printed t-shirts, mindfulness and good intention
I’m not sure it’s anything new, and hope that during 32 years under a pile of printed T-shirts, we always tried to make our intention good, and alongside the ink be splattered with mindfulness.
I hope so anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to come back to ‘what is it to have good intention, what is it to practice mindfulness?’ It sounds ridiculous to consider it in the context of printed T-shirts, but maybe to associate it with an every day task is not unhelpful?
And it should be said, what follows may be utter nonsense….we are T shirt printers, not mindfulness gurus! If we were that clever we’d be on a boat somewhere, instead of covered in fluff under a screen printing machine.
Good Intention or Set Intention?
There is a distinction to be made here between having a good intention, and having set an intention. Good intention can include a negative element, and be used to say ‘I meant well’ as an excuse for a major balls up that we want to distance ourselves from.
And yet to merely set an intention doesn’t feel altruistic enough to me, it might not be a good intention. Is setting an intention just a doorway to our values, and only good if they are good? Do we need to get those in place first, before we set our intention and keep returning to them, to thereby stay true to our good energy? A bit over cosmic there, soz.
Perhaps the big value of considering intention is it makes us stop. Sit still, and listen out for the inner voice that says, ‘What are you up to, why are you doing this, will it benefit all concerned, is it true to your values, and are they good?’
Tricky then perhaps to have good intention with a bundle of T-shirts under one arm, a pot of ink in hand, and with a phone under your chin like a hot violin. There is only one way we have discovered to work around that, and it is to stop; and moreover, to remind each other to stop. So I’m going to stop.
Right, I’m back, everything ok with you? I only went and stood in the factory car park and breathed – nothing weird. Good. Right, what’s all this mindfulness waffle? Apparently, mindfulness is a….
“mental state characterized by non-judgmental awareness of the present moment experience, including sensations, thoughts, bodily states, consciousness, and the environment, while encouraging openness, curiosity, and acceptance” (Hofmann 2010).
Mindfulness then is being open to the external and internal world, and being more accepting of thoughts as they come in. We are noticing thoughts and feelings both good and bad without trying to escape them. It is in the desire to escape, that sadness and anxiety can make their home.
And with mindfulness we consider how we frame the internal narrative as it wanders in, which it will. For example, ‘I feel guilty because these printed T shirts I’ve just made look rubbish’. And guilt is bad right? Or is guilt my friend, that will remind me to avoid this same mistake again? Rather than hide from guilt, can I welcome it in, watch it pass, and let it go? Until it arrives next time. I am only its conduit, not its place of residence and after all, it can be a helpful visitor.
What’s all this got to do with printed T-shirts? Well nothing really, and yet in a funny old way everything.
We have always felt like we are not in the business of selling printed T-shirts, but in the management of dreams. That sounds bloody pretentious, and maybe it is, but customers don’t come to us for T shirts, they come to us because they have, or want to have, a clothing brand.
We’re paid to put ink on fabric, but it feels like we will not be maximising the customer’s chance of success unless we stop and say, ‘Why are we doing this, what is our intention, and is it good?’ This is our starting point, always, with a financial motive at the bottom of the list.
And in the lunatic free fall of the factory day, we won’t be our best if we see too many negatives and hang on too tightly to the endless succession of manufacturing difficulties. We will try, and fail which is ok, to let adversity pass through us until next time.
Maybe we don’t supply our best printed t-shirts, without mindfulness, and good intention?