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What I learned from hand-lettering

Relaxing? Really?

Relaxing? Really?

I picked up this book over the holidays, thinking “oh, that would be a fun skill to work on.” I snorted at the “for relaxation” part of the title, because learning a new skill and relaxing don’t go together in my mind.

But Amy Latta’s best-selling book is actually a meditative journey masquerading as a set of skills lessons. When I cracked the book yesterday for the first time, I approached it with grad student brain: skim quickly, pick out the important bits of information, get to the main point and get down to business. After 8 years of graduate school, that’s a very important and useful skill for many situations — like trying to get through 800 pages per week of reading!

I know lots of women who feel guilty about taking time just for themselves, but the reality is that when we do, it makes us better wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.

— Amy Latta, Hand-Lettering for Relaxation

Wait, what? I got that far into the first paragraph of the first lesson and had to go back and re-read more carefully. I glanced down the page, which is called “Easiest-Ever Faux Calligraphy” and saw that the first assignment was to write and adorn the phrase “it’s me time.” Latta advises that the best way to use her workbook is to set aside a certain time each day or week to work on the lessons one by one.

Lesson 1

Lesson 1

This is a different way of acquiring a skill. I did not expect to be learning hand-lettering via mindfulness training, a practice that’s been recommended to me repeatedly and which I’ve resisted repeatedly. But my mind was ready for the message and the practice this time. So while I’m excited to develop and show off my new skills at hand-lettering, I’m actually more excited to be exploring the mindfulness inherent in learning those skills.