Working with your hands

Met je handen werken

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Working with our hands, do we still take time to do that? Washing dishes, cleaning, cooking, crafts. Tasks where we can do routinely, which means the mind has room 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 outside, in the yard of 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 entrepreneur and there is always stuff to do. This in addition to a family and a new house which need 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 at ease when the manual labor started. It created room in my head. I’ve been trying for days to think about how I’m going to start with another social media 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. There is no stop to it. In between reading I make notes about what I read, when watching television, I read the news during commercials, occasionally I get up to let the cat in or out and I regularly pick up my phone.

In a life in which we are overwhelmed daily by so much sensory input, it is quite difficult as a sensitive person to stay in balance. Fortunately, there are many strategies and 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 then your mind can drift. Besides the dishes and the laundry, I get to 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 soon, where a total of ten are planned (for the time being).

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