Friday, 10 July 2015

What is Mindfullness? On Knitting, Crafting & Chilling Out

There appears to have been a huge upsurge in the popularity of 'Mindfullness' as a concept.  A quick browse through the top 100 books on amazon is filled with both self help books and a strange new breed of book - the mindfullness colouring book.

Now, I am not one for the self help book.  I understand that (much like religion) they are of immense value to those who can believe in and act on what is read.  For me, speaking with the authority of one who has read half of two self-help books out of interest as to why they are so popular, I find them obvious and annoying.  I fail to see why the writer feels they have the authority to tell other people how to live their lives.  To essentially impart common sense.  To be fair, I suppose common sense does sometimes need a little top up.  

These books all seem to have at least 4.5 stars on amazon, which does sometimes make me feel like I'm missing something.  They include titles such as 'Sane New World' by Ruby Wax, 'The Little Book of Mindfullness' by Patrizia Collard, and 'The Mindfullness Journal' by Corinne Sweet.  The common theme is essentially to explain that you're not crazy, and that you should take a wee five minutes to yourself to calm down.  Which is all very sensible and does seem reasonable. 

However. Having said all of this about mindfullness books.  You want me to chill out whilst colouring in tiny intricate pictures? Yes, ok.  Why not?  I'm sold.  

After toying with the idea for a little while, I finally purchased a couple of books.  And a new pack of pencils, because there's no way I have enough of those already.   It feels a little like lazy creativity.  The creation of a beautiful thing without having to think about what it should be, how it should be constructed, or worry about the quality of the end product.  I suppose that's not necessarily any different from knitting from a pattern, but it's simpler than that.

Today, I've engaged in a little 'Mindfullness' colouring, some easy knitting from a pattern (Tambourine by Julia Farewell-Clay), and working on a chart for an exciting collaboration coming out later in the year.  Though relaxed almost to the point of napping by the colouring book, I felt no sense of achievement, and moving onto my chart again seemed to cheer me up more.

The pictures in the book (I'd highly recommend Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta) are beautiful.  The ones in 'The Mindfullness Colouring Book' are more basic, and I admit I'm unlikely to engage very much with that one.  I will enjoy spending a little time colouring in.  Is it going to change my life?  No, but then again we always knew I was a cynic.

Knitting calms me, occupies my mind and a little simple knitting will de-stress.  Crafting in general will usually cheer me up on a bad day and even rifling though stash if short of time will usually work the trick!  No, I wouldn't be able to accept a book telling me to 'take five minutes to myself', but maybe that's because I already do.

How do you de-stress?  What is crafting/knitting to you?  And what do you think if the 'Mindfulness Movement'?


  1. I am not sure what I think of the mindfulness movement. It's been going on for a few years now. It is something that focusses you, which is great. However, it focuses you on yourself. Not ideal for people accused of already being self-centred, I would imagine!

    I am baffled by the colouring books, especially. I find them boring and repetitive. What I want to do is colour in my boyfriend's black and white comic books!

  2. I think self-reflection is important. I think a good form of self love is taking a few moments to recollect and focus on the here and now is good, too. I particularly like coloring books, and I think it's a good way to think about here, now, and doing a simple task. I think sometimes we get really overwhelmed with the day-to-day and we don't take a moment to relish in the simpler things. I don't know about being mindful exclusively on ourselves though... that does sound a little selfish. But I do think adult coloring books are genius!

    Great post. (:

  3. As an ex-smoker I'm loving colouring "Enchanted Forest" and "Secret Garden". Is it creative? Not terribly. Is it productive? No. I guess the attraction for me is that is such a 'no-brainer' I can't help but relax and it keeps my hands busy (instead of playing with cigarettes). It won't take the place of knitting or spinning but it has it's place and it's own lazy seduction. Perhaps part of it is doing something that ISN'T productive or useful. Doing something that you haven't enjoyed since your teenage years. It could be as simple as delighting in the childish and carefree. ☺


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