Two years ago, aware for some time of the concept of mindful study as an integral part of Buddhism, it struck me that I had been diminishing the value of anything I loved doing if it was not "worth" something. In my case, if it didn't further my knowledge or produce a written project, it was a waste of time. Trouble was, I enjoy doing artistic things, and always have. Using my right hemisphere intensively now and then gives the busy left one (language and logic) a nice break. (And sometimes, if I'm lucky, I create a thing of beauty - for myself and maybe for others.) But I noticed that when I painted, for example, I rushed through canvasses, or did only one or two small ones in one day, and did a poor job. Not enough focus or devotion to craft! After my realization, I decided I should either paint and be mindful, present, or not bother at all.
The result was a new resurge in my abilities. Since then, I have painted several satisfying works. When I take such a break, it really is one, and not a waste of time or anything else.
So, in addition to being a good exercise in mindfulness, and a welcome break from words, such projects can also provide a bit of insight into what's going on in my life - perhaps things I don't want to admit otherwise!
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