Painting as Meditation

My first painting in 15 years

My wife and I have been trying new hobbies over the last year. I have tried crocheting, embroidery, and now painting. I didn’t like crocheting, I just couldn’t get into it. I enjoy embroidery and look forward to doing more of it. I love painting, it is a cathartic and meditative practice. I find myself enjoying the different thicknesses you can use on the canvas. The acrylic is an easy medium to use and if you want, it has the thickness of oil or the thinness of water color. I have no training in painting at all so I am not worried about becoming the next Raphael. Instead I just enjoy the practice and allow my mind to live in the paints. Ministers like myself, are not very good at practicing self-care. We get busy and can allow the work of ministry to take over all our time. We will drag along our families, willing or not willing, into its practice. The “calling” of ministry actually reinforces this practice. Additionally, ministers deal with a lot of tragedy, trauma, and human needs; so much so, that it is easy to normalize, what is for most people, very uncommon. Imagine talking to someone about a rape on Tuesday, someone else with suicidal ideations on Wednesday, and going to the hospital because a member had a heart attack Wednesday night. To top it, ministry is a practiced filled with failures and short comings because no minister can be everything a congregation wants, and the truth is that’s not really our role. My point is, clergy are not immune, to the psychological effects of their ministries. Without self-care, ministry can become an anxious experience. That anxiousness can harm our families. Of course ministry is not a bad thing, it just carries risks that demand attention. Okay, so back to painting. There are no mistakes in painting. Bob Ross says, “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.” I trying to follow that piece of wisdom for myself. So I hope you enjoy looking at my art, and that it inspires you to practice your own self care. The Christian believes that it is our prime Christian practice to love our neighbors as ourselves. Of course we can’t practice this kind of love without appropriately caring for our own needs.

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