Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh. -John Singer Sargent

Taking seven minutes a day to sketch is either surprisingly stressful or calming. It depends on my mental status. If I have time to think and time to draw, it can be a relief. It can be relaxing, a breather from the usual path my pen takes on paper. However, because the drawing usually takes place at ten in the morning, my mind is not yet fully awake. I cannot think of anything to draw and putting pen to paper triggers my mind into relaying my to do list. Suddenly, I feel the need to write down everything I have to do that day instead of drawing. I tell myself that I am not to write words. I am to sketch art. Because my mind has become so saturated with thought and I haven’t had time to process it all, the last thing I can think about it is “What should I draw today?” So, if I am not fed a suggestion, I tend to draw out my to do list, something on my to do list, or where I would rather be than thinking about my to do list.

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This week, I switched it up. I drew this picture of a woman beginning Sun Salutations yoga. This Saturday, for the first time in a long time, I went to a yoga class. It was like a seven-minute sketch for my life… Let me translate my loosely made-up metaphor. At first it was stressful and a bit uncomfortable. Rewind. First of all, let me mention that this class began at 8:30 AM, and I am not a morning person. So, at first it was a bit uncomfortable to stretch out all my muscles. My body was stiff. I kept yawning. It was stressful trying to take instructions from this way-too-calm woman whom I couldn’t hear because she spoke in a breathy whisper. I was the only first-timer in the class and the only person younger than 40. None of my poses looked like everybody else’s. I just felt awkward. Then, slowly I caught on. I started to breathe more slowly. My body was moving in different ways than the usual up and down a hilly campus with a heavy backpack on. In the way sketching pushes my mind to think differently, yoga pushed my body move differently. When I left, I felt relaxed. I felt calm, and ready for the day ahead of me. I wish I could take that class every morning. For one whole hour, my to do list did not control my thoughts. Even after the class, that list did not flood my mind. Rather, I felt prepared to take on the list one item at a time.

When I draw, I get that same feeling. The more I draw, the more I start to relax. It allows me to think in a way other than an organized list of thoughts. Sometimes I hate it, and sometimes I really enjoy it. When I give in to the action of sketching and allow myself to be in that moment, I enjoy it the most.

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