Featured photo by Ethan Mickelson, with pictured artwork by Kimble Bromley
Sitting in the wake of the most intense blue waves, I affixed a painting hanging above me to my mind’s eye.
Inside The Spirit Room, a handful of us gathered to learn “The Art of Relaxation” from Nathan Hanson. He tells us to get situated in our ‘nests’ of blankets and pillows before we go on to lie flat on the ground.
For this week’s newsletter I reached out to a handful of artists and recruited our Board of Directors, too asking them to post on social media using the tag #tranquility. So, I figured I’d better get in a tranquil headspace too.
As Nathan brought our attention to the body and breathing, we felt a pull from the Earth connecting us to the ground. We felt the tides of our breath wash up over us and recede back over and over again; filling every inch of us with that air.
I’ll be honest, I couldn’t focus.
Thoughts kept creeping into frame only for me to bat them away hurriedly. Why couldn’t my thoughts just obey the order to RELAX!
Then a visual came to me. I imagined all the little thoughts as flies, zipping by and landing on me as I looked on to a panorama of lily pads. The flies swarmed me until I was covered at every inch but I did not move a muscle.
At last, I shook my body and the flies rose up and away.
It must have been at that point that I jerked awake to find the very same paining hanging above me. I looked around at the room. I didn’t feel anxious to be still around a couple strangers anymore.
I settled back in and imagined a see of #tranquil posts choking out the negativity and filling my social media with warm thoughts. After I left, I took a beat before reaching for my phone, but to my surprise, I opened Facebook and saw several #tranquil posts.
The following 10 posts all reflect that sense of calm in either people or place:
At the beginning of the week I reached out to our staff and board members to collect moments of tranquility in a single blog post. Then I went searching online for anything that struck me from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and beyond.
The first two moments on this list were collected from some people I follow on social media including a painter and printmaker. Then slip on the easy ferry to tranquility in the scrollable list of social posts from our Board Members.
Mitchel’s channel is dedicated to videos 32 seconds in length, mostly depicting the calming sounds of nature in a rural or quiet urban setting. He’s already posted +4 videos to the channel that all feature beautiful scenery and soothing noises.
“I’m hoping that you find these videos as a small respite from today’s frenetic world,” he says.
The tranquil sounds of early morning along a quiet river with crows in the background.
Some horses enjoy the sunrise while munching on grass.
Ryan Stander put his printmaking skills to the test when he posted a project online inviting people to respond with what they’re pursuing.
A simple prompt, “What are you pursuing?” helped push this project into the public realm eventually surpassing +100 comments on the post, he’s made many more since the start of the project.
He worked diligently, using a letter press to type out the social media recommendations in Helvetica, setting them into a real life print.
Originally from the farmlands of northwest Iowa, Ryan is a transplant to central North Dakota.
As a printmaker and photographer, his work has been exhibited internationally in South Africa, China, Central and South America; nationally in New York, New Jersey, and Texas; and across the Upper-Midwest.
Read more about his work with the historic wet plate process to create photos in our recent Fargo Forum story.
Learn more about Stander’s art at ryanstander.com.
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— Smita Garg (@SmitaPGarg) July 27, 2020
As all the posts came flooding in, we were transported to many calm scenes of nature – that is until Danica took it to an extra nostalgic place.
“I thought for a long time on what my moment of tranquility was. I spent time at my family’s lake where I could have posted the water lapping up on the shore. I spend each morning doing some sort of mindful yoga practice. I’ve been reading and journaling most nights before bed. None of those seemed to fit the bill, though.”
“Then I stumbled upon a brown paper bag with my name on it.”
Check in next week to see what Danica discovered in next week’s newsletter…