1. When did you first discover your love for doodling?
School notebooks of course. My notebooks probably had more doodles in them than notes. There is usually a stigma associated with doodling in class. People often assume that it means the person is not paying attention. But my grades, as this wonderful TED talk will show, point to the opposite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fx0QcHyrFk. Doodling helped me zone-in. It helped me concentrate on the story behind the lecture and gave my hands something to do while my brain wrapped itself around the concepts. Usually the deeper the topic, the more elaborate the doodle.
2. Take us through what the process of doodling feels like for you?
Doodling may come in the form of a classic paper/napkin pen/pencil kind of creation but it could really be any medium. One can doodle with a chunk of clay, a ripped up tissue or a splintered wooden chopstick. Anything. It merely needs to be an effortless, freeflow approach to occupying your hands while your mind thinks. That, to me, is the difference between doodling and sketching. Sketches are intentional and seek to fulfill a purpose.
With a pencil in hand (or clay, or whatever it may be) I would start with a mark or groove. From there I would let my hands feel through the process and make up the piece as it goes along. There would be a few notches and suddenly an image would start to form. Very important note: The inner critic would not present because the mind is occupied by whatever conversation is taking place. I find this so liberating and relaxing - it is a form of free flow self expression.
3. How would your life be different if you weren't able to express yourself in doodles?
It has been a great outlet and has proven to be a great way to express things to people as well. Doodling was a way of capturing thoughts and ideas or my mood and channeling them. I imagine so many conversations, or lectures, or meetings would have been different or not as relaxing/refreshing had I not been doodling.
4. Why do you think its so hard for many of us to "surrender" to something that gives us joy/peace and how could that change?
I'm struggling with this as well and definitely don't dive into it often enough. I have a few theories on why it is hard to surrender:
- Culture: being in this fast-paced environment, with the constant churn of things to do and things that must be done - it is hard to slow down.
- Momentum: When you are rushing from one thing to the next, the idea of slowing down for a moment, even for your own good, feels daunting. Like in physics, it is easier to keep a moving object in motion than it is so stop it and start it up again. In the rush, it feels like "work" to focus, to slow down the mind.
- Attention: It has been widely discussed that all of our attention spans are shrinking thanks to the information age where there is so much... and so little time. Fighting your attention span is hard as it is. Who has time to sit and focus on one drawing?
- Guilt: This is tied up in culture as well but it is distinct. There is a sense of guilt for slowing down or for doing something not productive. Feeling joy and peace, in our current culture, is not valued as much as putting a check-mark on our checklists. Doodles, as a an output are not as valuable as "getting things done".
- Similarly, other forms of meditation, aren't perceived as having a tangible benefit or value. And in a world where success is measured by the growth of consumption and bottom lines, it is hard not to feel some guilt in taking time in making "nothing".
Contrast: Could it be that these little glimpses to joy and peace might contrast so much with other parts of life that it becomes easier to be immersed in stress than repeatedly see the contrast of an alternative way of being?