Working with your hands

Met je handen werken

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Working with your hands, do we still have room for that? Washing dishes, cleaning, cooking, crafts. Tasks where we can do a lot on routine, which can cause the mind to wander. A while ago I was scrubbing eighty floor tiles, one by one, front and back. This in preparation for making a large mosaic on our kitchen wall, above the counter. The tiles had been in the yard of s-tiles, the supplier, exposed to the elements, so some mud had to come off. I had dreaded cleaning them, what a job! And of course I have better things to do. I am an entrepeneur and there is always stuff to do. This in addition to a family and a new house which needs out attention. So who has time to scrub 80 tiles?

If only I had started earlier. As overresponsive as I normally am, very sensitive and always doing 10 things at once, I immediately felt peace when the manual labor started. It gave me space in my head. I’ve been trying for days to think about how I’m going to start with my fresh Twitter account, perhaps in combination with a blog. And while I was scrubbing, the solutions flooded into my mind, like the water flowing over the tiles. There was no other sensory input around me, just a pile of tiles, water and a brush.

When I ‘relax’ in the evening, reading the news or a book, or sitting in front of the television, the information keeps flowing. In between I make notes about what I read, I read the newspaper during commercials, occasionally get up to let the cat in or out and regularly do something with my phone.

In a life in which we are daily overwhelmed by so much snesory input, it is quite difficult as a sensitive person to stay in balance. Fortunately, there are many strategies and also tools that help regulate input. One of those strategies is to immerse yourself in a task that requires little thinking, where you work with your hands and your mind can drift. Besides the dishes and the laundry, I can temporarily empty my mind while doing mosaics, because those eighty tiles are just the beginning. I’ll be starting on the first three square meters of mosaic, where a total of ten are planned (for the time being).

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