The list of things I do to keep myself busy is fairly long. I am a Pastry Chef, Executive Chef, writer, builder, wood worker, stone mason, gardener, painter. I am a Reiki Master and I study holistic medicine so I can learn to help people heal themselves without pills and chemicals–and now you can add jewelry designer to the list. It isn’t that I don’t ever sit down and do nothing…on occasion, I do…just not very often. Truth be told, when I’m alone, I often eat standing up–almost like I don’t finish one thought before moving on to the next. Some people say I’m crazy, I say I multi-task…a lot.
I have an instant gratification fixation. I love mowing my lawn because I can see where I’ve been and how much better it looks. I don’t care that I still have an acre to mow–I look at the lane I’ve just mowed. And it looks good! I also like mowing because I can talk to myself and no one can hear me. They don’t know whether I’m singing or what–and all the while, I’m solving the earth’s problems.
My new venture–wire weaving to create jewelry from gemstones combines a lot of those things. I like sparkly things–I love crystals–they make me feel good, and they’re awesome–and humbling. You want to argue if there’s a God–take a look at a snowflake amethyst with purple, blue, orange and pink crystals and think that a zillion years ago that was a handful of sand. The perfect recipe of creation–time, heat and pressure transformed that dust into a dazzling thing of beauty. Miracle? I say it is. My designs may not be miracles, but it’s so cool to take five strands of wire and an incredibly thin wire and begin to loop, loop, loop and watch this “thing” grow and come alive in your hands. Pretty awesome–and gratifying.
I used to use a lot of those busy things as distractions–so I didn’t have to think about things that hurt. When I would stop and do nothing, the thoughts of “there’s nothing good about me…I’ll never be good enough,” would creep in. So I did use activity kind of like a drug–escape. I did those too, and they created their own trap and I had to escape the things I used to escape things.
Things changed when I joined Mercy Ships and for the first time my life was about helping people who weren’t in a position to help themselves. I had dabbled in it fairly often, but this became my life’s mission. During that time I learned that as I reached out to someone else in the midst of my own pain, my pain was healed. Layer by layer the onion was peeled away and I began to be able to look at myself as being whole–not splintered, not broken, not not good enough. I was a train wreck, but I could still help someone else out.
Fast forward 20 years and I’m still just as busy. I still work 12 hour days and when I get home, the “other” work begins. The difference is this work–all this busy-ness is therapy. It makes me feel good to see a broken stick of a plant take root and grow. It makes me happy to see the plants in my garden so laden with produce that I have enough to last me and entire winter and have enough to give to my neighbors, my employees and friends.
I’ve often joked that I am a life long student. I get excited when I find something new to learn. I can’t just half way do something. I’m all or nothing. If something isn’t worth giving 100 percent, it’s not worth taking the time to do it at all. And, I’m the same way about things I do for fun–because actually, most of what I do I do for fun. It keeps me sane. It’s my therapy. Staying busy is my therapy. I get up before the sun, and I don’t stop until it’s dark. Man it feels good to be alive.