Land art as a form of mindfulness meditation practice
Land art is a form of art that involves creating sculptures, installations or patterns using natural materials found in the environment. I fell in love with land art after watching this amazing documentary about Scottish land artist Andy Goldsworthy almost 20 years ago.
For weeks after I saw this documentary, my partner and I were throwing snow in the air to see snow dragons like in the film and making sculptures out of leaves and sticks. But, over the time that followed, I slowly lost the habit of creating art with what I discovered in nature. And now that I think of it, it was over this same time that I slowly became less focused on mindfulness practices for myself. As I completed my Ph.D. and focused on guiding others through various mindfulness exercises, I lost the practice of doing them solely for myself. It wasn't until I was preparing for my Fall Outdoor Wellness Retreat that I was reintroduced to this lovely practice.
"Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality." Andy Goldsworthy
To prepare for the fall retreat, I was reading a book on forest bathing, Bain de Fôret. One of the suggested activities was Land Art - and poof - all these memories of doing art outdoors flooded back into my mind. The joy, the playfulness, the mindfulness. I was inspired, so I added land art as a 'surprise activity for the retreat. At first, the participants were unsure about getting down and dirty. But eventually, everyone got into it, setting off to explore and find any hidden treasures that could be incorporated into their art pieces.
Creating art with elements from nature provides a direct line to mindfulness.
Creating art with elements from nature provides a direct line to mindfulness. Seeking out the materials for our artworks engages our more playful and curious sides. As we explore, we focus on what we see around us. We look at things with a perspective of curiosity and discovery.
As we create the art, we cannot help but be immersed in our senses; our senses live in the moment and in the moment is mindfulness. As we continue to compose our artwork, we can also notice what comes up as we create. We can step out of our everyday thinking and observe ourselves in the moment. Are you fully living in the moment and sensing all the materials have to offer? Or is self-criticism and perfectionism creeping in? Are you creating or trying to create something perfect?
Are you creating or trying to create something perfect?
Creating land art allows us to look at nature from a completely different perspective, seeing patterns, colours and textures that we would otherwise miss. With this type of close contact with the earth and its' elements, we gain an appreciation for all that surrounds us.
Want to learn more? Check out some other articles on my blog.
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