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Mindful : April 2016
It is this physical aspect of writing—the sit- ting down and listening through the body, the hand, the pen—that can bring forth something substantial and true. Each shape, each word, is an expression of how the world is living in me. When I write by hand, I keep going all the way to the end of the page, enjoying the sensual touch of it all, the way the letters link and dance and skip along, my fingers waiting expectantly for the next pulse, the next wave, the next thought showing up, ready to be described. Handwriting is the reporter, giving form to it all, grounded in the past, amazed and present to this moment. I’m not suggesting we abandon our comput- ers and return to pen and paper. (Though taking the time to write a thoughtful handwritten letter can be a really nourishing activity.) I’m as involved as anyone with the ever-expanding web of information. What I am proposing is that handwriting can become a contemplative practice, a generator of insight, a deepening down activity that coun- terbalances the vast, rapidly moving electronic world we’re bathed in. Handwriting is a power- fully simple way to bring natural creativity and connection back into our lives. It is an act of wholeness. ● Barbara Bash is a calligrapher, illustrator, author, and performance artist, living in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. She has written and illustrated many books on natural history for adults and children. She teaches workshops in illustrated journaling, expressive brush calligraphy, and communication. 76 mindful April 2016 practices insight