Leading meditative drawing experiences have been some of my favorite moments in my life.
That’s a bold statement because I have lived a gorgeous and rich life, but it’s so true. I love leading meditative drawing moments for anyone who will allow me to.
You can create a space to experience that calm as well with the people you love (or the ones you think need to just chill out a little bit).
I’ve led many of these meditations in classrooms with autistic children and classrooms with neurotypical children alike.
These classes can start kind of nervous and fidgety with students who don’t know me. I understand that because new people and new lessons can sometimes feel scary.
But then . . .
Once the students and participants know what is expected of them, and after a few minutes of drawing, the total energy of the room downshifts into a calm and peaceful space.
It’s just so amazing to be a part of and so beautiful.
Another of my favorite parts of these experiences is that this calm and peaceful feeling is shared! A group of people experiencing calm together . . . Ahhhhhh.
Everyone in the class seems to be experiencing a part of the calming whole created by everyone else there. How important is that! It seems super important to me.
We need more of this!
And that’s why I’m sharing this information with you!
Anytime is a great time to share in a calming meditation process, but this practice (can even be for just five minutes!) can be especially helpful during these testing months, and even divisive times in our history. If your children or students are willing to participate, just follow the steps below, and you’ll be able to successfully lead them in a meditative drawing session. You can totally do this!
The stats are in!
It’s critically important to take care of our mental and emotional health and we know more about how to do this every year. We’re going to experience anxiety at many different moments in our busy lives, so intentional actions for our mental health is one way we can make it through happily, strongly, and proudly.
Meditative drawing directly benefits our mental health, including our loved ones on the autism spectrum.
That’s a big yes to improved mental health for you, your family, and the people that surround you.
Here you’ll find two drawing techniques that you can share with your audience. The links to these are in the instructions below.
You might want to start by doing this process with yourself and your kids first before branching out to other people. If you practice , you’ll feel more confident and have some experience to know what could or couldn’t go as planned.
So go ahead and try it . . .
Just see how it goes.
Life is a bunch of daily experiments anyway. This particular use of your time could really do some beautiful things for your health and the health of your family and hopefully even your community.
Here’s How To Lead a Drawing Meditation Experience
Get your space
You’ll need a place to sit or stand so everyone can draw on a flat surface, and that’s about the only main requirement. Following is a starter list of places that are perfect for meditative drawing:
- Living rooms
- Coffee shops
- Art studios
- Beach cabins with your family and friends
- In your car (not the driver!) on a lap desk or drawing pad, especially on road trips when you have long drives with your kids.
I’ve created lots and lots of these meditative drawings and I’ve found that Micron pens are the easiest to access (they’re at every craft store I visit) and I think they do a great job. Other artists have very different opinions about pens so just keep trying new pens out to see which ones you love the most.
I usually give out 8.5 x 8.5 pieces of paper, but you can offer a variety of sizes from a standard 8.5 x 11 down to a 3 x ,3 which is what I believe Zentangles uses.
Share the Instructions*
- Introduce yourself! This is a fun activity so be yourself and smile. Tell your audience a bit about yourself (not too, too much of course, but maybe your reason for getting started with meditative drawing or maybe a funny anecdote about a drawing you’ve done) if you don’t know the people you are about to lead.
- Show them all of the supplies they will be using. Seriously, this can take less than sixty seconds. 🙂
- Let your audience know (even if it’s just you or your child!) the intention of the exercise and why you’re all together in that moment.
It might sound like, “Today, we’ll essentially be drawing different patterns and shapes over and over again. When we do this, the hope is that your mind will focus only on the drawing of the patterns and the very busy thoughts in our minds that we all have will be put on hold while we’re here together. You’ll hopefully experience some moments of peace and calm, and that’s really healthy. I’m happy to be here with you.” Or something.
- Announce that there are no mistakes in this practice.
Etc. and furthermore.
You might even ask them, “Are there mistakes in this process?” And wait for them to reply, “No.”
- Share the two ways they can get started. You’ll find the scribble method here and the mandala method is here. I’m almost always shocked at how many different versions happen from everyone. You might want to draw a few notecard examples or print the pages from my posts above.
- Let everyone know how long they’ll have to draw. If it’s just you and your kids, you can draw until you’re done. That could be five minutes or five hours. When you’re in a larger group, though, I find that limits are super helpful.
One rule about timing: I’ve heard that for whatever age a child is, that’s how many minutes they can handle a task. Autistic children or adults might not be able to do this drawing process, or they may never want to stop. I’ve not experienced an autistic child not able to do this practice, but I sure remember one little boy drawing for days and days, creating stacks of drawings. We’re all perfect and we’re all different, aren’t we?
I’d suggest fifteen-thirty minutes works best. You can always go longer if everyone has the time and they’re happy with the task and how they feel. I suspect this will happen for you.
- Put on low-volume, soothing music if that works for you and everyone with you. I find that instrumental music can cover weird body sounds, distracting external sounds, and provide even more focus. Kids and adults on the autism spectrum definitely have higher sensitivity issues, noise being one of the main difficulties, so this can be adjusted as needed for your audience.
- Let them know you’re ready to get started, set the timer, and offer assistance or answers as needed.
*All of these instructions are flexible!
Always, always, always do what works best for you and your audience, though I’d prefer that you maintain the “no mistakes” rule. The “no mistakes” rule has helped many people release their expectations of what they intended vs. what they actually created.
And that’s it.
Ready? Decide on a date, invite friends over, go into your child’s classroom, set up a ten-minute meditation after dinner tonight, and get calm!
Of course, I’d love nothing more than to hear about your experience! This meditation process was one of the catalysts for me starting this blog, and I believe in it today as much as I always have.
Peace to you and yours always,