Kevin's happiness project
I'm late to my blog today, but I thought it was better late than not at all. I've been doing the final reading of my next book and ebook, making bread and cleaning. I hope you enjoy your day.
I have been watching Kevin's Hand-made Home on TV and enjoying it a lot. It's like a bloke's over the top version of what we're doing here, and what a lot of you do. He is seeing what he can make himself, from the cabin that he lives in, to soap, flint razors, a BBQ made from a WW2 mine and many other "comforts of home" to see if he is made happy by doing it. It's a happiness and contentment experiment. Good news, he is happier.
Just like the Amish, he asked many friends to help him erect his "barn" Using recycled and hand-made, rather than bought, he built a cabin, then moved it to the seaside and is now adding to it. His project is to explore happiness. And when he says "By doing, making, sharing and collaborating you can be made happier." he is talking about the value of work and the many rewards that come from it.
He makes a patchwork roof with copper tiles made from old copper cylinders that are cut to shape. It is the same process that many of us use in our quilts. Kevin stands back and admires his handicraft - just like we do with ours. What we all make and do creates beauty and it is worthwhile looking at it and thinking about it. "I think happiness is a lot of things. There is a great feeling of well-being here," he says.
The paraphernalia of life is important too so he tries to make toothpaste, soap and other small things. Many of us do this but in a more ordered way in our homes. I'm glad I'm not making my toothpaste with urine and ground cuttlefish bone, like he did. But it's the work and self-reliance - the making and doing that gives him, and us, that feeling of contentment.
While he is making what seems to be a practical seaside cabin with accoutrement, he really is demonstrating an over the top version of a simple life. I think he's doing many outrageous things to make people stop, look and wonder. If it were an ordinary run of the mill program about recycling and reclaiming, and how that makes you feel, how many of us would watch? But we watch this because it's outrageous and so crazy. I guess that's what some people feel when they see how Hanno and I live. Anything outside the mainstream seems crazy to many people.
Right at the end, he talks about sharing, how doing and making is made better when you share the results of your labour. How many of us can relate to that when we knit a cardigan and give it to someone, when we gift some home made soap and knitted washcloths, when we sit down to a shared meal that we've work on during the day? It's all made better in the sharing because sharing brings the remarkable rewards of acceptance, joy, affection, generosity, kindness and the feeling of abundance. And all this is within the reach of all of us. Working for what you have, making what you need, doing what you must, that, my friends, will enrich your soul and make you happier in the process.