An image of the subconscious mind as a house within a head on a chessboard, with swirling shapes and chess pieces around it.

How Crafting Helps Us Understand Who We Are

Written by Michaela MacBlake Matthews

There’s a certain kind of peace that comes from crafting. A vague feeling of meditation mixed with multitasking, open but focused, washes over us while we get into the zone, and do what we love! This state of being allows us to mix our inner world and our outer world, and helps to build up a feeling of wholeness.

…But, how?

There are two major components of how crafting brings us closer to our inner-selves. The process of creating mixes the inside and outside world together, dedicating time for the two to collaborate with each other, and learn how to cooperate smoothly.

A mind full of subconscious imagery next to a knight and a rook on a chessboard.

Our Inner World

When we sit down to craft, we’re allowing our inside world to rise to the surface, and bringing it into reality. Our inside world is made up of imagination, feelings, tastes, and whatever has been floating around in the peripheral subconscious as of late.

This fluid world of thought is often unobserved, and disorganized by default. Sometimes, these thoughts and feelings can become so scattered that they directly conflict with each other. Other times, hidden gems can be lost in the shuffle, when we have memories of exactly the knowledge we need, and just can’t seem to remember where we put it.

When we create, this inner world gets to make choices. Pieces of it begin to come to light, where they can then be observed and appreciated. Creative choices stem from the subconscious mind, as we associate colors, patterns, and styles as the representation of ideas that we prefer. As we choose what we find beautiful, we are also choosing our thoughts, and organizing them by priority. This process often feels cleansing, empowering, and stabilizing!

A bundle of chess pieces with swirls around them hovering above a person's forehead.

Our Outer World

Meanwhile, the outer world is composed of everything else: obligations, measurements, time and money, physical belongings, and so on. This is most often filled with things that can feel like they are imposed on us, or chosen for us. While a sense of responsibility is a good thing, too much can lead to becoming overburdened by stress. An excess of the external world can begin to overcome the internal world, leaving us to feel disconnected, depressed, and simply not like ourselves.

When we create, our outer world gains a piece of our inner world that it can hold onto, understand, and work with. The outer world is very practical and logical, and often fears judgment and the unknown. It knows, logically, that it should be in cooperation with the inner world, but they speak two completely different languages. When we create, the inner world gives the outer world a snapshot of emotion that it can hold, rather than leaving it confused by the typical swirling chaos of many micro-memories and symbols.

A head with a door to the mind in it on a chessboard with floating chess pieces and organic shapes.

Understanding Who We Are

At the end of the day, we know who we are because we can feel it. It isn’t out there somewhere, waiting to be found, but rather, it is in everything we do, just waiting to be noticed. The act of creating allows us to draw our attention inward, and to begin making some sense of the emotions and nuances that truly make us unique. It allows us to uncover what has been there all along.

Meet the Author

Close up of the author, Michaela Matthews wearing red lipstick and a poofy red scarf with white flower arrangement in background.

"Mac" is on the Lifestyle Team here at Darn Good Yarn, and loves taking a ‘teach a man to fish’ approach to creative therapy. She is certified in neuro-linguistic programming, and is also the surreal artist and author behind Surrealismac.