So the other day I went to a school information night and on the way I was listening to a podcast where Russell Brand is interviewing Sam Harris. And Sam said this (at around 28.47);
“Ideas are the most powerful thing we’ve got. Ideas are the operating system for human life and human culture.”
He went on to say that it's around ideas that we have conversation, conversation that is able to connect us through shared values. And really there were only two modes of being - conversation and violence. So without ideas, without conversation we have no way of coming together.
And I thought wow.
And then I went and I sat in the auditorium at school, and the wellbeing person started talking about the Resilience program the school is running, and there was a slide that said this;
“By developing daily practices we can change our own health and wellbeing, and impact positively on the wellbeing of others.”
And I thought shazzam! That’s what I’m talking about.
The resilience project was talking about using gratitude, empathy, mindfulness and meditation to improve wellbeing.
And here’s my shazzam….. I believe that the idea that "handmaking improves and supports well-being" is an idea worth spreading.
Try this on for size - "Making things with our hands as a daily practice changes our own health and wellbeing, and impacts positively on the wellbeing of others" said by me just now.
This is what I believe. This is what I care about. This is what I’m writing a book about – to promote this message*, because handmaking isn't yet recognized in the same way that exercise or meditation is - as a pathway to well-being.
And yet, as well all know, in addition to impacting postitively on our well-being, making (in our case craft) has all sorts of additional benefits. Handmaking as a practice has a breadth and depth of meaning that just isn't present with many other well-being practices.
Handmaking offers us a practice that supports us, connects us and ultimately changes us. Craft as a daily practice will elevate our lives.
Making supports us by giving us a way to touch beauty in our everyday, and experience states of flow, of joy, of dreaming, of creativity and purpose. This gives us space in our lives to breathe and be.
Making connects us to ourselves and to others, because the artifacts of our making practice are objects that hold our values, our beliefs and our intentions. They hold our love for our child, they hold the skill we learnt from our friend, they hold our environmental values, and our memories of a time and a place. The process of making enables us to create layers and layers of connection and meaning in our everyday.
And making ultimately changes us. By giving us a daily practice – something to bang up against time and again – we learn about ourselves. When we sit down to make we bring all our habits, our self-talk and our history with us. Making enables us to see these stories in all their shiny often destructive glory. "I’m not creative", "I’m not good enough", "I never finish things" "She's so talented compared to me". But then, if we make with some consciousness, we can slowly shift our stories as we practice new ways of being, and surprise ourselves with our capacity time and again.
No matter what colour our world is on any given day, golden or grey, a craft practice gives us something more than we have. And that more is precious.
Craft as an elevated life.
PS. I’m bone tired and have to get up in the morning to write – but happy making tigers! And thanks for tuning in to my mini-rants.
*And to talk about all the ways we can have a making practice that is freer from the cultural and personal messages we layer on top.