It’s been a long time since I did something totally and utterly new. Yes, I try and learn something new every day – pick up knowledge, learn a new fact, learn how to do something better, learn something about the place I live, pick up a hint or tip on how to do something better. But doing something that is totally and utterly alien to me – learning a new skill.
So a year and a bit ago Lee bought me a voucher to learn how to make jewellery - and earlier this month I finally got the chance to go... and I absolutely loved it!
My jewellery course was with Rose, from Rose Wood Jewellery. Based in Cardigan, Rose runs regular courses in silver and gold jewellery courses. If you live locally you can book into Rose’s regular weekly evening course. Alternatively if you live further away, you can book a one to one whole day course and you can even go with your partner to make wedding or celebration rings – such a lovely idea. It’s worth travelling for and being based in such a beautiful part of the UK, you can make it into a long weekend or even spend a fortnight on holiday – there’s so much to see and do.
It took me over a year to book in to use my voucher but it really was worth the wait. I learnt so much on that day – much more in fact than just how to make a ring.
I learnt how magical it is to completely focus on a process. I was so focused that I didn’t think about anything else other than the specific task in hand. So whether that was Annealing (that’s the process of making a piece of metal – in my case silver – softer and malleable); Rolling (to add texture or to stretch a piece of metal) or Soldering (heating metal to join it together) – nothing else entered my mind. Just pure concentration on the here and the now (or the there and the then).
Of course I have to concentrate when I’m making up my natural skincare products – whether I’m making a batch of Thirsty Work daily moisturiser, A Little Lift serum or Angel Eyes eye treatment; I concentrate to make it the best batch it possibly can be and to make sure the right ingredients are added in the right quantity at the right time and temperature.
But whilst I’m making the product – because it’s familiar – I am also probably thinking about something else too. I could be thinking ahead to the next step of making the product – or I might be mentally making lists of all the other things I’ve got to do that day when I get back to the office. When I’m driving of course I’m focused on the road ahead – but I’m also probably thinking of what I’m going to do when I get to wherever it is I’m travelling to. When I’m watching TV – even if I’m paying attention to the plot or trying to answer questions on Only Connect – I’m invariably also thinking about something else. My mind is not 100% focused.
For the first time in a really long time, I didn’t think about anything else – just on making the ring and each individual process involved. I was totally absorbed – I didn’t once think about things I should be doing/need to do/have to do. I just enjoyed the moment.
I haven’t (knowingly) done mindfulness before. Do you even “do” mindfulness? From the very little I know about it from friends that love and embrace mindfulness, I think on that day, I experienced it and it felt AMAZING!
It felt like freedom and it gave me so much energy. I didn’t even realise this until the end of the course when I explained how I felt to Rose. I left with a big spring in my step and a new ring on my finger.
I should probably try a meditation or mindfulness course next in my quest to learn new things – but instead I booked myself onto another day of making jewellery; I couldn’t resist it!
Of course I also learnt how to make a ring. I learnt that my sausage-like fingers are dexterous enough to turn a plain length of silver into a sparkly ring. Finally (I knew this already but it’s also good to reinforce knowledge) – I learnt that it’s better to give than receive - so now my ring decorates Lee’s finger not mine; and very nice it looks too!
Thanks Lee for giving me this gift and thanks Rose for being such a great teacher.
Have you learnt something new recently and did you feel the same? Do you practice mindfulness and does it improve your life? Is there something you think we should know about that we might not know about it? It could be a place, a person, or a thing. Anything - anyone or anywhere - a piece of music, a play, an experience, a book – if you think more people should know about it, please get in touch.
I’d love to learn what you love.