Learning to Let Go

Being open to sharing my creativity with the world

As you may know, my new book will be available on 4/15/2023. I am genuinely excited to be able to share it with you. What you don’t know is that inside the book, at the end of every chapter, is artwork that I did personally.

If it wasn’t a big enough stretch to share another book with the world, I decided sharing my artwork would also be a good idea. I did not decide to do this on a whim. I wrestled with the pros and cons before committing.

My artwork is the calligraphy of the 21 precepts of the Dokkōdō by Miyamoto Musashi, the main inspiration for my book. There is a potential for people to criticize my work and say that it would have looked better to have it done professionally, but that wasn’t the point. I don’t want it to be perfect.

Here is the backstory. As I have been digging deeper into the Japanese language and culture, I am intrigued by how much meaning is in just a few kanji characters. For instance, 誠 is the kanji for Integrity.

When you dig a little deeper into the meaning of the character, you discover that it represents “turning our words into action.” How often have you stopped to think about the words we use? I wonder how different our conversations would be if we truly took the time to better understand the words and their meanings.

This fascination for the kanji has inspired me to learn more about the art of shodō (書道) or Japanese calligraphy. Last year, I took an online course from Rie Takeda on Domestika to learn more about brush strokes and how to grind the inkstick. No, I don’t use ink from a bottle; I grind it fresh every time I practice. Brings a whole new meaning to the daily grind 🙂.

I have learned that the art form is a mindfulness practice as much as a creative one. Since finishing that course, I have been practicing about once per week. Much less than I’d like to, but I have a few things going on in life that I need to restructure to give myself more time to practice.

Image by Author | Artwork for Dokkōdō Precept #1

I find it interesting to reflect on the first chapter’s calligraphy compared to the last chapter. You can see my progression as I improved using the brush and ink. I intentionally didn’t go back and redo any of them from the beginning because I wanted to show my journey of ink throughout the book.

Image by Author | Artwork for Dokkōdō Precept #21

So why shodō, you might ask? One of the things that I found interesting about the samurai and how they lived was their devotion to swordcraft and other creative pursuits. Many samurai were prolific poets, master calligraphers, and expert gardeners and arborists.

I decided to understand how learning calligraphy would affect other parts of my life, and I have discovered that it has helped me in ways that are hard to explain.

Here is what I know:

  1. I am much calmer when practicing calligraphy
  2. I have much more confidence in myself and what I choose to share with others (writing and calligraphy)
  3. It has helped me remain focused on the importance of personal kaizen

I could share many other insights with you if I took the time to unpack them more, but I will leave it right here for now.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close