Manifest yourself in the world
We are not just impacted by our space, we ARE our space
In an effort to listen to myself more, I have been paying closer attention to the actions that make me feel most aligned. One particularly potent path I have found to achieve this state is engaging fully in my boring household chores – there is something healing about adding order to a space that was previously in disarray. In an attempt to further explore the benefits of crafting one's environment, here are some musings on the matter:
The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world. But the tradesman must reckon with the infallible judgement of reality, where one's failures or shortcomings can not be interpreted away.
- Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft
I don't believe that we are so different from our environment. Yes, I understand that I am a separate entity from my bed or my table, but on a spiritual and emotional front, the boundary between me and my surroundings is not so obvious. The sense of clarity I get when I tidy up in the morning or the relief that wells up in my chest after folding my laundry suggests one thing to me: insofar as we spend time in a place, we ARE that place. This is a radically different way to look at our belongings and the places we reside – one that likely engenders more respect than is otherwise given.
I've previously shared my thoughts on leaving places better than we found them and I think that it ties well into this discussion; not only is this often an altruistic pursuit, but it also grants one a more involved experience in the world. When we engage in the transformation of chaos into order we become agents rather than passive consumers of our world. This sense of agency is a meaningful second-order effect of putting one's hands to a creative pursuit.
The things we create possess the curious ability to speak for themselves. When I observe a beautiful home or a finely crafted table or a breathtaking work of art, the value of one's handiwork practically manifests itself to me of its own accord. It's as if the things we make exclaim "take note! I am just a microcosm of what good can be done in the world!"
Your intrinsic worth is, of course, not determined by the things that you make. I do think, however, that it is a worthy undertaking to make things *better*, and the space you inhabit is a good start. You are not so different from your environment. Manifest yourself in the world such that things are left better than you found them. Create beauty where you can! Do not underestimate the impact of fixing up that which is in disarray.
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