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Art, Buddhism, Mindfulness, and Perfectionism

edited August 2005 in Sanghas
I have been getting so bored of college and kind of worried that I don't want to do anything directly with my majors and minors once I'm done. In other words, I don't know what the @#$% I want to do with my life and I don't want to rush into grad school or a full time career. I've been talking about taking some classes on art, sewing, woodworking, etc. to see if I like more artistic kind of things. I used to, but that was like in elementary school when I took my last art class. After that, things got busy and I got to be too much of a perfectionist to try new things unless I had to. Anyways, I decided to wait till after I graduate in a year and a half to take those classes since I have no electives left and would prefer to just take them as leisure classes at the local community college. Once Fall semester starts later this month I won't have time till next summer at the earliest.

Long story short, an artistic friend of mine talked me out of waiting till I take the classes to do some exploration. She helped me pick up some supplies at the local craft store and I've since invested in some art books. Fortunately, those type of books often wind up on the bargain shelves at book stores. So, I have been drawing and painting this week using charcoals and watercolors mostly.

It's kind of scary since I am such a perfectionist and art is so not about getting every last detail perfect and I hate not being an expert at something I'm doing. I'm having to force myself to practice daily even though it is really fun and I do enjoy it. It also scares me that I don't know where this is going. Everything up till now has been so purposeful. Now, I draw a picture and I don't even know what to do with the finished product, let alone if this means that I will someday do this for money. I feel like I'm driving myself crazy. I'm trying to just enjoy it for what it is now - a hobby. I need a hobby. Maybe later I'll have some skills that I can use directly or indirectly, but for now, why should I even care?

In addition to reanalyzing my life because I've drawn a few pictures, art is helping me with other things. I can't believe how long I've been able to focus on some objects. Most of the time I feel like I'm ADD (and probably am). And it really helps me be mindful of the little things. Now as I do my daily routine I'm paying much closer attention to my surroundings. I think, "Wow, look how beautiful the light is hitting that tree." I feel like art is meditation for me - and equally as hard. Anyways, that's where I am right now with things.

Comments

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited August 2005
    That is very interesting. My new friend in California had ADD. Well, he was diagnosed with it at least. I truthfully do not know very much about the disorder myself. Anyway, he is also an artisit. When he is drawing, sketching, or designing something he can actually focus very intently on it. In any other day to day activity he spaces out and loses interest extremely fast. A short conversation is not always easy with him. Hehehe. But the way his brain reacts to his creative activities is quite amazing. I've seen him sit and draw through 4th of July fireworks like nothing else was going on. In fact many people have used art in meditation as way of focusing mindfulness and awareness. Tibetan mandalas are one example. Also, I know that Zen practitioners have used things like painting, gardening, and tea drinking as forms of meditation.

    Even if it is not something you will make a career out of it sounds like it is very benefitial for you.
    I say take your time to enjoy it, as well as learn from it. :)
  • edited August 2005
    I have been getting so bored of college and kind of worried that I don't want to do anything directly with my majors and minors once I'm done. In other words, I don't know what the @#$% I want to do with my life and I don't want to rush into grad school or a full time career. I've been talking about taking some classes on art, sewing, woodworking, etc. to see if I like more artistic kind of things. I used to, but that was like in elementary school when I took my last art class. After that, things got busy and I got to be too much of a perfectionist to try new things unless I had to. Anyways, I decided to wait till after I graduate in a year and a half to take those classes since I have no electives left and would prefer to just take them as leisure classes at the local community college. Once Fall semester starts later this month I won't have time till next summer at the earliest.

    Long story short, an artistic friend of mine talked me out of waiting till I take the classes to do some exploration. She helped me pick up some supplies at the local craft store and I've since invested in some art books. Fortunately, those type of books often wind up on the bargain shelves at book stores. So, I have been drawing and painting this week using charcoals and watercolors mostly.

    It's kind of scary since I am such a perfectionist and art is so not about getting every last detail perfect and I hate not being an expert at something I'm doing. I'm having to force myself to practice daily even though it is really fun and I do enjoy it. It also scares me that I don't know where this is going. Everything up till now has been so purposeful. Now, I draw a picture and I don't even know what to do with the finished product, let alone if this means that I will someday do this for money. I feel like I'm driving myself crazy. I'm trying to just enjoy it for what it is now - a hobby. I need a hobby. Maybe later I'll have some skills that I can use directly or indirectly, but for now, why should I even care?

    In addition to reanalyzing my life because I've drawn a few pictures, art is helping me with other things. I can't believe how long I've been able to focus on some objects. Most of the time I feel like I'm ADD (and probably am). And it really helps me be mindful of the little things. Now as I do my daily routine I'm paying much closer attention to my surroundings. I think, "Wow, look how beautiful the light is hitting that tree." I feel like art is meditation for me - and equally as hard. Anyways, that's where I am right now with things.

