Mindfulness and mindfulness meditation are concepts that have been well integrated into our modern day psychology vocabulary. Blame the Buddhists or blame Marsha Lenihan, but mindfulness is here to stay at it seems to be a modern-day cure all– an elixer for all of your emotional woes. In my experience however, some of the people who need these techniques have the most difficulty utilizing them. For the most agitated of people, it can feel like utter hell to sit still and breathe for just ten minutes. Perhaps it’s not unlike what happens when someone who is tremendously out of physical shape tries to get fit; those first attempts at fitness and exercise are not only tortuous, but also not immediately beneficial. The benefits are instead reaped over time and with practice.
There are many activities that can, I believe, mimic the mindful focus on the ‘here and now’. Even the most banal of tasks– for example, sweeping the floor or washing dishes, can transcend the humdrum and become a pathway to calm, silence and simple purpose.
A few weeks ago I was walking through Frederiksberg when I ran across this place: Restart (‘Rest-Art’). It’s next-door to an art gallery and the view from the window was just one of workspaces and art supplies. I had to go inside and see what it was all about. I did this and met the owner, Marianne. She explained the concept to me and her belief that engaging in creative endeavors can help one to de-stress. She gave me a small tour and explained some of the paints and supplies around the shop. There were so many different media that I had no idea what to do initially (I am definitely not an artist) so I looked to her for guidance. She offered suggestions and ideas about techniques– enough to get a non-artist started. Since then, I have been back a few times and made some small, usable things. In my opinion, it was a great way to slow down and unwind a bit. I think these kinds of active endeavors (as opposed to more passive ones such as closing one’s eyes and focusing on one’s breath) are a bit better suited for people who struggle with meditation. Of course, the point is not what you create (though it can be a fun by-product) but the process of being present in the task.
I should note that the prices were quite reasonable. Depending on the media you use, the experience can cost less than going to a movie. Coffee and juice are of course, extra and can make the experience more expensive. I left feeling excited and inspired in an American way that probably made the Danish owner slightly uncomfortable. I want to recommend this place as a little oasis where one can retreat from life’s hustle and bustle and get in touch with their creative side.