“The key is to be here, fully connected with the moment, paying attention to the details of ordinary life. By taking care of ordinary things – our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth – we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair, we are expressing appreciation: friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything.” ~Pema Chodron
Fiona writes in her site Writing Our Way Home : “We want you to start paying attention to ordinary things, and to extraordinary things. We want you to notice the burnished colour and metallic texture of your pots and pans. We want you to appreciate the menthol smell of your toothpaste and the feel of the brush on your gums. We want you to look at the stars.We want you to become intimate with myriad things, and to be friendly towards them. We want you to slow down and fall in love with the world.”
True, writing and painting, for me, is a process of slowing down.
Last year I participated in this exercise of taking time to look at one thing at a time and writing about it or drawing it. When I began this I started paying attention to the corners in my home that had stayed in darkness, I was peering at the cracks in my tea mugs, the discolouration on my walls. I paid attention to people around me with greater sensitivity, was sympathetic to the agony of the woman, who lives in the apartment above mine, trying to grapple her anger. Paying attention works at more than one level for me.
It is January again and I am participating in the River of Stones. It is a way to connect myself to every small thing around me, remain mindful of every grain that makes my tall heap.
Today I painted this humble cotton bag given to me by a friend. This bag was made by the students of Rasa. Please go here to read about the wonderful people who made this beautiful bag.
I store knick knacks like hair clips, ear studs, bangles in the bag. I hang this bag close to my dressing mirror.
Green like emerald depth of the seas
I had planned to spend the weekend with two of my friends in the hills of Yelagiri, trekking and painting. We had to cancel the trip because of forecast of heavy rain and gale. I remained indoors missing my usual Saturday afternoon session of outdoor painting. I read, drank gallons of tea as I watched the sky weepy and wet. Like a miracle the sun came out for a brief time, soaking my terrace in ethereal light. Tens of dragon flies flashing rainbow wings descended here to celebrate.
I have bought water brushes and I am using these to paint the objects around home. I feel liberated that I need not have to carry a little bottle of water around whenever I am painting. And water brushes are not difficult to handle at all, the water that flows out of the barrel attached to the brush can be manoeuvred with a little practice.
I hope to put these water brushes to good use during my holiday with my family at Manali. I have been shopping art materials for my trip: a brand new sketch book, pens, watercolour cakes and of course the water brushes.
I had a fruitful Saturday, got a bit of cleaning done at home before the day got too warm. I junked my old crockery, floated little flowers in beautiful saucers that were chipped (don’t have the mind to throw these away), converted a few blue ceramic soup bowls as candle holders, dusted the plates, dishes, tea cups, bowls that were in good condition, wiped those that were grimy and as they dried got myself a glass of chilled orange squash.