always easy to accept.

What is Headspace?                                

“Headspace is a project designed to demystify meditation. Using the wonders of science and technology, we make it easy-to-learn, fun-to-do, and relevant to your everyday life.” (taken from the website, see link below)

Sounds interesting?

Then feel invited to go this interesting Website .¬†If you are on Facebook and you follow “Headspace” there, you may see that Andy, one of the makers of Headspace, often posts questions or facts about meditations which only take half a minute to read but motivate you to keep up or build your own meditation practice.

I personally do not need the support of any Website to appreciate the benefits of meditation and Keep the practice up,  but I find it really wonderful that people who might usually not come across this Topic might find it through media and the Internet.

 

Categories: Achtsamkeit, meditation, mindfulness | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

One day I want to start every school day for my students with a singing bowl and precious, quiet me-time. The article shows how important this is.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jun/10/meditation-mindfulness-schools-stress-calming-classrooms

Categories: Achtsamkeit, life, meditation, mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Meditation flash mob and Calligraphic meditation in New York – I’ll be there in spirit.

1239288_10151577745120759_1016271964_oTomorrow in New York: an Event I would so love to be part of. I mean, both physically and mentally there: In New York City. As this is not possible I am grateful for the time difference and will make sure to do my one-person-meditation-“Breathing-room”-Flash mob at home (accompanied by one of my rabbits maybe who loves to keep me quiet company during Meditation here and there. ūüôā )

Also: Today the Plum Village Website announced that there will be a calligraphy exhibit in New York, showing about 80 of the original calligraphy works by Thich Nhat Hanh. I have seen prints and also purchased a small postcard and print of this calligraphy at the EIAB in Waldbroel this year, and the grace and simplicity of these calligraphic meditations keep touching me deeply.

If this is something you find interesting, here you can find more detailed Information:

http://plumvillage.org/events/calligraphic-meditation/

Categories: Achtsamkeit, buddhism, life, meditation, mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Challenge? Accepted … as mindfully as possible.

Source of joy

Source of joy (Photo credit: Skinny Artist)

This is the Clip about the wonderful animated film “planting seeds”… I felt like posting it because teaching children and teenagers to develop and appreciate mindfulness will be something I start doing at the School I work at up from next week, combined with Qi Gong and painting. It will be a challenge, this much I know, but I have hardly ever been looking Forward to a challenge as much as I look forward to this project!

Anyone who reads this and who feels like sharing experience and ideas, Video footage (so happy to have smilecalm’s Youtube¬†channel! http://www.youtube.com/user/rezdoglatte?feature=g-subs-u¬† My favourite of all time!)¬†is very welcome.

Sending sunny greetings to all of you.

Namasté,

Nic ūüôā

Categories: Achtsamkeit, buddhism, films, intuitive artmaking, life, meditation, mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The August Break – Day #26 – yes

Sitting on this meditation cushion for about 400 days so far has taught me a lot about saying yes to situations, emotions, things which are not always easy to accept.

Sitting on this meditation cushion for about 400 days so far has taught me a lot about saying yes to situations, emotions, events, moods…. generally things which are not always easy to accept. Wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.

Categories: Achtsamkeit, life, meditation, mindfulness, photo blogging, photography, psychology, The August Break | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The August Break – Day # 15 – books [I could post about five hundred photos to this prompt! But I will limit the choice ;-) …]

Aaaaaaaaaaah books! How happy I was to see that Susannah Conway included this theme in her prompt list. My head was spinning earlier while taking photos and looking at archives on my Computer .. too many ideas, so much love for books. I started to read aged 5 because I had fallen for books the¬† very moment I was able to pick them up and carry them myself, probably aged 3 or so. ūüôā

As I so love everything about books, not only the written lines but also the smell, the weight, the paper, the marks and little “scars” they get after a while, I will stay old-fashioned and really can not imagine to purchase some cold electronic device to read a book. Blogs…ok, yeah, love to. But books will be books made of paper as far as I am concerned.

