Mindfulness for Artists: Healing the Artists who heal us through their Art
In celebration of Dr. Joven Cuanang’s 78th birthday, Dr. Honey Carandang gave a lecture on Mindfulness for Artists last January 14, 2018. True to its name, the Pinto Art Museum opened its doors for artists for a day of self-care through mindfulness.
Although often less lauded than hard and social scientists, the indispensable contribution of artists to our society is nothing short of remarkable. Transcending language and culture, the influence of art goes beyond being mere aesthetics. It has been said that artists are among the people who are most in touch with human nature. Just like a philosopher, in their search for inspiration, artists often delve into the deepest and even darkest recesses of human nature, which are then brought to life through their artworks.
Being a product of their innermost reflections, an artwork isn’t just all rainbows and butterflies; images of fear, destruction and chaos are also brought out. They present us with various facets of life, which could provide comfort by allowing the spectator an opportunity for a much needed emotional and mental release; especially for the things that we, for one reason or another, cannot say or emotions that we are still unable to acknowledge and face. At our loneliest, we often find refuge and comfort in art; an object made by another person, yet manages to mirror those of our own. A seemingly simple object that somehow is able to validate our emotions. Hence, in a way, artists heal us through their works.
However, in their lifelong quest for creative expression and the musings and reflections that they often go through; the lifestyle of our beloved artists comes at a price. Often, when they find themselves too engrossed in a project, they neglect their basic needs that could then detrimentally affect their health.
It is with this in mind that Dr. Honey’s lecture focused on the importance for artists to be mindful of themselves, not just on how they think but on how they are feeling as a whole person. To be aware of the trauma that they could have been experiencing and subjecting themselves to as they explore their craft and to never underestimate the effects of strong emotions such as fear and anger in their well-being. Further adding the underestimated importance of breathing and that mindfulness is not just a mental state but also involves the various parts of the body for even the slightest uncharacteristic twitch in a finger could already be a manifestation or the body’s way of saying that it needs help, that it needs rest.
Complimenting Dr. Honey’s lecture, Dr. Joven Cuanang then gave a talk on the importance of taking care of the body, a talk that is just as useful for he was also coming from a medical practitioner perspective. Stressing the need to also take care of themselves physiologically for them to properly care for their mind and soul. To not just aim for “dis-ease” avoidance but to also strive to achieve “ease” by having a good balance of everything.
The event was such a calm and pleasant affair, with other activities including a salo-salo, free medical check-ups, and a film showing of the restored Ishmael Bernal classic “Salawahan”. Mr. David Damian, a financial adviser, was even present to give a brief talk on how artists could be more financially prepared for their future.
Hopefully, this is just a first of many events that would cater to our artists. For these extraordinary individuals who never ceased to play, have never forgotten their inner child and who continuously heal us with their works; may we also help them heal.