Close Encounters With Life

Like that close encounter at the lake last summer, when a UFO landed and took you on board.

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Close Encounters of the Third Kind via Photofest
Close Encounters of the Third Kind via Photofest

Managing life by intuition (aka) ‘flying by the seat of your pants’ is a common experience for people all over the world. Every day, hundreds of millions of people have one or more ‘close encounters with life’.

Encounters like situations that we do not expect. Experiences for which we have no previous frame of reference. Circumstances in which we find ourselves unprepared and very uncomfortable. Like that ‘close encounter’ at the lake last summer, when a UFO landed and took you on board.

And so it is with a vast array of life’s encounters, our lack of training to manage successfully, finds us empty-handed and unprepared. Instinctively we respond by running away from the encounter (flight) or we run directly at it (fight). Either way, we react intuitively when there is no alternative.

So, what is the alternative to close encounters with life?

For many, an alternative to encounters with ‘life-by-chance’, is a daily diet of affirmations and quotations providing inspiration and a sense of purpose and well-being. 

While useful to many, the effect is often temporary. Each day requires a new search through inspirational slogans, ‘life coaches’ and ‘self-help gurus’ looking for something that will stick. Something solid and authentic they can build on.


A practical, structured alternative is the idea that ‘life’ is a definable subject; a craft with clearly defined borders and identifiable parts. And, like all human endeavors, ‘life-as-a-craft’ can be learned, practiced, and mastered much the same way we study and develop the skills to practice our trades, occupations, and professions.

To actually practice ‘life-as-a-craft’, the way a craftsperson mindfully practices the trade of textile weaving or medicine, requires the myriad activities of the ‘craft of life’ be systematically organized, managed, taught, and learned similar to the ways we learn and practice our trades, occupations, and professions.

The Way of the Craftsmanship: The Tao of The Craftsperson

We use the word craft broadly to cover every human endeavor that by its design, requires an individual to observe, study, practice, and demonstrate acquired skill in the craft. This definition then covers a very large number of human activities. And those having achieved a level of skilled competence in the craft are known as a craftsperson of that craft.

Craftsmanship is a quality that is said to be the invisible characteristic wielded by the craftsperson, resulting in ‘excellence of execution’ apparent in the finished work product. The tao (the way) of the craftsperson is the pursuit of craftsmanship.

In the practice of Life-as-a-Craft; as with all crafts, once trained in the craft, the craftsperson is ready for close encounters in the craft. They are unlikely to be unprepared or unskilled to manage a situation when it arises in their practice of the craft. It is now a question for you to consider.

Learn more about Life-as-a-Craft at Masterwork Journal

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