In the photo of the book pile you see the books which are the closest to my heart, which I take and open almost every day.

A good book to me is a book you can open at any page and read and you will feel good or fulfilled just by reading a few lines. These books you can see most certainly have this wonderful effect on me.

For those of you who are curious about the Details, the books are:

Ennenbach, Matthias: Buddhistische Psychotherapie. This means, very easy to figure out, ‘buddhistic psychotherapy’.

¬†¬† It’s written by a very, very experienced, philantrophic, unique,¬†widely talented¬†psychologist, psychotherapist, seminar teacher, who has developed¬†with a lot of¬†heartfelt energy,¬†his own therapy method using a deep knowledge of the buddhistic teachings and having understood how much buddhism¬†appears as psychology. It’s a scientific book but it has this personal level, as the author is able to really address the reader. It’s also a Fusion of western psychology and partly neuroscience and the basic buddhistic teachings. I got the book shortly after its release and have read it as a whole at least 4 times yet, not speak of just opening it and reading a few lines. It’s soothing and uplifting and very deep.¬†The book is very encouraging to start Meditation and¬†Shows up wonderful ways to deal¬†with¬†it as well as¬†describe why Meditation makes so incredibly much sense.¬†It’s being translated at the moment¬†and is said to be released in English in September. I will sure post something about it when the release date is public.

Ennenbach, Matthias: Der Tod des Dalai Lama (The death of the Dalai Lama).

This is a novel which describes the live of his holiness, the XIV. Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, up from Young Age. No, the author isn’t morbid¬†at all, he tries to explain the different levels of consciousness as they are seen in buddhistic teachings. Milarepa and Machig Labdr√∂n also have important roles in this outstanding novel. It’s a novel for readers who want to learn about buddhism but not via classic introduction literature. As you have probaly noticed, the author is the psychotherapist mentioned as the one having written the book “Buddhistische Psychotherapie”. He definitely knows how to write a novel, and you can tell he really knows a lot about both, psychological development and buddhism, you can tell by the way he lets the characters act and talk. This book is such a bliss.

Ortheil, Hanns-Josef: Die Erfindung des Lebens. (‘The Invention of life’).

This is a book which a dear friend recommended with the words “I always went to nice spots in the park or my favourite Caf√© to read this book. I don’t want to rush it, this book is just too good …” Well, this made me curious. And so, I got it just a few days later, more or less exactly 2 years ago in my summer break. Thank god it was the summer break. Because I sure did not have my friend’s discipline, I had to read and read and read… This novel with strong autobiographical traits takes place in Cologne (where I lived for about 6 years), Rome and a lovely little village called Wissen an der Sieg, about an hour from Cologne on the countryside at the river Sieg – fields, little hills, wild flowers, nature’s Beauty at its best. The Story is about Johannes Catt, the Storyteller, who used to turn mute aged 3 as his mother had fallen mute after traumatic experiences after the loss of four children. He describes his growing up from aged 5 to his early twenties, while he is sometimes switching to the present, writing his novel in a small Apartment in Rome. After being mobbed at school in first grade because he didn’t talk, (but played piano for hours at home aged 6) his father takes Johannes to his family in Wissen and teaches him about trees, rivers, animals, gives him space to do his beloved piano practice and gives him small tasks to fulfill at the grandparents’s farm. By this, father and son discover that when the boy sketches the things he is seeing and writes down a descriptive sentence, he can remember the letters and quickly learns to write. Not long after that he even starts to talk… it’s such an amazing Story, quite heavy at times, but so deep and poetic!

