I write a lot about joy and finding ways of being happy in this world. One of the best ways is through making things, of using your hands to create. Ringo Starr was mocked this week due to his un rock star like utterance about the joy of growing vegetables, but it is germane to my point this blog.
Doing things with your hands is wonderful, making things with your hands makes you feel good: it brings you joy.
I came upon the idea of food being made with love when I read Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (well before it was made into a movie). I was taken by that idea that love goes into food preparation. Feeding others should be an act of love, of caring for others – whether it’s dinner for the family or entertaining friends. Something cooked by you is infinitely better than bought made from the shops. In fact why have people over if you’re not going to cook it yourself?
Making things for others is an act of joy, wether it is cooking or sewing or making a card or birthday cake. Growing vegetables or fruit in your garden and sharing them with family and friends is an act of making that brings joy to others.
Making for the sake of making or making for yourself is simply a wonderful thing to do. Making is using your hands to create. Using your hands is a primal thing to do – like reaching into the earth to prepare the way for seedlings for flowers or food. Using your hands to knead bread, chop garlic, beat eggs, shape hamburger patties, shape and carve wood connects you to a more essential way of being. Using your hands connects you to truthful things in life.
We can’t all be artists but many of us can be fine craftsmen – we can make a dress, knit a jumper, make a candle, paint a picture, create a garden bench. Many of us indulge in these pastimes as hobbies, enjoying being creative, enjoying making something for ourselves.
Being admired for our skills is a bonus. The making – creating of things is where the joy is. Go on, do something with your hands. Build a boat, grow roses, paint your own walls, knit a scarf, cook a cake from scratch following an ancient recipe.
I promise, you’ll feel so good, so full of joy you’ll wonder why you left it so long to discover such a simple pleasure. So, this coming break make something from nothing, from raw materials: make something with your own hands. (Images from Private collection – from Top – raw silk lined coat, lemon jelly cheesecake, quiche lorraine, over-sized man’s jumper, Pal’s craft – wax candle, paper penguin, clay Garfield, star waistcoat, scarf in progress)