Slow drawing

Two months ago I’d never heard of this. Now I’m a bit of a fan. For me it’s generally a drop-in for 5 minutes when I need a break from what I’m doing, or to reset my body or mind or creative thinking. I now know that 5 minutes becomes a whole lot longer!

What is it?

For me, it’s a creative meditation. It’s a meditation practice, but it’s a life one. No eyes closed, no cushion, no no thinking. It’s breath, it’s an internally still being, but it adds movement and sensing and visual imagery and flow to the mix. It can bring me pretty quickly to that mindful flow state. 

So what is it? For me, it’s using simple materials: a black artline pen and smallish pieces of paper at its simplest. I sometimes add some watercolour to them later. The reason for the smallish pieces of paper is so it’s not overwhelming, or too time consuming. It also lets you move on, and on, to new starts, so no one piece gets too precious. Less fear, less pride, less judgement. It’s easier to throw one in the bin that just didn’t look pleasing to you when you’re done with it. 

It’s slow. Every line or mark or squiggle is done slowly, very slowly, and carefully. And it’s repetitive, so you don’t have to think about what to do – your mind gets a holiday. Your eyes follow the pen, your hand is finely tuned to the line being drawn. After a little while, a unique pattern forms that you have created without thinking or trying. And you want more of this quiet, stilling, creative experience.

If you’d like to try it, hop over to Mindful Art Studio. This is where I first discovered it and Amy has so much to offer on her site. 

Happy slow drawing!


A local tai-chi teacher** has a wonderful statement on their website that is illustrative of embodied practice.


Xing ( mind ) is  psychology and Ming ( body ) is physiology.

Taoism’s way of nurturing life called ” Xing Ming Shuang Xiu ” means look after both ( mind & body ).

In cultivating Xing ( mind ) the emphasis is on training spirit, making spirit detach from the myriad things,  a kindhearted clear mind.

In cultivating Ming ( body ) the emphasis is on cultivating energy, developing life’s potential, enriching life’s energy.

The two mutually act and mutually produce; refining essence to transform into energy; refining energy to transform into spirit; draw the spirit within to achieve stillness.

This delicate balance reminded me of some western unbundling work being undertaken by John Vervaeke and really interesting people in his orbit like Rafe Kelley.

For John, he has spent many years in philosophy and is navigating towards the centre from the intellectual side – many people experiencing John’s work dismiss it as too intellectual – which strikes me as laziness because John has synthesized some of the best spiritual output from humanity (with a western bias). John’s youtube magnum opus (“Awakening from the Meaning Crisis”) is worth investing time on – a mere 50 hours to undertake if the spirit is willing. 😇

Part of the project and community around him are (or were) exploring the Religion that is not a Religion (RTNAR). Which is an attempt to rebuild the valuable elements of organised religion (perhaps agreeing with Peterson’s assertion that they are super-successful memes) without dogmatic baggage. (I wrote a little in the Meaning).

Rafe Kelley approaches the middle-way from the extreme physical end of the spectrum. He was a BIG parkour athlete.

His physical practice is deeply meaningful when approached with a mindful underpinning. His community and method connects with nature and the healing forces when you are awake enough in the “present moment”.

These two apparent extremes are approaching a centre that is embodied in the meaning of XingMing(性命). As usual the western way is to take the longest way around possible.

Too much mind brings: dogma, blind faith, intellectualism, disconnected from reality, using ideas as a possession for the ego.

Too much body brings: materialism, narcissism, boring conversations, stunted progress.

When you were a kid did you ever play the seesaw game where you would edge toward each other?

Each taking a micro-step to get closer without losing balance and teetering off?

This is why I love balance. As a Libran it makes perfect sense that balance is central to everyday. The Taoist statement above captures the simplicity of this balance. Buddhism uses the term “the middle way”.

** credit:–events