Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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November 20, 2020

Routines, Rituals, and Peaceful Pauses

By Lark Keeler

What daily rituals bring you peaceful pauses in your daily life? 

Whether it is taking that first sip of coffee, or participating in a spiritual practice, our routines and rituals can shape our days by marking out times when we purposefully pause and savor a moment, or cultivate feelings of gratitude. 

As artists and educators we may have ritualistic routines that are a part of our creative making or research.  A friend suggests lighting a tealight candle and working until it extinguishes itself.  The familiar rhythms of starting a painting or beginning a drawing are like slipping on a pair of well broken in and wonderfully comfy shoes.  I savor the preparation ritual as much as the process work.  Check out these 7 Artists on the Self-Care Rituals That Keep Them Creative and see if you can discover any new ideas to work into your daily habits. 

Cultivating a ritual of daily gratitude has been proven to have powerful benefits, increasing our feelings of overall happiness and wellbeing.  A reflective evening or morning gratitude journal can shift our feelings to positive places with an uplifted attitude.  You can find delightful prompts and tips on how to begin a daily gratitude journal online.  Experiment with the idea of a daily gratitude sketch or work of art, instead of a written reflection, pausing to appreciate the gift of artmaking.  Create your own book to fill, or begin with a larger sheet, adding sketches or ideas to the paper each morning or evening for a new healthy habit and a renewing daily ritual.

- LK

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