Freeing the mind

The number one reason to support working with our hands is that it distracts the mind, or perhaps engages the mind in such a way that it frees it.

Of course the sheer pleasure of creating, repairing or repurposing something by hand is another good reason.

I wonder why we have grown to be a society that devalues handwork (although the DIY movement continues to grow so there is hope that we are regaining at least some of what was lost).   Almost no one encourages their kid to grow up and be a mechanic, even if they love to build and repair cars.  Ditto for locksmiths, plumbers, pottery makers.    And what about the people who wash dishes, sweep floors, serve meals?   That too is a type of handwork.

If I am stuck on a problem, whether it be in my writing or in our business, the absolute best thing I can do is put aside the computer and spend an afternoon sewing or crocheting.  Even organizing closets or cleaning is better than sitting around and trying to think.

Today was the perfect example.  I spent the afternoon hand sewing this cuff:

After I finished, the solution to a plot problem I’ve been having in one of my stories popped into my head, and a few minutes later I discovered, on line,  the answer to a problem in our business for which I’d been searching much of the morning with zero results.

This is not a coincidence.  It happens to me all the time.

So when you look at your kids and they seem to just be messing around, fiddling with blocks, playing with tape, or sculpey or crayons or whatever – realize that they are in the midst of freeing their minds.    If you’ve got a problem you can’t solve, walk away.  If you don’t sew or knit, then borrow your kids crayons and draw something; wash some dishes by hand or organize a closet.

You’ll be amazed at what can happen.

About Amy

Amy Milstein was born and raised on a farm in Indiana, but after 20+ years considers herself a full-fledged New Yorker. She is married with two kids, who do not go to school but are instead life learners. This means they learn by living in the world (real life ) instead of hearing about it and simulating it in a classroom. With her family, Amy loves to travel, read, watch movies, write, sew, knit - the list is endless.
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