    DharmaKitten,

    How are you? It is good to hear from you.

    I have been diagnosed with ADHD as well as my youngest daughter, Jennifer. We both take medication for it but I never received treatment for mine as a child. After years of being "lost in space so to speak," I finally decided to get treated formally for my ADHD. I take Strattera for mine but Jennifer takes Adderall XR. Her father had ADHD as well. Poor kid! She got a double whammy from me and her dad! LOL! As you have no doubt surmised, we both have the Hyperactivity part as well. Without medication, we are both lost. Anyway, making the decision to get treatment was the best decision that I made for the both of us; I can concentrate better and I am calming down plus Jennifer is making such great progress in school as well as in her relationship with other kids. But, you have to take the step to get tested for it and if you do find out that you have either ADD or ADHD, I hope you take the necessary steps to deal with it. I am also glad that your art is like meditation to you; that's great.

    Adiana :smilec: :bigclap:
  • edited August 2005
    DharmaKitten,

    You raise an interesting point - what is more important:

    the end result or the process...

    (I'm always at a loss as how to end such posts - I guess the Tathgatha will speak for itself).
  • edited August 2005
    Elohim wrote:
    That is very interesting. My new friend in California had ADD. Well, he was diagnosed with it at least. I truthfully do not know very much about the disorder myself. Anyway, he is also an artisit. When he is drawing, sketching, or designing something he can actually focus very intently on it. In any other day to day activity he spaces out and loses interest extremely fast. A short conversation is not always easy with him. Hehehe. But the way his brain reacts to his creative activities is quite amazing. I've seen him sit and draw through 4th of July fireworks like nothing else was going on. In fact many people have used art in meditation as way of focusing mindfulness and awareness. Tibetan mandalas are one example. Also, I know that Zen practitioners have used things like painting, gardening, and tea drinking as forms of meditation.

    Even if it is not something you will make a career out of it sounds like it is very benefitial for you.
    I say take your time to enjoy it, as well as learn from it. :)

    Your friend's story is interesting. I don't know much about ADD, so I didn't know that one could have it but still focus on certain things. The one thing I've been able to focus on in the past has been artistic/creative things like making music and now drawing and painting. I'm also hard to have conversations with sometimes because I constantly switch subjects - usually when I see something that triggers a memory.
  • edited August 2005
    Adiana wrote:
    DharmaKitten,

    How are you? It is good to hear from you.

    I have been diagnosed with ADHD as well as my youngest daughter, Jennifer. We both take medication for it but I never received treatment for mine as a child. After years of being "lost in space so to speak," I finally decided to get treated formally for my ADHD. I take Strattera for mine but Jennifer takes Adderall XR. Her father had ADHD as well. Poor kid! She got a double whammy from me and her dad! LOL! As you have no doubt surmised, we both have the Hyperactivity part as well. Without medication, we are both lost. Anyway, making the decision to get treatment was the best decision that I made for the both of us; I can concentrate better and I am calming down plus Jennifer is making such great progress in school as well as in her relationship with other kids. But, you have to take the step to get tested for it and if you do find out that you have either ADD or ADHD, I hope you take the necessary steps to deal with it. I am also glad that your art is like meditation to you; that's great.

    Adiana :smilec: :bigclap:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. How does one get tested for ADD? I assume I go to a psychiatrist, but how do they figure it out? How well do the meds work? I've heard so many horror stories.
  • edited August 2005
    Thanks for sharing your experience. How does one get tested for ADD? I assume I go to a psychiatrist, but how do they figure it out? How well do the meds work? I've heard so many horror stories.

    I went to the local mental health clinic here and they told me all the steps that Jennifer and I had to take which we did. We were then set up with age-appropriate psychiatrists (one that specialized in adult ADHD and one that specialized in childhood ADHD) that had different questions/tests that they had us do to be able to properly diagnose us. I also had to take papers to Jennifer's teachers and daycare teachers so that they could fill them out as well. This gave Jennifer's P-doc some idea of what Jennifer's day was like. After all of this, these P-docs each decided what prescriptions would benefit us the most. Of course, it took a little time to find the right dosage for us both but it is worth it.

    I take Strattera for my ADHD and I like it. It is stimulant-free which means it is not a controlled substance. Jennifer has to take Adderall XR for her ADHD because her ADHD is much more severe than mine. It just depends on what your psychiatrist thinks will work for you although you will have a say in what medicine you want to try. Actually, the experience was fairly easy for us both.

    Adiana :) :) :)
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