Exposing Myself to Serenity

Meditation: not my strong suit.

In fact, I suck at it.

Sampling various techniques in the past led me to the conclusion I was destined to be perpetually distracted. My brain always seemed to feel the need to fill the silence with inane chatter.

Groceries, household chores, prospective fishing trips — they would all flood my mind and overwhelm the dam of stillness I was trying to maintain. Focus was nigh on impossible for more than 15 seconds.

Early in January, I was enjoying an interlude with my partner in Baked Café. While waiting on some delectable hot beverages, I wandered over to inspect the swinging doors for community postings.

Amongst notices for The Old Fire Hall Films, missing laptops, yoga instructors and used vehicles, was an advertisement for non-instructional life drawing sessions.

If only I had some skill as an artist. I’d like to think I can write to some degree, but the ability to craft images instead of words has always eluded me.

In the middle of the poster was the intriguing statement “models needed”.

In addition to wondering about the sessions, I had always been curious to discover who does the modelling. More so, what kind of people were they?

I knew I was never going to grace a life drawing session with my stick figures. And although I had mused in the past about who the session models might be, I certainly didn’t know anyone who could satisfy my curiosity.

I jotted down John Quinsey’s (the session organizer) e-mail address with the intention of attempting to do an interview for What’s Up Yukon.

Several weeks later, I was in front of my computer stewing about how to phrase my question. It should have read something like “Hi John, I would like to know if any of your models would consent to an interview?”

That was my plan.

Funny how things go awry without proper focus. I figure if I knew how to successfully meditate, how to maintain a solid focus, I wouldn’t have asked an entirely different question. I wouldn’t have found myself standing nude in a room full of strangers who were patiently expecting me to pose for them.

See? It’s all about focus.

I’d like to place particular emphasis on the patience of the artists. I was incredibly nervous, had no logical means of explaining how I’d ended up there and was wondering how often prospective models had run from the building, clothing in arms.

My saving grace was the serenity of the assembled group. They put me at ease with relaxed conversation, turned on mood music and asked for me to pick any pose which struck me. The first series of poses were to be 30 seconds each and were to capture an active moment. Ideally I would be unable to hold them for any longer than 30 seconds due to the strain of the pose.

Timidly, I began.

Thirty seconds gave way to one minute, then two, then five and before I knew it the first hour had gone by.

I was extremely thankful for the 10-minute break. Not for the ability to cover up but more for the chance to stretch and move freely.

Talk of dinners, dogs and life moved about the room while I caught my breath and artists flexed cramped hands. After the break, the remainder of the time was spent in 10-minute poses. I hadn’t realized in the past how difficult and taxing it is to stay still.

The last hour remains a blur for me. I do remember posing, but the only thing I really heard was the sound of my own breath and the call of “time” when I was to switch.

It only dawned on me several days later what had happened. I had managed to shut out all of the extraneous noise and thoughts which plagued me. I had found a centre where nothing intruded unless I wished it to. I learned how to meditate … and I advise anyone else with similar difficulties in finding inner peace to go to Baked and look at posters.

The life drawing group meets most Mondays, 7 to 9 p.m.

Artists need to bring their own materials, while tables and chairs are provided.

Models – all body types are needed – should bring a robe and floor sheet; focus is optional but quickly attained.

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