Lessons in Mindful Living Using Illustrated Journalling

These days of Covid’s 2nd wave are teaching me lessons that I need to learn, many of them for the ump-teenth time. I am very fortunate to be healthy and comfortably retired, so I am not trying to balance working from home with childcare, eldercare or health concerns. And I am not worrying about where my next rent payment will be coming from. Thus, I have the privilege of time to read and ponder. And so I do – read and ponder.

Lately my reading has taken me through Christophe Andre’s beautiful book, “Looking at Mindfulness”, (photo in last post). Now for the pondering: When a book strikes a chord in my heart I am eager to absorb its message rather than let it just flow over me and then disappear. For me, the most effective method that I have found is illustrated journaling. 

Here’s my method:

  1. I read a chapter, underlining the words that seem to express the idea best. I stay alert to the messages that are there to help me on my journey.
  2. I transcribe those underlined passages into my journal, commenting and summarizing as I go. I use a large-ish journal with lots of room and without lines so that I feel free to doodle, underline, add arrows and circles, diagram or draw – whatever comes to my mind or my hand. I write and draw with a pen or pencil that I love. As I write I try to focus on each word, enjoying the feeling of forming the letters carefully, and the feel of the pen on the paper. This is a mindfulness practice of its own. Of course there are also times when scribbling and scratching is the right thing for the day.
  3. If an image presents itself to me I will sketch out the idea, looking for a way of illustrating the concept. Then, when I am ready, I will copy the sketch onto better paper and dab in some watercolour paint. 

By the time I have been through this process, I have usually absorbed the concept pretty thoroughly. Now, through this blog, I have added a step as I post the sketches and then write about them. 

My hope is that these postings will help to make the ideas more accessible to others, especially for the visual learners out there. I expect that this new collection will be a future resource for me, and perhaps others, when in need of reminders of lessons learned. I am very sure that I will need reminding.

(My previous illustrated journal- Life Lessons- can be found at Croneschronicles.com.)

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