Starting a Mindful Creativity Practice

Developing a Mindful Creativity Practice assists us in navigating through the uncharted territories of life. When life presents us with unexpected twists and turns, many times we get knocked off our center.  Having access to restorative resources keeps us afloat and helps us find our way home. Mindful creativity is one of those avenues, allowing us the time and space to be held, while we discern what truly matters most and begin to refocus our energies.  Being lost in the process of mindful creativity gives us the opportunity to let go of outcomes and adopt a beginner’s mind where possibilities are open-ended, restorative and healing.

What Is A Practice?

Practice = Repetition = Regularity = Habitual

A quiet reflective moment just before beginning a creative practice.

A quiet reflective moment just before beginning a creative practice.


A practice is something you do on a regular basis – or semi consistent basis.  We usually practice to get better at something, to become proficient or skillful in whatever we are practicing.

I think of a practice as any activity that is reflective in nature and enhances our personal and spiritual development.  We develop a yoga practice, cultivate a meditation practice, while writers, musicians and artists speak of crafting a skillful practice.

In the best sense, a practice is an engaged activity that restores, soothes, enriches, nourishes, supports, and heals.



Why Start A Creativity Practice?

We all lose our way from time to time.  Having the ability to reestablish our health, vitality, or a feeling of well-being is essential to our personal development and to the healing process.  When we’re feeling low, out-of-sorts or perhaps just plain old tired, we need to know how to take care of ourselves.  Self care is about bringing ourselves into a feeling of balance and stability.

Drawing mandalas is a mindful creativity practice.

Drawing mandalas is simple activity that calms and centers.

When I get extremely busy, I lose my way.  I get so wound up in my lists and my doing and my accomplishing things that I inevitably find myself exhausted and depleted.  This used to happen to me quite frequently and each time I’d become exasperated with myself.  How can I continually forget to make time for what nurtures, sustains and restores me?

Well, it is because I am a born doer and a semi-reformed perfectionist.  I lose myself in over-achievement.  In order to save my sanity and preserve my energy, I have developed many restorative practices over the past 20 years.  Honestly, I try my best to stay true to these practices but sometimes I fail.  When I do, I forgive myself and get back to the work of practicing.


When I am practicing I remember how good it feels.  The process of creating really does help me let go of my stress and eases my anxious thoughts.  It grounds me and connects me with a feeling of contentedness.  If I pull away from my daily activities, and give myself a handful of minutes to create, I always feel reinvigorated.

In times of wavering uncertainty, we need to have some saving graces in our back pockets.  That’s why it is important to build a few practices into our lives so that they will be there when we need them.  That’s what Creating Brave is all about.


Building Mindful Moments

Walking clears my mind...

Walking clears my clutter…

If the term mindful is new to you, take a peak at this blog post, Mindful Mandalas

Being conscious or aware of something
Being attentive
Being present
Paying close attention
Giving gentle effort towards being continually aware of what is before you

Be Here Now

Being mindful takes practice and there are a million simple ways to begin.  I begin with taking a few deep inhales and exhales and repeat very slowly – Be Here Now, Be Here Now…  Then I simply tune into my senses and how I feel in my body, directing my attention to sounds, sights, smells, tastes and touch.  I direct my attention to what is happening right in front of me, sensing fully into the now.  Whether I am taking a moment to just be still, or to create a mandala or walk mindfully, I always begin with the breath.

Permission to Stop & Start

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with a daily practice, so I have given myself permission to stop and start my mindful creativity mandala practice.  I have a couple of large sketchbooks – one filled with black paper, the other with white.  I start a mandala with the idea of just simply beginning, starting something that I’ll continually work on.  Some days, I just write words.  Other days, I watercolor a shape in.  It takes me months to complete these mandalas but I am not in a rush as I love the process as it let’s me stop and let go and listen. Try it.  I know you will like it.  There is no pressure to finish…  I usually have more than one of these going on at the same time.

Ongoing Mindful Creativity Mandala

Ongoing Mindful Creativity Mandala


Feathers always stop me in my tracks - mindful creativity

Feathers always stop me in my tracks.


Mindful Walking

My daily neighborhood walks are mindful practices.  I consciously slow down and observe what is around me, breathe in what is around me, feel what is around me. I stop and photograph things with my phone. I pick things up – a feather, a rock, a rusty bottle cap, a wasp nest, a seed pod, a bit of moss. Sometimes I’ll stop and create a small roadside nature mandala with what I have gathered.   You can read more about this mindful mandala creativity practice here.





Mindful Creativity – Just Do It

As long as you keep these few things in mind, there really is no right or wrong way to practice mindfulness.  While cooking or cleaning or doing the dishes, while gardening, or hiking or playing golf or tennis or cross country skiing but my favorite way is always around the process of art-making.


Consider leaving us with some of your thoughts.

How and when do you or have you lost your way?

What nurtures, sustains and comforts you when you are low?

What do  you pull out of your back pocket when need a bit of self care?

What do you do to restore stability into your life?



  1. Lynn Karegeannes on February 6, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    I love the thoughts that you have articulated here. They are very helpful to me. My goal for 2017 has been to have a daily spiritual practice – and this is still in the development phase. I have the following Rumi quote posted on the board above my computer, so I see it daily. It reminds me of the importance of following a daily practice:

    Work. Keep digging your well.
    Don’t think about getting off from work.
    Water is there somewhere.

    Submit to a daily practice.
    Your loyalty to that
    is a ring on the door.

    Keep knocking, and the joy inside
    will eventually open a window
    and look out to see who’s there.

    Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997),

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on February 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Beautiful quote. Rumi nails it so many times. I’m printing it out and posting it in the studio. Thanks Lynn!

  2. Michelle Baker on March 20, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Being present can really take effort for me sometimes. Right now I am caring for my baby grandson 5 days a week. Usually I have this time to do errands, read, work in my garden…but now it’s spent with a 4 month old and I have to remind myself that when my daughter finishes teaching this year, I won’t see him as regularly. The experience has been a joy. I have been told that he and I are bonding and while I doubt he will have any memory of it I never want to forget these few months.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on March 27, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      I agree with you Michelle. Being present takes lots deep breathing and remembering to focus on the now. And oh how babies are great teachers of that!

  3. Christy Clonts on March 20, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Writing has always been one of the ways I “touch base”, or “get my bearings.” Drawing does as well, but drawing is more of second language than a first for me. However, both practices bring me into presence with myself and begin to feel at ease in my mind, my body, then my heart.

    • Heidi Darr-Hope on March 27, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Nice to have lots of languages in our back pockets!

  4. Renee Bergeron on January 29, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Yoga is my go to spiritual lifter. I discovered yin yoga and love the slow pace that focuses on breath and expansion. If I miss a day of practice I feel as though something is missing. Heidi, your post has made me decide to do the same with my art. Even if it’s 10 minutes of doodling, I plan to begin a daily practice with my art. Let’s see where it takes me. Thanks for the inspiration from you and those who have commented.

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