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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Using Your Hands

Becoming Whole

See over there
A created splendor
Made by one individual
From things residual.”
Patrick Kavanagh (Irish Poet)

When I was a child, people made things. Nobody in my family had a lot of money to go out and buy things, so they pulled together scraps of whatever they had and made them. My dad earned his living drawing maps by hand, but he was also a gardener extraordinaire. He could grow anything. It goes without saying that my mother was a cook, but her favorite pastime was baking. She loved sweets, and finding and sharing new recipes. She was also a seamstress. She made almost all of our clothes, and later in her life, she made quilts and Brazilian embroidery. All my grandmothers and great grandmothers, aunts and great aunts were quilters, crocheters, knitters—you name the hand work, and they did it. My sister loved to sew and, honest-to-goodness, she would make slip-covers for sofas and chairs. She made her own clothes, and her husband's sport coats! My uncle, who was a welder by trade, also painted in oils, recreating old masters with impressive skill. My family made things because they needed to, but also because they loved to. They didn't, however, take their creative life seriously—they didn't expect to make their living at it. It was “just a hobby.” That's a legacy they passed on to me.

In our modern world, too few people have a creative life. They believe they don't have the space for it, or the time for it, and it's just easier to go on-line and order whatever they want or need. Convenience and passivity have taken the place of creativity. Maybe that's okay, but for me it would mean chopping off about half of what gives me pleasure. Humans are inherently creative, and when we stop being creative, our life energy lessens. It is native to our species to want to make things that represent us, things that reflect our interests, and more than that, express our joy.

Creativity is soul work—it connects us physically and spiritually to the Source of creation. You don't have to be a master craftsman or an artist to be creative—you can plant some flowers, or glue pieces of paper together to make a card or a scrapbook, you can nail some wood together to create a table, or spray paint an old chair a bright new color. The act of creating connects all our parts—our heart, head, hands, legs, back, feet. In other words, creativity is holistic, and when we enter into it, we feel whole—because we are whole. Do something creative today. You'll be glad you did.

                                                  In the Spirit,

                                                       Jane

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