One day in the middle of January, I decided to paint my room. I did it mostly because it would save me $200 or so, and I figured I had the time. I am not the type to do DIY home improvements or anything regarding Pinterest, but somehow during those six or seven hours, I discovered a side of myself that wasn't just creative, but also reflective.
Overall, the process took pretty much the whole day. I changed into comfy, yet "can basically be covered in paint" clothes, brought my speakers in and blasted some Vancouver Sleep Clinic, The xx and Flume throughout the course of the next eight hours. As I dipped my paintbrush into the paint and rolled the brush back and forth, my mind wandered, my body became calm and I became one with the brush as all my worries and stress melted into the paint with each stroke.
By the time I was done, I had not only been in a state of relaxation, but also meditation. Changing the color changed my attitude in more ways than one.
Patience was key to this nine-hour process. The whole ordeal required a hell of a lot of patience, and anyone who knows me knows I am the most impatient person ever.
For example, waiting for food, for me, is like asking to sit still and not do or say anything for eight hours straight. To say it's impossible is an understatement. But somehow, during that eight- to nine-hour period, I learned the value of patience and taking one's time.
Although I knew there was a whole world outside my window, I was in my own world in my apartment. It allowed me not only to appreciate the slow process, but also enjoy it for the long process it was. And slowly, but surely, the whole room was painted with an eggshell color that danced around the room in all sorts of strokes, from top to bottom.
2. Discipline In The Details
As a Type B personality, I am not really all that detail-oriented. However, I do like things being done a certain way. Whether that's my morning routine of running around my apartment to get to class on time, or my workout for the day, I usually am pretty clear about how I want things done.
When painting a room, you definitely learn discipline in the details because at the end of the day (metaphorically and figuratively speaking), the finished product will only be as good as the details you put into it. What can be beautifully detailed and done in one way can turn out less than great if done in another way.
Painting my room forced me to focus on the details of the brushstrokes as I moved up and down the wall, and it made me observe not just the area I was working in, but also my surroundings. In doing this, I became more aware of things outside of myself. This is something I now use in everyday life, as I have become more observant of the people and the world around me.
My mind seemed to wander as the alternative sounds of Mumford And Sons traveled into my thoughts with each paint stroke and each tick of the clock on the wall. With each stroke, my mind seemed to relax and float away from my body, allowing me to reflect and meditate in a way I had never experienced before.
I am definitely not a meditator because I am not one for standing still, but somehow, the strokes of the paintbrush were peaceful and pleasant as I watched the color fill the gaps and the first and second coats began to cover the walls. I looked back on my last year or so and on who I was at this time last year. I realized how much I had changed for the better.
Painting allowed me to reflect on my work, on the walls and on myself. With each gap that was filled on the walls, another part of myself was turned over and reflected upon.
In that solitary, eight- to nine-hour period, I learned more things about myself and how to challenge myself than anything else I had done in a long while. This small action of painting a room painted a new perspective for the world around me, as well as a new perspective for myself. It allowed me to not only to reflect, but also to discipline myself with patience, diligence and relaxation.