by Kenny Jones
I have several hobbies, but the hobbies I participate in on a regular basis are painting and gardening. Painting is not only relaxing, but the sense of joy and fulfillment I feel as a result of a completed project is without parallel. To witness the progress of a project from empty canvas, to uncertain strokes, hopeful thoughts, and then to joy and excitement as it’s completed is an adventure that cannot be put into words. However, the contentment and satisfaction felt when it is complete goes on forever.
Art projects help to relieve stress because they allow me to focus on the project at hand and not on work or other situations. These projects help with mindfulness and are a great form of grounding. Being in the moment and not being overly concerned with appropriateness or cleanliness allows me to let go of the cares of everyday life and just flow. This happens with painting, gardening, and music. The focus and creativity involved in these hobbies creates another kind of anxiety or energy that motivates and drives me to follow-through and see the project thru from beginning to end. Participating in hobbies such as these without concerns or fears of grades, evaluations or promotions, allows for a certain kind of freedom and peace that cannot be bought with money.
The confidence and esteem that is built from completing a project is priceless. When the world does not seem fair, when people don’t seem to care and when nothing seems to go right, nothing says “I can” and “I am worthy” like learning a new song on the piano, painting a new picture or creating a flower bed from scratch. Doing the most with what you have from the inside out always soothes the sense of self.