Reflections on Reflective Process (or How doodles have freed my mind)
Hallie Preskill gave a presentation at AEA a few years ago about reflective practice in evaluation. She noted how we can be more creative and often get unstuck by using well-practiced, “automatic” activities to focus our attention while freeing another more unconsious part of our brain for problem solving. Examples of these “habitual” activities could include knitting and other daily habits such as showering or driving.
Problem is, I don’t knit, I live in a desert (water conservation and all that) and I can’t always get in my truck and drive when I have some knotty problem rolling around in my head. I appreciated the insights but didn’t have a convenient practice to use.
This past year I re-engaged with my love of journaling and in the process discovered doodling. Or “Zen Doodles” or “Zen Tangles” as some commercial groups are calling them. I do not consider myself an artist, but I am a visual/kinesthetic learner.
These have been PERFECT to help me think. To free my mind, so to speak. To get out of my own way. The best part is that I can thoroughly enjoy the process and not worry about the “art” outcome. The insights, on the other hand….have been very satisfactory.
Here are a few examples of my noodling around with doodles.
First, copying one from a sample.
Miscellaneous patterns while talking with a friend.
Notes during talks at the Tucson Festival of Books.