You are here.
It’s the end of August. That’s not to alarm anyone, it’s merely for orientation in case, like me, you’re wondering “where the hecks am I?”. In the large mall map of 2021, there’d be a manicule pointing at month number 8, with a “you are here” label.
How are YOU doing? Will you be stepping into September heart, mind and soul, or will you be panicking about winter sports schedules and frantically planning your holiday table? Me too, the latter.
As many people do, I spend my days living several months ahead, prepping our calendar, anticipating what’s needed next month, next year – I’m living in front of myself, as part of future projection. I can’t believe it’s only August, but also, how did I get here so fast? This dichotomy, of time passing quickly and slowly, curses us time travelers. So trapped by thoughts of the future, I have no idea where I am in the time continuum, no idea what’s happening in the moment. What’s happening right now? Am I happy? Thirsty? Lips chapped? I don’t know. Days are merely something checked off a “to do” list.
Be Here Now
Right here, right now, it’s a lovely day. I see trees throwing sunlight off heat-tired leaves. A thirteen pound piglet-of-dog, my writing partner Mighty King Phoebles, lays contentedly smooshed in her puppy bed, serenading me with snores. Her cuteness tickles me, I feel it grow to a full giggle that wakes her only briefly. Seltzer Can condensation pools under my left wrist; the water feels cool on my skin as it catches air from a fan. I smell lavender and potting soil mixing in the humidity with the familiar scent of home: mustiness of old walls, spices from past cooked meals, and something sweet that’s undefinable. All this right here, now, waiting for me, saving space for me.
Mindful Practice | Practice Mindfully
Crafting helps us find our place in the moment via our hands and singular attention to what’s happening, our awareness merging with the action. Beyond the fun and functionality, we need crafts because they’re a vehicle of connection; a pathway back “home” to ourselves, that’s why it’s still employed by various health organizations for a host of mental and emotional issues. Crafting, making, takes us back into ourselves, past the all-consuming, too-loud world and allows us to be here now. As your attentional focus narrows, self-consciousness evaporates. You feel a sense of personal mastery over the situation, and the activity is so intrinsically rewarding that although the task is difficult, action feels effortless.
At Mill Hollow Works we have a mission to help you live more deliberate, creative and sustainable lives through heritage crafts – yes, we offer craft classes, we work with tools, we teach people woodworking. But why we do all that, the core belief behind all that, is that you and I need to find routes of personal connection – we need to escape the world in order to serve a wider community. We believe by linking ideas, values, relationships, life improves; people become happier, more supportive of each other and the world becomes better. We all need more opportunities to connect personally and communally. We help our students find and foster connections; connections with family, friends, community, local materials, and all that starts with mindfully being right here, right now.
I believe the peace we need as individuals lives largely within the small constant center of ourselves, right where we are, if we can only relax into it. Right here, now, has everything we need to be happy.
Woodworking, Boatbuilding, Crafting – it all helps get you here, to the place where you have all you need, where happiness is, where love is, where life is.
Come be here, it’s lovely.