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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/17/14

Building a New World: The Work of Handyman-Visionary Ross Laird

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Ross Laird
Ross Laird
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Where does true evolutionary potential and power lie?   Is it within us?   Or is it within our leaders?   Do you equate evolution to more complex technology?   Or is our power nested in the empty spaces (the unconditioned mind) within ourselves?  

These are the kinds of questions posed by Ross Laird.  His work takes us inward, in contrast to most of western conditioning that tells us to obey "authorities."  Ross's work allows authorship-authority to manifest through our minds and hearts into our hands. 

Ross is a consultant, teacher, writer and creative artist.  He works with educators, counselors, social service providers, and other groups focusing on a wide variety of projects and initiatives.  Ross states he is interested in the spaces between things, in the unspoken, unexamined and unexpressed.

This is indeed where true potential lies not in the conditioned lies of corporations and their underling governments.  Ross ultimately considers himself an advocate for personal health and development, educational renewal and community engagement.  

Ross has two books that are out and one soon to be available:

   Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft,

   A Stone's Throw: The Enduring Nature of Myth,

   LABYRINTH: Addictions and the Search for Healing, soon-to-be-released

In LABYRINTH addiction is considered as a healthy impulse -- a longing for connection, wonder and vitality.  But, this impulse is thwarted and redirected.  It is a "twist in the bone that prevents the hand from opening."

Ask yourself why is it thwarted as well as who is doing the thwarting?

In asking this question, it occurs to this author that our whole culture's addiction to wealth, power, and the accumulation of stuff may be a misdirected healthy longing.  Perhaps illness ultimately points towards health?  Perhaps a disease like cancer, which is abnormal growth, speaks to our capitalistic notions of economic growth as being without end. Thus, the cry of greed is "more! more! more!"   What is addiction if not an unhealthy attachment to foods, liquids (e.g., alcohol) and medicine (e.g., stimulants or depressants). Could addiction and cancer be of similar etymologies? 

Could we consider a reframe?  Perhaps "more, more, more" isn't about a quantitative "more" but about a seeking of quality?  For example, in lovemaking, do people become addicted to unhealthy sex because they are seeking a deep quality of love that elicits a sense of belonging and meaning? Do people crave more money because they want a higher quality of life?  Do they truly yearn for things?  Or is there ultimately more that they seek?  How is it that corporate media manipulates people's yearnings?

Grain of Truth is a book in which Ross writes about the creative process. The narrative follows the meandering track of his creative process through the course of just over a year, as he explores the work of his own hands as a guide in the unfolding of awareness. He furthermore combines Taoist philosophy with reflections on family, culture and nature.  Grain of Truth was shortlisted for the Governor General's award (the highest literary award in Canada).  It is an exploration of creative work as: devotion, revelation, and a rough opening of mind polished by the shapes of beauty.

Through the experience of rebuilding a childhood sailing dinghy, crafting a garden lantern, making a musical instrument, or simply stacking lumber, Ross searches for the essence of creativity. He reveals how the work of hands can fill each moment with new breath, new forms, so that the self becomes gossamer-light, a kite held aloft by unfathomable strings. This simple alchemy begins in the hand, opens the palm and reaches, with supple fingers, outward. 

Through devoted attention to that which we are creating, we grow to know ourselves as creators in the image and likeness of God. The distinction between creature and creator dissolves and we experience the bliss of at-one-ment.  We find our heart's home where we are at one with our medium, our creation, our environment, our creator and ourselves.  Such integrity may well be our heart's deepest desire, fulfilling the longing for belonging that our addictions merely mask.

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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