The MAGIC of DOODLING: How to EXPERIENCE an instant PLAYFULNESS

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How often do you doodle? You know these random dots, lines and circles that you scribble on a piece of paper. They can be figurative, pattern-like or purely abstract. How often do you do these?

I personally don’t doodle much, in fact hardly ever. Crazy to hear this from someone who’s in the art/design field, right? I know I was surprised myself. I should doodle more. Should is actually a stinker word because it makes you feel guilty. Perhaps I could doodle more that way it feels liberating having a choice without the guilt barking at me.

I recently read a great book; The War of Art: Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles by Steven Pressfield. It talks about Resistance that basically stops us from living our lives fully. As I was crunching through the chapters so many times I thought to myself: “Oh that’s me, he talks about me, this is what I do.” I sheepishly admitted to myself that I’ve often been behaving amateurishly when it comes to my creative endeavours. Instead of just doing my work by painting, drawing and designing I tend to worry about the quality or usage of my work. I should really just get on with it like professionals do. Here comes the ‘should’ again. It’s not about the outcome but the consistency of showing up whatever you do.

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So I told myself: ”OK, let’s dedicate some time each day to doodling. Perhaps ten minutes would feel substantial and not too much of a commitment.” And so I began, I pulled out one of my little sketchbooks, set of pens, box of watercolours, some paintbrushes and I started drawing lines and dots. At first it felt good, really good, but then this inner voice came in and started nagging: “Why are you wasting your time here doing this when you should be doing something more useful and appropriate? Is this actually going to be a piece of art you can sell? It doesn’t even look that good so why bother?” This voice that I now know is called Resistance was getting louder and louder making me less and less enthusiastic and more discouraged, frustrated and pretty irritated.

Isn’t it interesting how Resistance can disguise itself in different outfits? From procrastination, perfectionisms, self-doubt and criticism to fear and isolation. All of this for keeping you ‘safe’ while completely disregarding the fact that in reality all it does is to make you small, stuck, disconnected, miserable and totally unfulfilled.

Luckily I reminded myself that that’s all that Resistance knows and deep down it means well BUT I’ve got the choice to either be silenced by it or acknowledge its presence and carry on with what makes my heart jump with excitement anyway.

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I chose the excitement and kept on doodling. It really doesn’t matter whether these scribbles appear meaningless to the outside world. What does matter is that it helps me to unlock my playfulness, bringing me joy to simply switch off and be childlike. Who knows maybe these squiggles will ultimately end up as; perhaps patterns for children’s clothing or bedding. And if they don’t, I had fun through the process ladies and gentlemen! And that’s what counts.

Now over to you; where does Resistance show up in your life? In which areas does it try to make you safe? What fun things could you do if you removed Resistance from the driving seat?

How about you pick up a pen and paper and start doodling? Who knows where it might take you….

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Until next time…Keep it colourful!

With love,

Klara XO

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