262 How A Visual Artist Lives Mindfulness; Clay Stapleford

October 19, 2017

Clay Stapleford is a full-time professional artist, living in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a successful actor, having been featured in multiple Hollywood productions including Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Drop Dead Diva. As an aartist, he spends his time painting primarily using acrylic on canvas. Clay has a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina and is also an avid meditator.

Contact Info

Most Influential Person

  • Eckhart Tolle

Effect on Emotions

  • [Mindfulness has made a difference by] learning to experience my emotions without judgment and just allowing them to be what they are and learning to be educated by my emotions too. Then learning the difference between my feelings and my emotions and how when I have learned to experience my emotions without judgment, I can then learn better how to follow my feelings in a way that serves me.

Thoughts on Breathing

  • I often just count my breath. I mean whether I'm on a walk or a run, when I'm painting, when I'm meditating.
  • That's the first place I go to to get in ... if I feel I'm scattered in some way. It's the first exercise I jump to to bring myself into the moment, is to count my breath.
  • I've done some breathing meditation, some guided breathing meditations where some pretty intense stuff has happened which is kind of cool.
  • There was this one intense one where there was an hour long breathing meditation and this I had never experienced before. Halfway through it, my body began to seize up from my toes upward.
  • Literally, it was almost like in The Matrix where he takes the pill and you can see in his body where he began to go to that other realm and it would kind of take over.
  • It was almost like I was going paralyzed but I could still feel but I couldn't move. They called it lobster hand. I literally seized up through this breathing meditation.
  • I later found out it was just pent up energy that had never had anywhere to go. So it took about 15 or 20 minutes for all feeling and movement to come back after this breathing meditation.
  • When it happened, it was like, what in the world is going on right now. It was so intense. Lying there and not being able to move. It wasn't a scary thing; it didn't produce fear, it produced wonder.

Suggested Resources

Bullying Story

  • Especially in today's discussion about ... a lot of things come to mind but ... I bartended for many years as well prior to working in sales.
  • As an actor in LA and then here in Atlanta ... with all the stuff going on today there'd be times where I'd see ... I have a pretty thick skin and people don't often offend me very much. It takes a lot to get under my skin but if I see other people being harassed it will kind of rile me up a little bit.
  • Working in the restaurant business and the bars, a lot of times women can be taken advantage of or harassed in many ways.
  • I remember one time specifically where one of our waitresses was being harassed across the bar and spoken to in a very poor manner - sexually explicit and demeaning and I literally was aghast at it and I lost my mindfulness and I took him aside and kicked him out.
  • I think what mindfulness allows us the opportunity to do is to slow things down and to understand how we are affected and affecting others and had this particular guy just took a moment to just slow down and just think what he was saying.
  • I think if you slow somebody like that down they would be contrite and somewhat understand. It's unfortunate.
  • Anytime that folks bully or try to lure their power over someone, it's the exact opposite of mindfulness.
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