Ortheil, Hanns-Josef: Liebesn√§he (“Love-closeness”):

It’s the same author, and it’s the 3rd book of a love-trilogy, each part an own Story. This one is about a man and a woman meeting in a Hotel and the surrounding wonderful landscapes and very slowly pick up communication while falling for each other (or rather the other way around), yet they choose not to directly talk to each other. They send each other signs and a bookstore-owner, who is …somehow…connected to both of them, is being helpful when needed. This Story is amazing and very unique, very intense and sensual, too. What I¬† also love about this book is that it mentions other books I have discovered, such as Basho’s wonderful Report of his hike in Japan (“The narrow Road through the deep North”) or the pillow book by Sei Shonagon.

Oh goodness, I can’t go on writing so much about the books. it’s supposed photo blogging after all.

Well well.

Bowley, Flora: Brave intuitive painting

This book is a gift to everyone who wants to start painting. Amazing photos, amazing texts to make you run and get your art supplies and start painting. I often leaf through this book to get inspired for a spontaneous painting session. the ideas she offers are beyond precious. Check out her Website: www.braveintuitiveyou.com I like that Flora herself loves to do yoga Stretches or meditates before getting the brush, she also teaches Workshops and yoga/Meditation seem to be a part of it.

Leaver, Tara: Creative Spark         (www.taraleaver.com)

This book has been such a gift, such an Inspiration to me that I often carry it with me when I am taking the bus, just flicking it open and read whatever the page opened offers to me. Tara is an amazing Artist and I love the way she encourages to get your “creative spark” ignited, she sure knows what she is talking about. I love her “spark jar” so much (a collection of prompts to help get you started written on little papers and put in a jar so you can draw a prompt to get started) and just everything about this book. It’s a deeply spiritual book to me, too.

Conway, Susannah: this i know

I discovered Susannah ‘s book, and yes, without her I might not be in the Blogging world yet, by the way, through a column she writes in the Magazine “The simple things”. The first few lines were so good that I did a little Research and found her book which I ordered like rrrrright away. It speaks to me, it really does. So beautifully composed in photo and text, so honest and soothing, so inspiring. well, I could “blame” her getting my new camera because her way of talking about photography sure had me appreciate taking photos even more.

Thich Nhat Hanh: Ich pflanze ein Lächeln (english title: peace is very step)

Well, what can I say? I sometimes see old people in parks or the local bus getting old prayer books out of their bags, opening them and having a solemn look about them while starting to read. This book has the same effect on me I guess, as the first one mentioned, Buddhistische Psychotherapie, has, too. I am more than happy to say that I had the Chance to listen to Thich Nhat Hanh giving a Dharma talk in Waldbröl and this day I will never Forget Рthat much I know.

Dear Readers:

This is a whole lot of text for a photography Project, I know…. I know (and I even forgot poor Hermann Hesse, but in short Terms, reading his Narcissus and Goldmund or Siddharta gets me all dizzy because of this intense, beautiful words he uses…). But blame Susannah. She put books on her prompt list. and books have even more letters, don’t they? I am quiet now and Show you the pics.

IMG_1878 (565x640)

There are books in every room of my Appartement. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

There are books in every room of my Appartement. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Categories: books, buddhism, Buddhismus, life, meditation, mindfulness, photo blogging, photography, Psychologie, psychology, The August Break, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The August Break – Day # 14 – “stillness”

The Little Buddha-light and the incense holding espresso cup: photo taken while sitting on the Meditation cushion- so a very everyday yet very precious picture for me.

The Little Buddha-light and the incense holding espresso cup: photo taken while sitting on the Meditation cushion- so a very everyday yet very precious picture for me.

Incense

Incense

Painting is stillness to me - as I mostly paint without Music or audiobook in the background (unlike sketching for some reason...) Just the very gentle sounds which are being created by putting colour on canvas/paper.

Painting is stillness to me – as I mostly paint without Music or audiobook in the background (unlike sketching for some reason…) Just the very gentle sounds which are being created by putting colour on canvas/paper.

Categories: Achtsamkeit, life, meditation, mindfulness, photo blogging, photography, The August Break, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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