adventures in uselessness 

| September 18, 2016 | 7 Replies

Today I listen to Yo-Yo Ma play Bach’s cello suites and I dance around the kitchen. I have lived most of my hours aiming to be useful. The weight of that sometimes grows unmanageable.

I am a dancer, but not a Dancer (if you know what I mean), so my body still remembers how to move without purpose.

Today we went to Russell Orchards to pick apples and the white turkeys dazzled me. How perfectly useless to have a face of vibrant color and rubbly texture, to have a wattle instead of a jawline.


How useless and how beautiful.

I have been cocooned in melancholy for some months now. I wield all my useful practices like weapons: my yoga, my meditation, my deep breathing, singing, teaching, walking, and writing. 

The melancholy doesn’t want to be fixed. It has no interest in my practices, my work ethic, or my timelines. 

A friend suggests drawing mandalas. I am not an Artist, so perhaps my hands remember how to move without purpose. 


I draw circle upon circle upon circle. There is no rhyme or reason to the colors. I use both hands.

I notice that I am sipping my tea purposefully, like getting to the bottom of the mug is on the checklist for the day. 

A layer of impatience dissolves as I draw. The melancholy, feeling unthreatened, settles down and picks the next oil pastel. 

Yes, blue would be perfect here.

Category: beauty, body, creating, journey, outside, pain

Hannah Lynn Mell

About the Author ()

Hannah Lynn Mell grew up a missionary kid in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Now she lives in Rowley, Massachusetts with her exquisitely kind husband David, their plucky three-legged cat Thomas, and a needy-yet-lovable dachshund named Birdie. She's worked with singers since 1998 and loves to help people of all ages free their voices.

Comments (7)

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  1. Mama says:

    wow! that sure looks like ART to me!!
    looks like Fun, as well =0)
    I have a waddle
    or a bit of one **
    hee!hee!

  2. Nancy H says:

    “uselessness” = just being, not achieving. Not so bad? Strangely beautiful. As usual, I am moved by your photos and your thoughts, Hannah dear…thought of this blog I read recently…so I’m sharing it w you – blogger to blogger: https://umairhaque.com/the-myth-of-positivity-5821462abcb2#.j2nnqxtfu

    Love you.

  3. Thanks Hannah- and remember that Writing is Art too, which you are also quite talented in. Be well!

  4. Michele Petryk says:

    Dear Hannah, Recently I heard someone say that we are human beings, not human ‘doings’. Sometimes just being is more than enough, and you, my friend are well loved for someone who does ‘being’ so magnificently. I am sad to hear you are melancholy but glad you are sharing. Great Big Hugs. xo.

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