Use your hands to heal what ails you
|Posted by Jinnene|
“The creative adult is the child who survived.” – Ursula Leguin
In order to live an authentic life, it can be helpful to use your hands to heal from stress. It doesn’t matter what you make, or the type of materials you select. The key is to continue to use your imagination to solve interesting problems.
This summer while the U.S. was in lockdown due to COVID, I crafted a bench made of SPF 2x4s. SPF is a hybrid wood that various lumberyards sell; it’s comprised of spruce, pine, and fur.
As a child, I had engaged in small wood whittling projects, but had never done any woodworking that involved big materials (like a 9-foot 2×4), or proper functionality.
The idea for the bench came divinely inspired. One late June day, an inner voice whispered, “craft a bench made of wood.”
I found the Williams Sonoma-inspired design for the DIY bench project online (shout out to DIY Candy), and planned out all the materials I’d need to get started. I enjoyed curiosity about the box joint method I’d use to affix the pieces; I felt confident it would amount in a sturdy product.
In this way, for the width part of the bench (the part where one sits), you stack alternating long and slightly shorter pieces together to create a sort of hinge for a sturdier design.
Fortunately, my partner has a bunch of really cool tools in his garage. For example, he taught me how to use his miter saw, which I previously knew nothing about.
In addition to the miter saw, I used big C-clamps to hold the wood pieces together. After much deliberating and research, I chose which glue would be best.
About half-point through the process, I messed up the 2×4 measurements, and faced momentary frustration.
However, on the path toward a more authentic life, we should always recall: Every interesting problem has some type of solution.
The entire bench project, including all the sanding and finishing, took several days to complete. Satisfaction and pride were the results.
Big projects like this change us. They somehow make us realize we’re better than we thought we were.
Consider wearing overalls; it’s great fun.
Your turn toward creative authenticity:
Pro tip: You don’t have to visit the local lumber center to live out your authentic delight, of course. But I’m sure you’re aware of something that would please you to get started.
Get quiet enough to listen for those divine voices, or journal out some ideas about a creative endeavor that could pull you into the land of imagination for any amount of time you can spare. I recommend giving meditation a try!
Hint: Don’t forget to use your hands somehow!
If you need a few writing prompts to get you started, try these:
- When do you feel most excited about something that you make? (cooking, decorating, planning, painting, music, etc.). Be creative about what “creativity” means to you. Recall, it’s anything that requires solving interesting problems.
- What activity makes you feel like a child, and why or how?
- What did you most like to do as a child? Why did you give it up?
- What activities do you look most forward to? Why?
- What do you do that allows you to lose track of time in the best way? Is there a reason you don’t do more of this activity?