To Catch You Up:
On January 1st of 2016 I set out to create an Enso-a-day for one year. Each Enso is meant to thank a person, place or thing that has inspired me creatively. You can find a few on facebook using #enso4you (and in the future they will mostly be on Twitter/Instagram, same hashtag).
An Enso is a symbol created on an exhale of breath which represents a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.
So begin my #enso4you check-ins.
Creativity, to me, is moving the mind away from the self. I'd like my acts of creation to break through the selfish hamster wheel of my mind, open a window and say, Well hello! How can I help you today?
In other words, the Enso.
What was different this month? What was the same?
It has not been easy. And I'll be completely honest--I have not created an enso every single day yet. But even creating the ones I have has already made a difference.
Even the act of deciding I was going on this journey has brought a new level of awareness that I didn't expect. When I get up in the morning, typically at some horrendous hour that even the sun has decided is not for him, there's a struggle: do I get up and meditate and do my enso? Or do I sleep or five more minutes?
Most of the time, the alarm is snoozed.
But just the thought drifting through my foggy brain of: Oh yeah, enso, awareness, giving and love and stuff...has made me more aware of opportunities to create & to give. I may hit the snooze button, but I've found that once I do get up, I make sure the living room looks nice for when my partner wakes. I don't rush to my emails and work--instead I eat breakfast and read the news. I give myself little 10-second moments to breathe when I'm in the car, instead of following the racecourse of my mind. I pay attention to where I'm holding tension, and I try to release it, just a little bit.
It's so small. But it has made such a big difference and has affected my interactions with others for the rest of the day. My day-job is as a nanny, so it is imperative that I'm the best version of myself as much as I can possibly be. I am definitely not that perfect and there are moments I'm not proud of. But over the last month, I've noticed some differences in how I've responded to certain situations. For example:
My 4-yr old refuses to eat breakfast. Again. Instead of grabbing my pitchfork and torch and being all, Alright, girly, let's battle this out! I've started taking a little breath before I say anything. Sometimes I try to get her to think about how she will feel later on if she doesn't eat breakfast. Sometimes I sing this song she loves and to which I've added "Take a bite!" at the end of each verse. Sometimes I pretend our invisible friend Sammy is in the room, and I say very loudly, "Okay, Sammy, don't eat her breakfast!" and then I put my hands over my eyes and peek through the gaps to see her sneakily taking a bite as she cheerily declares: "Look Caitlin! Sammy ate my breakfast!"
Sometimes we battle it out. But it's happened less and less over the last month that I've been practicing the #enso4you exercise.
I guess I thought that giving myself the task of creating an enso every day would make it easier for me to meditate as well. That hasn't really happened yet. But then again, I also haven't been super consistent about making the ensos.
Plus meditating at 6am is akin to coming out of anethesia and then trying to brainstorm ideas to solve climate change.
So maybe I need to take a step back a bit. Let go of meditating, at least for a little while, and just try to create my enso in the morning. With love and forgiveness and strongly caffeinated tea.
What did you notice before, during and after each Enso was created?
Before I went to paint the Enso, I noticed brain giving myself little high-fives for remembering to actually do it. While painting the Enso, I noticed that right at the midway point, when the brush needs to come around to complete the circle, I always have this little moment of panic: What if it doesn't look good? What if I fail at making these? Do I really know what I'm doing??
After each Enso was created, there was sometimes a little sigh of relief, especially if I thought it looked good. If it didn't look good, it took every cell in my body not to create another one and post that one instead.
CREATE YOUR OWN #ENSO4YOU JOURNEY:
If you would like to make one Enso, or even join me on this wild journey, here are the guidelines I'm following:
1. The Enso can be made out of anything, but it must be made out of things I already own.
2. I will post and update once a month on www.ensotheatre.com/blog.
3. The update will answer the questions: What did you notice before, during and after each Enso was created? What was different? What was the same?
Try to create your enso at around the same time each day. I've found that this makes it both easier and harder, but it creates a habit, which ultimately, is what I want to find. A different habit of mind.
For the mornings when a creative enso is just not going to happen, I use something called a Sumi-e Board. You can paint on it with water and it immediately evaporates, so you can use it again and again. The cheapest one I found is $15, you can get it online here.
Or you can just get out some printer paper and watercolor paints and there you are!
And if you do explore this, comment here! Or email me privately! I'd love to here how it's going for you, and if it's made any difference in your life.
As always, THANK YOU, for being on the path with me.
With love, Caitlin
Caitlin Lushington is the Co-Artistic Director of the Enso Theatre Ensemble, a teacher, director, and actress. Sometimes she works too hard, sometimes she forgets things, and she strives to put the car keys back in the same place every time. She drinks tea every morning from her TARDIS mug and "Mr. Tea" diffuser. She loves the morning and wishes she had a photographic memory, so she could remember the names of every person she meets.