How does doodling help you?
I have always been a doodler and can’t seem to stop. My college notebooks were more full of doodles than notes. I still find myself doodling while on the telephone with clients, listening to a class or waiting in restaurants. My favorite restaurants are the ones with white butcher paper and crayons on the tables so that I can doodle to my heart’s content. Of course, it’s pretty fun for the kids, too! This red doodle was created while talking with my business partner. I started drawing and couldn’t stop. We have focused in the life journal workshop on a variety of different lessons, activities and ideas but nothing is simpler or more satisfying than doodling. Supplies are minimal and you can do it anywhere, anytime. So this week, take your journal, go someplace fun, grab a pen or pencil and start doodling!
I stumbled across a phenomenal blog post as I was doing some research on doodling. The author, Alma Hoffmann, writes “What does it mean to be a doodler, to draw pictures all day? Why do we doodle? Most of all, what does it mean to our work? It turns out that the simple act of scribbling on a page helps us think, remember and learn.” Hoffmann goes on to share interesting tidbits from throughout history and across disciplines about why doodling matters and how it can improve our thinking. Yippee! I am not so odd after all…
And if you haven’t seen the great Ted Talk by Sunni Brown called “Doodler’s Unite,” check it out! It made me feel so much better about my incessant doodling. I wish my coaching clients could see the notes I keep from our calls. They are covered in doodles, mostly flowers, swirls and spirals that start in one small corner of the page and explode from there. I even doodle on my program at church during the sermon. That started because our minister is so full of fabulous information that I found myself wanting to take notes! Between note taking, I doodle. Do you?
Why do I doodle?
I have often wondered why I am a doodler and the person sitting next to me in class is not… perhaps it’s a bit of undiagnosed ADD. I have never been great at sitting still for long periods of time and am easily distracted by everything that’s going on around me. I was never one of those kids who could study in the library, way too distracting! I find that doodling helps me to focus for longer periods of time. When my hands are busy, my mind can stay focused on the speaker.
In the past couple of years, how I doodle has taken on many new forms. I stumbled across a meditative doodling format called Zentangle ® several years ago. I have acquired many interesting hobbies over the years, tried lots of new art forms and then tossed them aside. Nothing seemed to stick, until I discovered Zentangle ®. What is it? Read my post on Zentangle and why I love it.
I doodle while I am watching television too. It drives my husband and kids crazy that I don’t even notice when the commercials come on and fail to forward through them. I get caught up in my hands moving in repetitive patterns, trying to make my circles perfectly round and my parallel lines evenly spaced. Sounds totally geeky doesn’t it? I don’t care, I am officially obsessed.
I think of doodling and Zentangle ® like tatting or quilting which women used to do by the fire in the evening. My stepdad always talks about his grandmother sitting in her rocking chair, listening to the radio and tatting away! I still have some of her beautiful handiwork which turned plain bed sheets and tea towels into elegant works of art.
While I don’t see my doodling as elegant works of art, I find them pleasing to my eye and easy on my mind. As I doodle, my mind is free to focus or to roam. I find that doodling sparks all kinds of thoughts – ideas for blog posts, books and projects or reminders to add to my grocery list. I find myself scribbling between doodles to capture stray insights or quotes overheard in my latest audio book (did I say I am also addicted to audio books?)
Your life journal workshop assignment this week is to doodle! You can check out TanglePatterns.com for ideas, patterns and information on how to tangle in the Zentangle ® way, or you can simply start making lines and marks on paper. It’s fun, freeing and requires no skill, talent or expensive supplies. See what happens when you just allow yourself to play on the page.
Are you feeling drawn to creativity and like there is a hole in your life? If you are interested in learning more about doodling or art as spiritual practice, I am offering an 8 week virtual workshop called Artful Meditation. It’s only $47 and will be a deeper, more private journey into our creative practice than I have offered in the Life Journal Workshop. Come play with me!