This first poster was designed to sit with my practice-based research on teachers’ mindfulness meditation. Later I recognised it had laid the groundwork for my seminaria poetry work. You can read more about this research and the chapter I wrote, Meditating mindfully: Teachers go within to ensure their students do not go without here.
In contemplating the poster design, I knew it had to strikingly capture some key principles, e.g. the interrelationship of the universal and the particular; elements of our human functioning in relation to mindfulness practice; movement inherent in what is considered the stillness of a ‘sitting’ practice, and the kernel at the heart of human learning.
Notice for example, how the ‘sunshiny’ pre-frontal cortex symbolises that regular meditation thickens and prevents it from shrinking with age. It improves connection with other areas of the brain like the amygdala which helps us regulate our emotions. The double lemniscate symbolises further how our actions and cognitive functioning is mediated by our emotional intelligence and how these are key to
intention, attention and attitude. The rose here is at the heart of our rhythmic system—of breath and blood. Central to all, is the (lotus flower) chakra system. Note too, how the golden sun in the poster is aligned with the crown chakra into which streams cosmic wisdom. The eye’s steady gaze reflects the consciousness therein. Inner and outer work harmonises agency for self-knowledge and for service.
The poster was presented during several international conferences and Cambridge Scholars Publishing included it in their 2017 Mindfulness and education: Research and practice.
Graphic designer, Emily Fletcher, and co-founder of Alamandria was the perfect person to collaborate with. She understood my need for a poster that would not only meet scholarly criteria for conference presentation, but retain its ‘vibe’. Our creative process was timely, deep, lively and fun.
TEACHERS MINDFULNESS MEDITATION POSTER
SEMINARIA MINDFULNESS POSTER
My second poster is the creative synthesis of the study, The Mindfulness of Seminaria. Its design necessitated careful cycling through Moustakas's* heuristic phases—from immersion in the data to incubation and explication. Reviewing the stories of my co-researchers, their individuality and their commonality of experience was a vital first step. Their common experience of connectedness, themes of self-realisation and meaningfulness, with events that were, for each of them, energising and transformative—evoked new appreciation of my own catalyst for the study, the Camino walk (and how its ‘well of being’ could create such wellbeing). The creativity of the heuristic process includes taking questions into sleep and being open upon waking to receive and process anything of relevance. It taught me patience and new appreciation of the subtle threshold between sleeping and awaking.
One morning with crystal clarity came the diamond image. With its colour-graduated sequence, I saw and heard the words, ‘From alpha to omega’; its interiority irradiating the crystal-clear light of cognition, akin to neural pathways in which transformative consciousness occurs. I heard the
echo of co-researchers’ lines. Among them, Mikaela’s:
I’m weaving the unconscious and conscious minds together within that lemniscate, allowing for the miraculousness of my unconscious mind to give me gifts.
Again, I knew there would be consistency in style collaborating with Emily. She, with such consciousness to be a catalyst for my complex visualisations to become technical realities! The lemniscate for example, was central to this poster.
* Clark Moustakas (1923-2012), a consummate educator and leader in humanistic psychology, emphasised valuing our inner life. He provided an existential lens through which to explore lived experience. His transpersonal phenomenological research methods have been applied globally in the fields of psychology, medicine, education, anthropology and sociology.
POSTER THREE & INSPIRATIONS
Poster Three has been in the pipeline of my mind now for a year or more.I hope to bring it to light here in 2021, realising that my current experience at The Learning Connexion (TLC) in diverse aspects of creativity and art, www.tlc.ac.nz are seminal to its expression. (Watch this space!)
Noting that both posters (and probably yet the third), acknowledge my interest in investigating principles of a practice-based research, here I wish to celebrate two earlier influences:
Influence #1 – In his presidential opening address to the 2007 NZARE conference, I was surprised by an unexpected mention from Professor Colin Gibbs, AUT University, in which he highlights both practice-based research and the value of creativity and art in education.
Influence #2 – Alamandria: The Art of Self-mastery, Mindfulness and Meditation, a social initiative that facilitates Meditation Retreats, Creative Mindfulness Workshops and Exhibitions throughout Aotearoa. Having attended many of their inspiring events, I cannot recommend Alamandria highly enough. It was at their first retreat in 2013, that I first learned from another participant the power of seminar poetry. At the next in 2014, I understood that my brambly path through an academic thicket was in fact perfect whilst awaiting the emergence of new Australian interest in my work. (The Art of letting go, allowing something new to come.) The most recent retreat, in 2019 revealed profound colour experience. Each event—transformational. I deeply appreciate too, how Alamandria has incorporated Seminaria into its core work and with a feeling for social justice, the Alamandria Community Vision provides unique programmes for Youth, Women and Prison Inmates.