Bloom in May: creating calm for ourselves by Dr. Sandra McCutcheon (Ph.D.)

Are you seeing the daily transformation in our gardens in the village and beyond?

In my garden, I have been glued to the daily change of allium bulbs and hoping that my daisy-like Echinacea wishes to share its gorgeous flowers with us this year. Just the other day, I sat in my garden listening to the birds singing, the wind was mildly warm and I doodled this cute little Echinacea flower, using a technique called ‘Zentangling’. Have you heard of it? 

Our day to day lives tend to be filled up with doing – aren’t there so many jobs! The unforgiving exposure to technology, alongside the unspoken expectation to be digitally connected 24/7, leads to all kinds of over-stimulation and stresses. It is little surprise that our minds and bodies simply do not know how to settle and rest.

Zentangling is a simple form of mediative art that uses repeating patterns of geometric shapes, lines, dots and curves that piece together to make beautiful wall-worthy creation. I have used this approach in mindfulness and corporate well-being sessions for years to teach people how to settle their busy minds. It works wonderfully well!

An Example of Zentangling

Zentangling: Image: Dr. Sandra McCutcheon (Ph.D.)

Cue the non-expensive antidote: pen and paper!

The repetitive action of the doodling relaxes the mind by gently holding the mind’s attention and helps participants to be absolutely absorbed. Often, all sense of time seems to dissolve, and people frequently describe being in a state that psychologists call ‘FLOW’. This is when a person doing a particular activity is fully held in a feeling of energised focus, immersed and enjoying what they are doing. Zentangling has been shown to enhance our well-being, increase skills of focus and concentration, boost self-confidence, and it is also the ultimate mobile device! You can do it for 5 minutes, 25 minutes or more.

The processes involved in Zentangling mirror the mind strengthening and well-being characteristics of mindfulness. The artwork comes together by way of BALANCING ‘busy’ pattens (those with lots of detail) against SPACIOUS patterns (those with more white space). We transfer that understanding to review our lifestyle choices objectively and find ways to bring balance and create the necessary space for ourselves. Similarly, it is necessary to have high-contrasting dark patterns placed beside lighter patterns. We practice growing the attitude of acceptance to support those unavoidable and ‘darker’ times of life whilst being reminded that we can grow focus towards brightness and joy too. 

In Zentangle art, we practice the attitude that there is no wrong move, there are no mistakes! What a wondrous place to be. We realise that through being kinder to ourselves, a line or dot inadvertently placed can readily be transformed into something it was destined to be all along. This gentle approach helps us practice being less critical towards ourselves when we think we have ‘messed up.’

We love creative and gentle ways of teaching, bringing mental fitness, mind strength and resilience to people. Life is so tough at times, and finding soothing ways to nurture & uplift ourselves and grow our heartfulness is so important. 

If you fancy ‘blooming in June’, why not check out what’s on offer with us: we will be hosting our gorgeous Zentangling workshops once again (safely online and hopefully in the Old Woods) and the transformative Mindfulness-based living course too.

Warm & Kind Wishes,

Sands X

Dr. Sandra McCutcheon (Ph.D.)

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