There is a strong connection between optimism, self-esteem, happiness and health. It is easy for some to achieve and difficult for others. Yet the two things that we can all do right now is to make the choice to express ourselves in a positive way and do our best to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. These simple but effective mind-shifts will enable many more moments of calm and clarity from the mind's typical dependence on emotional chaos.
As we settle into this new and unprecedented sequestering, we find the need to hold on to something real, to something solid. In the world of the artisan, the goal is to find one's flow. In this state of being, the flow enables a focused path that encompasses the optimism of creation, assembly, and “ah-ha” moments. Negative thoughts disappear – there is simply no room for them during creative activity. The gentle and repetitive motion involved in a beautifully manual task like sawing, drilling or sewing can help regulate breathing, heart rate, manage strong emotions and calm a nervous system.
Although, the artisans that teach at the Michigan Folk School are currently in self-quarantine, not one of us has stopped thinking about you, our community. While right now we cannot physically sit down next you and guide you in a craft that could help you enter your own state of flow, we can lead by example. Over the next few weeks we will publish a series of videos about our artisan instructors. These videos are not meant to serve as as a “how-to”, they are meant to bring you into the world of the craftsperson and to enable you to see their state of flow. Allow yourself a few minutes to get fully lost in the video, lost in the music, lost in the craft. Watch them over and over and over again and you'll find something new each time. Absorb the rich and dark textures of the video and open yourself to its seductive mediation.
We begin with a video from the point of view of the artisan. The video is fast, energetic and fun. It looks and feels different than the other videos, as this one celebrates irrelevancy of time. From outside the artisan, it feels as if time has slowed down as the artisan measures, cuts, pounds, punches, carves, or chops. But from the perspective of the artisan, time seems to disappear. Hours feel like minutes. The grumbling-tummy that was once screaming “FEED ME” is now more of a whisper heard through a tin-can telephone. In this video, we compressed a four-hour leather crafting experience, starting with patterning, leather selection, cutting, riveting, and hardware addition, and ending the experience by coming back into waking time with a beautifully completed project.
In closing, let’s all remember that we can do two things right now that can help everyone, including ourselves. We can make the choice to express ourself in a positive way and we can do our best to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Let this be the start of our virtual journey together!
With reverence for all,
The Artisans of
The Michigan Folk School