Daily maintenance

March 10, 2006

Maintain: to continue, persevere in; to carry on, keep up; to keep in being; to sustain by nourishment.

Maintenance: the action of maintaining.

The interesting thing, for me, is that the etymology of “maintain” is rooted in the Latin “hand” (manus) plus “to hold” (tenere). Again and again the physical world is the basis for our present day language. Seemingly forgotten in the abstraction of modern living, it is there none-the-less.

Yesterday, in order to keep the Peace Spiral in good nick, I spent the day living up to the fullness of this word “maintenance”.

Peace_Spiral_oil_2Once, when I was at the top of the ladder reaching a bit too far with the oiling brush and the wind came up and blew my hat off, a touch of vertigo set in and I dropped the brush and held onto the ladder with both hands. I little scary, yes, maintaining myself while maintaining the Peace Spiral. Lots of hands on action and lots of holding on.

There is, also, in this discussion of the word “maintenance”, whether or not there is within artistic creativity the requirement that one’s art work be maintained. Is it enough to bring something into being and then abandoning it?

I suppose I could have left the Peace Spiral to turn grey and weather gracefully, but I also understood that a good oiling now would prolong its life for another 100 years, thereby, allowing countless more visitors to be inspired and feel hopeful of the future.


The question I like to ask is, “how does one maintain or sustain a healthy emotional and spiritual life?”.

The answer might lie in one’s ability to literally grab hold of the physical.

Feeling down, massage someone.
Feeling angry, chop wood.
Feeling depressed, hug a tree.
Feeling spacy or disconnected, bury your hands into the garden soil.

Yearning to be a more spiritual person? Take a walk in bare feet.

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