Finding Form: a meditative guide to creating Random Acts of Beauty

I went into the woods, wanting to make something. And blanked. Fancy images from Andy Goldsworthy flashed before my eyes. But here I was, a mama, with a helpful nearly-three-year-old on foot and a fractious teething, just-turned-one-year-old in a buggy. And half an hour to spare before I had to collect my husband from the doctors. So it had to be quick, simple and I wanted it to be seasonal. Oh, and it’s going to go on a blog… And my friend is coming down tomorrow to hunt for it…panic… stage fright…blank…
Breathe. Look around. Walk with your eyes open…

So I did. This is like beginner’s mind in meditation. Always start again with beginner’s mind: open to all possibilities, to the joy of everything.
And that’s when I saw the catkins. Lots and lots of them. Little shaggy fairy lambs tails. In acid yellow, ochre and brown. I started to gather them.

Gathering is the second stage. 
You drink the materials in through your fingers, your eyes, you start to dream as you hold them. Listen with your whole being. They will tell you how to work with them. Their form, their shape, their texture will begin to create itself into your “art” by itself. 
This is a meditation with natural objects remember. There is no need to force, to make Art. Your only job is to be aware…
Of the objects…the season…your surroundings…your breath…
No one dies if it’s not perfect!
So now it’s time to play…

Keep them in your hands, make a pile, lay them out flat…
Play with them
It’s OK, you’re allowed to!
This is where you begin to find form…
What is in your mind? In your heart?
A circle, spiral, web, heart, sun, stripes…
Keep the shapes organic…reflect the form of the landscape, the objects,  or a form of soul significance…
In this moment you are one with all who have used these images, these natural materials before you…
You are the cave painter, the ogham stone carver, the runes man, the Celtic goldsmith…
Enter the flow…
Begin your work…
Your play…
Let thoughts slip away
And become one with your activity…

Will anyone see it? What will they think? 
Some people are coming, they’ll think I’m crazy
Bless it
Move on

The joy of (and the struggle with ) ephemeral art is its very nature: ephemerality. It is a wonderful lesson in non-attachment. We cannot take the result with us, only the memory, the process, and perhaps a picture. It was “ours” and then it is not. It is gone. We cannot cling to it, identify ourselves with it, hang it on the wall. It is a reflection of ourselves and our surroundings at a particular moment in time. And this too passes. 
Do grab a button above and link it up to Dreaming Aloud. Let’s take time every week to commit random acts of beauty. I look forward to sharing yours. Your community certainly will love coming upon them. And I think you might even enjoy it a little too!
For an introduction to random acts of beauty
And some of mine see our beach labyrinth and forest fayre

A version of this appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of Rhythm of the Home

Make it Wild!: 101 Things to Make and Do Outdoors
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  1. TwigandToadstool

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I am inspired to create random acts of beauty. Thinking I shall now always be leaving a “trail” on our woodland adventures!
    big love

  2. Stephanie K.
    Stephanie K.03-11-2011

    What a beautiful concept: art for art’s sake! Thanks for stopping by my space…will also browse through your archives (I spent a year studying in Belfast and travelling through Ireland…a place that is close to my heart)…blessings to you!

  3. Dreamingaloudnet

    Thank you ladies for stopping by and voicing your appreciation!

  4. Loo

    We found them and left our own!! Tom was amazed, he really loved it, thank you for brightening our day

  5. Dreamingaloudnet

    Hurray! Thanks for joining in Loo.. I want to go and hunt for yours…but it’s dark! Tomorrow!

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