One day I decided to have less noise in my life.
Since I run a preschool and have three young kids, this might sound futile. I’m surrounded by noise. Tattle tales, laughter, squealing, talking, cartoons, singing, crying; the grating sound of my son digging through legos, cereal being poured on the floor, the dogs barking, the kids asking.
This isn’t the noise I’m talking about. This noise will be missed one day, when I’m old and my kids are grown and moved away. This noise needs to be welcomed and noticed, even if it gets on my nerves.
The noise I aimed to reduce is the noise that I invite and create myself. This is the noise that clouds my vision, that distracts my purpose: picking up the phone every few seconds to check Facebook or Twitter, worrying and planning and fussing over the mundane, the stress, frustration, and a world of busyness.
I decided to find another way to be.
Habits are hard to break. To get rid of a bad one, it helps to substitute it for a good one. Cue my ink doodles.
I didn’t expect to learn and change so much from carrying a notebook and pen in my purse, but it has calmed my life and taught me to notice.
Instead of browsing Facebook for 30 minutes in carpool, I draw something interesting around me. Instead of piddling around my house until I drop, I take a break and scribble down something funny I noticed my kids doing. It’s become a journal, a record of daily life. I see so much more than when I was deafened by the excess noise in my life. I hear the birds more clearly, breathe the air more deeply, enjoy the small moments with my family, soaking it in and doodling away.
It’s almost meditative, and it has helped me live with more peace in every moment. I wake up early and draw a sketch while sipping my coffee, starting the day by noticing life.
Most recently, thanks to this new practice, I doodled my way through Europe, creating an entire book of drawings that describe my experience.
Here’s a look at how it all began, with some of my first doodles. If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, this is old news, since I post them as I draw them, beginning way back in March!