Living Artfully and Calmly

| March 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

The now famous English wartime graphic “Keep Calm and Carry On” has become a ubiquitous mental reminder to slow down and relax in tense times. Sadly these days some folks would say, “How do you do that?”

Universally, there are many such mantras which when stated will trigger immediate stress reduction and offer reminders to summon emotional calm as we go about our busy lives. I like to think of them as “artful calmers” and I believe they all have their roots in creativity and life immersion. It is now well documented and we have all come to know that living artfully, and with purpose, is intrinsically therapeutic. It creates calm.

So what things specifically offer feelings of calm? How can we conjure it? What can we add to our daily teacup storms to sweeten them? Oddly enough there are so many easy and honest ways.

Just try think of a cat. I personally have 10 felines so I should in fact embody total and complete calm. (Not!) But truly, there is a great deal of truth in this suggestion. Jules Renard once stated in support, “The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.” (Okay canine lovers, or sitting dog.)

Just the thought of a sitting cat is calming. Just imagine yourself bathing at will, sleeping in your favorite sunlit places, stretched out and relaxing with all meals served and not a care in the world. Fact is, I have stated more than once that I wish I had my cat’s life. Yes – that’s a very calm life indeed.

Visualization of every kind can also be extremely calming. Mental escapes by reminding ourselves of things loved, or looked forward to, can result in mini mind spa moments. I refer to this as veritable nerve nirvanas.

When I want to relieve pressure I think of some of my favorite places and I can be transported there with a feeling of joy. Think of “The Sound of Music” and sing aloud “I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad.”

Yup – there’s that “cat thing” again when we come to the “whiskers on kittens” line. Seriously, if Maria, aka Julie Andrew, sang it, well then it must be true!

This cerebral remedy works too on a long or bad work day. Remind yourself that the long awaited holiday or the weekend activities will soon arrive and mentally look forward to it. You can call it visual euphoria.

Artful calm can also be found in highly meditative processes such as knitting, painting, reading or writing. Playing music, either instrumentally, or alternatively listening to music is also a sedative. It calms the savage beast that wishes to roam inside us on a terrible, horrible, not good, very bad day.

Consider that kind and calm are a synonymous and steadfast duo. Just the mere act of being compassionate can soften the hardest of hearts and bring relaxation. Find inner calm when you live to give with a kind and thankful heart.

The other day I was at one of my new favorite haunts: Grant’s Marketplace on Beech Street in South Park. Believe me just walking onto that oasis of good eating is soporific. The owner was wearing a t-shirt which immediately turned me into a pleasant customer at 8 a.m. It said “Do the Kind Thing,” (an obvious twist on the old line encouraging good trash disposal). I loved it! Smiles and bliss zinged from me as I inquired where I too might get such a garment that is a walking billboard of joy. He explained it was a promotional item from the vendor of KIND food bars. Okay, I liked them before, now I love them. Bravo!

Ahhh – the little things that bring immediate calm…Let’s think of more artfully calm activities, shall we?

Walking or petting a dog, sipping tea or coffee (preferably with cake or cookies), beachcombing in wet sand or sinking into fresh mown grass (no shoes please), yoga, a hug, tinkering with anything, cleaning out cupboards (okay, maybe NOT you but I find throwing out junk immensely calming), arranging flowers, daydreaming, planting flowers, puzzles, crosswords, a great book, a great conversation, gardening, drawing, cooking, sewing, cloud watching, card playing, chess, bicycling, writing poetry or prose or doodling, boating, scrabble, sunning in the park, painting (anything not just pictures), fishing, flying a kite, blowing bubbles, wrapping gifts or wrapped in a rug. (Note to self: watching TV and reading the daily news rag are not included here for anti-calm good reasons. Consider side-stepping them to find calm, a new twist on no news is good news).

Here’s the deal. If you have recently enjoyed three or more of these activities, give your good and calm self 10 points. If you are calm now after reading this, plus one.

If you cannot remember enjoying at least three, then start today on your pilgrimage to calm central and make concerted efforts to change your ways. You truly can carry on keeping calm and thereby living an artfully happy life right now. It’s a choice.

Concetta Antico is mother, wife, Tetrachromat, fine artist, instructor, writer and creative muse. Her stunning Tetrachromatic oil on canvas masterpieces reveal her brilliance and super vision and may be viewed at www.ConcettaAntico.com. “Live Artfully” is a trademark of Concetta Antico and Zenava Inc. Her Salon & Gallery are located at 1920 Fort Stockton Drive, Suite A, Mission Hills, San Diego and are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and by appointment. Concetta welcomes your creative thoughts, comments and ideas at Muse@ConcettaAntico.com.

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