Did You Make That?

As I look around in my house at the furniture and other objects, I see and recognize, I made that coffee table, that lamp, that bookshelf, that kitchen island and its bar stools, and that three panel screed made from wooden doors I salvaged from an old Japanese house. I’m not claiming to be a skilled woodworker, far from it, I like to think of my efforts as ‘rat furniture’ as it violates the norm of a smooth finish.

But these objects provide warmth, a comfortable feeling of connection with my home and a sense of having made a ‘place’. Never far away are the memories, feelings and images of the processes that led to their manifestation. I see wooden pallets packed solid into my much loved Volkswagen T4 van, my caution to avoid damaging the van interior, and the labour of breaking the pallets up. I’m aware of the procrastination that dragged out the completion time of the various projects.

There’s also a social aspect, visitors are often surprised by the various pieces, some want to know if I’m an artist, and some ask if they can place an order which always makes me smile. There’s a sense of pride that comes with others acknowledgement. Which brings me to the psychological aspect.

Beyond wanting to have a small ecological footprint and my hatred of rubbish chipboard furniture, one of my main reasons for making furniture and engaging in homemaking more generally, is its therapeutic value. Making things gives a sense of agency and strengthens self-efficacy beliefs. You need to be creative in solving design problems. And it shifts focus away from ruminating on problems. Another advantage is a greater level of satisfaction with your home as research has shown people who make changes to their home and engaged in DIY activities are more satisfied.

I will add a few photos of some of my handywork shortly....


Hospital Staff Attend GRMT Session

Just before the Lunar New Year holiday we conducted a group GRMT session at Tzu Chi General Hospital. How great to have a very enthusiastic group made up of nurses, doctors and pharmacists attend. With the exception of two, all were new to GRMT. They had heard positive reports from colleagues and were eager to try it for themselves.

Participants sharing their experience of GRMT

Guiding a group of participants in maintaining conscious regulation of breathing (aimed at removing breathing inhibitions) and mindful focus on sensations while remaining still and relaxed always presents an interesting but demanding experience for a facilitator. There's constant monitoring and providing guiding suggestions when needed. The experiences shared by participants after completion of a GRMT session often involve meaningful insights and heart warming descriptions of transformation, and this occasion was no different for these health professionals. One doctor told how she had been aware of having a "frozen chest" for many years, and that during the GRMT session she experienced a profound openning of her chest with feelings of energy and love flooding through her. She express gratitude for having the opportunity to experience this.

It was good to get the official feedback report from the hospital a week or so later, indicating a very high level of satisfaction with the experience. Even a single session of the GRMT is perceived as useful. My thanks goes to Wendy, who helped organize the session and with translation.