“Rumination”, oil on paper, 4″ x 6″, January 14, 2018
I want to talk about a specific word today.
I was introduced to this word in, what I would call, a negative connotation. Rumination in a psychological definition is (as per Wikipedia), “the focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress.” This is something I did everyday, all day, for quite a long time. I had no idea that to not be able to let go of a thought, emotion, an event that happen was not a daily occurrence for everyone. Playing it over and over again in my head and never understanding why, never finding a solution, and never feeling like it actually stopped, just subsided.
This is how I was first exposed to the word, but then I looked up the Webster definition, I found out it is both transitive and intransitive verb which allows it to participate with and separate from an object. The first definition is, “to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually, or slowly”. The second definition is, “to chew repeatedly for an extended period of time.”
Now I understand the phrase “chew on that”.
These definitions are so average, calm, and also exactly what I do.
I think I use rumination in both ways. Both positively and negatively.
The painting above I made while I was thinking about ruminating. About what my brain might look like. When I ruminate I tend to make connections and form beliefs and opinions about myself that are not necessarily built on truths, but on my repeated ideas and negative viewpoints. It has taken quite awhile to figure out which ruminations are productive and which I should step away from. It is a mindfulness process that I try to focus on every week, every day sometimes.
Paintings, like this one, make me feel like there is a little more sense in the world. If I can see it, maybe I can understand it. No longer is it in my head, but it is something that simultaneously exists, in an abstract form, still confusing, yet is now tangible.
What are your thoughts on rumination? Have you had to take the time to separate yourself from your rumination?
Chew on that folks.