I volunteer twice a week at the Hub, a centre for adults with learning difficulties. I thought it would be fun, and I was right. What I didn't allow for, was how much I was going to learn from the people I was working with. I'd like to show you something.
This is a wheelchair quilt, made by a very determined lady who loves sewing, but who doesn't get to do it very often. She used the sewing machine, with a bit of help, to put it together. She made all the fabric choices, and put it all together, and decided that the hearts would look great on there, too, so she added them. Technically, this is not the greatest quilt in the world. But it was made with joy, unfailing enthusiasm and passion, and it is fit for purpose...in this case, keeping her legs warm when she goes out. And she is incredibly pleased and proud of her achievement, as she should be. She's already planning her next quilt, this time for a baby who is due to arrive later this year.
I love teaching at the Hub. Everyone I work with really has a go at things to the full extent of their abilities. They hold nothing back. They work fast, and with enthusiasm. They don't self censor; the inner critic is a myth at the Hub, and so we get through at least twice as much work as I would expect a class to get through in an hour...which means I have to think on my feet, and improvise. It's good for me. This week we made badges. I expected us to make maybe half a dozen... we must have made at least twice that in the time available.
What I love most of all, though, is watching what people do with the materials when left to their own devices. They combine the most unexpected things in wonderful ways. I think it's an extreme version of beginner's mind, that Zen concept that is so important to creative people. The key, though, I think, is what I said earlier. Everyone I work with has a go at things to the full extent of their abilities, no matter how limited those abilities might be. All I have to do, is meet them where they are, and help them to express that inherent creativity. Just imagine what it might be like if you did the same... have a go at things to the full extent of your abilities. What might change?
Why not give it a go? Think less, make more. Do unexpected things, and don't worry about it. Be proud of what you achieve and accept it for what it is. Above all...have fun. I know we do.