“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”
—A Tanzanian Proverb
This project started from the #100dayproject challenge on Instagram. I’ve participated in this for the last few years, and it encourages me to make marks daily. I think often of a conversation with a yoga teacher from long ago:
“Do you practice everyday?” I asked her.
“I commit to 5 minutes a day,” she said. “Some days it will turn into hours, other days, merely 5 minutes.”
A weight was lifted when she told me this, and I’ve been doing yoga daily, since. I’ve moved the 5 minute theory into other parts of my life, too – like drawing. Some of the drawings in these sketchbooks took 5 minutes, others took hours. It doesn't matter how long I spend with each drawing, just that I sat down to make some marks.
Here are some scraps of my 2021 Non-Dominant Hand project in my 6″ Anselm Bookbinding Kit Sketchbooks – I am currently on day 231!
30 March 2021, Day 59: It all happens more slowly on the Other Side (the left, for me) and more deliberate. And, it being so unfamiliar, I let it be, I let it move as it wishes to move. I am not judgmental or upset with its way of going about making marks. Of saying things. It isn’t the rightest, but what is? I thank this Other Side, which strangely, is still me.
16 October 2021, Day 225: As the days progress I am feeling so satisfied with the pages in these books. Being pleased with my work doesn’t come often or easy. There is something about using my left hand, my Other, which feels more like being in the presence of a friend’s work – it is easy to see what is good overwhat is bad. Why this brutal treatment of the self which so many of us ease into unquestioningly?
9 October 2021: I’ve been drawing with my left hand nearly daily this year. When I pick up a paintbrush or dip pen, I unconsciously use this Other. Of course, it isn’t as agile as my right, but this Otherness is what gives me the quirks I’ve longed for. And the three of us, my brains and both hands, are settling in and all getting along quite nicely.
I am also now consciously breathing through my nose. I’ve discovered James Nestor’s book Breath, which had me spontaneously taping my mouth shut whilst sleeping – and Walter’s too.
Result: I slept through the night. This rarely happens.
So here I am today – a little clearer and more at ease. This has been a rough year, (Not without beauty and bright spots, but with a weight that I cannot seem to shake.) I often discover that I am holding my breath. Finding this book will hopefully lead me to some Lightness.
There is something similar in the nose/mouth exchange and the left/right hand exchange. There is so much in each of us, I imagine, that we hold tight, stifle even, without knowing.
So begins a simultaneous journey.