Expressive Arts Carnival – Breath

This month’s activity for the Expressive Arts Carnival is:

This is a two part activity. The activity is to draw or paint your breath.

Start when you know you will have quiet time to yourself without distractions. On one sheet of paper, draw or paint your breath in the moment. Then, immediately after, listen to some soothing music (if you want), close your eyes (if it is okay) and focus on your breathing. When you breathe, focus on slow breathing using your diaphragm; inhale through your nose, filling your abdomen and chest and exhale through your mouth. Try to exhale twice as long as you inhale. Do this for a couple minutes and try to relax.

When you are done with the breathing exercise, come back to the drawing and draw your breath again on the other paper.

Please also write a couple of sentences saying what the process was like for you.

I admit this activity has puzzled me, right from the start. Not the creative part, but the breathing part. My breathing is something I’ve been conscious of for a long time. I’ve practised yoga for years, and even if I have fallen out of lotus position in the last year or two, my breathing is something that still benefits. Unless I’m completely wrought, or totally dissociated, then my breathing is pretty long and pretty regular. Something like this:

I know my breathing isn’t always this calm, but it’s not far off. The interesting part, for me, is the impact on what’s in my head. A couple of examples.

If I’m stressed, I know my breath is shallower, but still reasonably good. What’s in focus in my head is different, though. So, here’s something that happened one day last week. I was running late for work, feeling pressured to get on to a number of things, and I realised my chest was tighter than normal. Here’s what I saw as I drove to work:

But on other days, when I wasn’t feeling as pressured, it was more like this, even if my breath wasn’t all that different:

I’m quite sure this doesn’t meet the entry requirements for the Carnival, but I couldn’t find any other way to do it this time.

Thanks to Castorgirl for allowing me to use her photo. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Expressive Arts Carnival – Breath

  1. Interesting how the steering wheel is bigger in the first image. Was it done on purpose? It adds to a feeling of being stressed and out of balance. Almost like everything revolved around that moment, and everything was focused inward. In contrast the second image gives such a feeling of balance and being able to navigate the twists and turns in the road.

    Really interesting… I agree with Paul, you did an great job of describing the different feelings.

    Take care,

  2. @ SN and Paul – Thanks

    @ Castorgirl – there was no rhyme or reason for the size of the steering wheels, it was just however they landed. Actually it was probably an unintentional omission on my part not to make them the same, but I didn’t do that for any good reason.

  3. hi kerro~ i love your work here! i feel the exact same way. it’s so wonderful how art can help us see ourselves and see how other people feel these ways too.

    my interpretation of what you mean here is that when you’re stressed, it takes you out of the present moment. it’s hard just to be in the now, and not think about all of the things that are bothering you and worrying you. it can feel so easy to be consumed with stress and worry. i’m so glad for you that breathing can help restore your ability to be in the moment, to feel grounded. and yet it makes sense doesn’t it. that breathing would do that, because it’s focused in our physical self, so breathing deeply would help us get out of our head, and see what’s happening all around us more clearly.

    so glad the new job is going so well for you! and that you’re back blogging and sharing how life is going for you~

    wishing you well! 🙂

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