By Dan Falvey
College life is already known to be pretty stressful, and the coronavirus has added a whole new layer of stress on top of everything. That’s exactly why students reported to the Downbeat the night of October 6th, for a specially organized event called Five Finger Freedom. Organized by Jada Roberts-Duncan, and supervised by Stephanie Strippoli, Five Finger Freedom gave stressed-out college students a chance to relax and unwind through meditation, and let out their emotions through the lost art of finger painting.
Set up amongst all the bells and whistles the Downbeat has to offer were tables with white 8-by-10 canvases. Once all of the participants received their paint, the session began. First on the agenda was a guided meditation to help the participants decompress and get in the right headspace. After that, they were instructed to paint words in which they or other people would use to describe them. The words would serve as inspiration for what they would paint around or with the words. Participants got mighty creative with this concept, from drawing self-portraits with the words incorporated into them to painting over the words with the same colors turning it into a completely different picture. The whole scene was complemented by dim lighting and a steady supply of calming meditative music to maintain the desired relaxed atmosphere.
Roberts-Duncan stated that she had just started to meditate this year and that she wanted to share it with people, especially during these times. When asked what she hopes people will take away from the event, she replied, “I hope people would at least want to try meditation themselves. I think meditation is just really good for the soul and the spirit, and I just wanted to show them what meditating does for me and maybe could do the same for them.”
Jelisa Kirkland, Robert-Duncan’s friend, participated in the event` and shared her feedback, “Honestly, I haven’t meditated as much as I’d like to, so I really want to dive deeper into that.”
Overall, Five Finger Freedom was a healthy and welcoming oasis for college students to access during these challenging times. They were flowing in the mind, on the fingers, on the canvas, maybe a little on the table and the floor, but most importantly, they were flowing in the soul and in the spirit.