Stories that Awe: Practice and the Cultivation of Creativity

Video = 2 minutes. Inspiration and insight for as long as you want…

Background
Carpenter Sintayehu Tishale, 42, hammers in a nail using his feet in his workshop in Welete Suk, on the edge of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Born with a debilitating polio, Sintayehu became a carpenter and now makes furniture for people in his hometown, using only his feet to wield dangerous machinery and hammer the nails…and his mind and imagination to dream up the designs!

Practice and the cultivation of creativity
Sintayehu said: “When I was very young I used to like to work in a garden using my legs as hands. Later I began to fix small things like stools and practiced sharpening knives with my feet. I made sure to practice as much as I could because I knew I had to make me feet work like hands.”

Initially, Sintayehu was begging on the streets but when he met his wife, with her support he refocused his direction and taught himself to read and write and dedicate his life to developing his woodworking skills.

Wow!
Curious to learn more about this amazing man, check out this Huffington Post story, google him, channel Sintayehu in your dreams and see what he can teach you. Lead by example right?


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Mint on Green in Light: Moments of Being (+ Video)

Mint tea bag pre sunset post dinner at Spirit Rock in December.IMG_1513_tea bag_300_smaller

That kind of light at that time of day
I remember meeting Selby that August day in 1993, in the Stebbins Berkeley co-op kitchen.  She was making a peanut butter sandwich, wearing a flannel shirt and rolled up jeans way before high risers were trendy and I thought: this lady is cool and sexy and has aura, I want to be her friend. There was not exactly a ray of afternoon sunshine coming through the window, but that is how it felt and feels when I think of Selby– that kind of light at that time of day embracing you with love.

Shutters that open and close 
It’s been over 11 years now, but if you go to the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, with your back to the building — walk out and take a left, go up one block, cross the street and there — there should be a food stand with the most delicious panini. Did I mention that the windows of Institut du Monde Arabe are 240 motor-controlled apertures? Like a camera they open and close in relation to the light.

Paris, L'Institut du Monde Arabe, Jean Nouvel
Image of Institut du Monde Arabe shutters taken by batigolix, found on flickr and used via CC licence.

I was told this and went location scouting on my 1999 turning 2000 trip to Paris. It was breathtaking and I knew I wanted to share.  For those of you who’ve seen my film the to do list confessions, you will now notice this perhaps. And I did have a friend report that as of 5 years ago, the panini stand was still there, and still delicious.

Still from the to do list confessions (film): Outside Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris, France)

Spirit
A few months ago I was at a school yard playing with my niece and nephew. We took a break from the playground and ran in the grass, did yoga, cartwheels that felt scary and then empowering, running, running out of breathe. While in a group downward dog my niece says, “The grass is dirty”. Her brother quickly agrees. I tell them that’s what washing up later is for. And heck, when I was a kid I probably ate grass. My niece, who is very by the rules, gets a twinkle in her eyes but asks, “Shall we eat the grass too? Hey, that’s kind of like when we put mint in our water, but not exactly”. Oops.  I tell her that I think the grass has changed a lot in the years and may not be as clean to eat (on occasion).  Now with all my stories of recalling specific places and instances, I can’t remember when and if I did eat grass, but it is highly likely. Just as there are so many memories that are not quite mine, but borrowed from conversations overhead in passion. One that was not borrowed but found. From the grass we went back to the playground and my niece confessed that she wanted to do a flip on the gymnastic bar but was scared. I showed her a secret way: cup your hand in between your eyebrows where you’ll find your third eye and focus your concentration on what you want to do.  Then take a deep breathe and extend your hand outwards in front of you, like you are pulling energy from your third eye and connecting into the world.  Repeat this movement and as you breathe in and out, let energy channel within you and find your spirit. We did this for three breathes and she said she was still scared. I confirmed that I would be holding her the whole time and that she may just feel better if she tried it, but she can do whatever she wants. She said “Ok”. “Wait”. The sun was about to set, she took the secret way and then told me she was ready.  The next day she got really frustrated with her brother. “R frustrates me sometimes. He is not exercising and he is not going to grow!” I tell her, well, he may frustrate you, but you have to understand that you can choose how you react. So, feel how you feel, but you are in charge and empowered to respond to the frustration or not, that has nothing to do with him. My niece responds, “I get it, I am empowered. I have the power. Because I’m the eldest right?”



Mint on Green in Light