Sketching for Mindfulness: or, Asylum Drawing

Sketching for Mindfulness: or, Asylum Drawing












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“It’s like an asylum drawing,” said my husband in response to yet another sketch I stuck under his nose.
I didn’t know how to answer that.
“Asylum? As in, someone looking for asylum?” I said.
“No, it looks frantic, as if it were done by someone in an asylum.”
Right.

We visited my husband Marcel’s family in Britain over the Christmas period, and took two flights in the space of five days. It’s the middle of the stormy season, which meant turbulence, bumps and in my case lurching stomachs. Neither my husband nor our three kids suffer from in-flight nerves, but – ever since I became a mother – I do. My husband tries in his way to allay my fears.

Marcel: Think of it like this – this is the tenth flight the crew have made today.
Me: Then why is that stewardess running? There’s clearly an emergency.
Marcel: Think of it like a ship.
Me: Oh, so it’s like it’s floating on air, just another fluid, and is as stable as that!
Marcel: No, not at all.
Me: You could have pretended.
Marcel: The craft is made to withstand forces many times greater than this bit of turbulence.

Some things he said helped, others didn’t. Worst were the kids saying things like “look how far the ground is” or “we’d definitely die if the plane crashed now”.

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8 Comments

  1. Sketchbook Blue

    January 30, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Love this post, I am with you and Serena on this one, before kids I would happily jump on board any plane going anywhere in the world and doze off until arrival. But now my thoughts are more troublesome around takeoff, landing and any turbulence in between! Kids don’t seem to mind though…my main problem is them sharing (loudly) their opinions of my sketching ability …”his nose is really big isn’t it….that lady has funny eyes doesn’t she” etc etc…when closely confined in economy seating….nowhere to hide 🙂

    • Róisín Curé

      January 30, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Hi Sketchbook Blue – it’s so true, the kids share their opinions so freely. Luckily (I think) my kids don’t pay the slightest heed to my sketching so never comment. If I get a “Hmm,” I’m doing well. I like to think of your kids calling it out as they see it!!

  2. Karlijn van de Wier

    January 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Great blogpost, so true!
    We just booked a flight for in about 3 months and I can already feel my nerves… But, I do know sketching really takes away some of the fear. It’s true, your head is way to busy drawing and looking, rather than bothering about (irrealistic) fears.
    Thanks for the reminder!

    • Róisín Curé

      January 17, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      Hello Karlijn and thank you for your kind comment! Sketching does seem to be a miracle cure…I do love a long-distant flight – I think I’d probably have had enough of sketching after three hours! – but for those short-haul flights where it’s all so intense it is the perfect solution. I hope you have a lovely time wherever you’re going and remember to bring your sketching kit!

  3. Serena

    January 7, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Roisin I so love all your sketches, but this post really touches my heart because I’m too VERY nervous when I have to take a plane! Also for me it started after I bacame a mother, must be sense of responsibility ??
    However you are absolutely right and I did find that sketching helped me with my fear on a flight from Milan to Paris and back, last spring. Even if I’m very conscious of what other passengers might think …
    Thank-you so much for sharing your beautiful art, I will keep on visiting your interesting blog,

    • Róisín Curé

      January 7, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Serena, thank you so much for writing. I did wonder was I alone in this weird transformation from devil-may-care traveller to nervous wreck, heart racing etc. when I do something risky (luckily it doesn’t happen when I drive!) Many years ago I was swimming in Tenerife and my mother wanted to do her usual striking out towards the horizon. She’s a very strong, confident swimmer but I begged her not to go. She was baffled, then said “Ah! It’s because you’re a new mother!” (The two I had then were about 2 years old and ten months respectively.) I guess it’s just one of the myriad changes many mothers undergo during the life-transforming event that is motherhood… Anyway I’m so glad you have sketched on a plane too. Show the stewards next time – they love it! Makes a change from being asked for drinks!

  4. deb rossi

    January 4, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    I enjoy your sketches and post.
    I don’t have the fear that you have in flying for me it is the being stuck in flight for hours at a time. When I am feeling antsy I find that sketching anything allows me to relax. The sketching allows me a respite from my fidgets.

    • Róisín Curé

      January 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      It’s amazing to think that sketching can have such different benefits, depending on one’s personal difficulties! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for your comment.

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