Tuesday, May 14, 2013


  Last summer on my visit to Ghost Ranch, I took a class with Carol Stalcup. This woman is a heroine at mindfulness. She loves all the arts and we quickly found ourselves dabbling in the wisdom housed in dance, music, visual art, and writing. It was a glorious escape from computers and office work into a world where everything you could create was literally pouring out of your own fingertips. Each morning Carol shared a lesson with us that I want to share with you.

Image found on the Internet
In a drawing class you are taught to look at the main figure of your drawing. This is the figure that you probably want to make the subject of your drawing. This figure will claim much of your attention as you learn all of its details and recreate it on your page. 

 In our daily journeys we focus on many subjects. They claim both our time and our attention. We devote ourselves to every detail of their needs and desires. Think about all the people, places and things that you offer all of your focus to. Friends, Family, problems, TV, computers, cell phones, etc. 

Image found on the Internet
Carol asked us to look at a figure that happened to be a jug and draw only what was around the jug but not the actual jug. We all found this to be a strange and difficult task, but we were able to do it. She then told us that in a life devoted to mindfulness, we should practice both studying the figure and the background. The more we practiced just drawing the background the better we were able to focus on it.

 Think about the people that live in the background of your daily motions. Bus drivers, janitors, people walking down the street, the homeless lady on the corner, the students who aren't in your class, that person who isn't a close friend but is always around, etc. 

When we can become mindful to the figure and the background of the master- pieces of our lives then we will truly be living in the moment.I wonder what influential encounters, stories, truths and wisdom I miss by only focusing on the subjects of my days. The truth is, when you are able to see the background and foreground you are able to fully understand the work of art, you fully experience living.

The artwork might even surprise you as you realize there are so many meanings and so many purposes for the lives that fill your space.

Who abides in the background of your lives? How can you become mindful of them?