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Saddle Up!

Jeff Fulkerson

Posted on July 02 2018

                I want to talk about saddles for a moment.  Saddles you say? What’s this about? Let me explain.              

                If you dissect a saddle, it curves in two directions.  Using a horse as our guide, you have a ‘U’ curve pointing up from nose to rump. You also have a ‘U’ curving down both sides of the horse.  The front/back curve keeps you in the saddle when the horse goes or stops.  The second curve gives your legs a place to hang down.  After the fall of the Roman Empire and the tyranny and oppression was lifted, Europeans developed a saddle that helped hold you on the horse (Romans only used a glorified blanket) and also added stirrups. These innovations allowed the advent of ‘Heavy Cavalry’ i.e. knights in armor on horseback. But I digress…  Now that we understand the anatomy of a saddle, on to jewelry.

                What I REALLY wanted to talk about is Synclastic and Anticlastic forming.  Everyone seems to understand synclastic forming. It is two curves going in the same direction.  An example would be a dome.  Of the two, this is the easier to make.  The reason I bring all of this up is this: when you put a compound curve in metal, the metal becomes very strong or stiff. This has great application for both jewelry making and life.

                When I make a spinner bangle, I use my Fast Flare (Pat. Pending) (Notice how smoothly I worked in that little plug?) Forming Discs to create another curve on the bangle.  Another curve? Yes. The first curve is forming the bangle into a circle.  Think of it as the ‘U’ that goes down the sides of the horse.  The second curve is the flare which creates a channel for the spinners to spin in. Think of that as the ‘U’ that holds your butt in place…

                The significance of this is that the compound curve makes the piece very strong. As I get older, I find that the forces at work in and on my life have made me stronger. Stronger mentally, stronger spiritually, and they used to make me stronger physically.  (Now they just make me want coffee…) But I’ve observed something.

                Everybody gets put upon by life.  Circumstances are constantly at work on all of us.  And these circumstances make some people stronger, and they crush some people.  I’ve seen basically the same thing happen to different people, and it crushes one and strengthens the other.  The question becomes why?

                I believe it’s due to our outlook.  If you expect good things, you tend to see the good in circumstances, even in crummy ones.  (The glass is half full)  If you tend to expect bad things, you tend to see the bad in circumstances, even OK ones.  So the question really comes down to, can you change your outlook?

                In Dr. Henry Cloud’s excellent book The Law of Happiness he talks about the scientific evidence for happiness.  The math breaks down like this: your internal make-up or temperament accounts for 50% of your happiness. (Some people are just happier than others.)  Another 10% of your happiness is due to your circumstances, and the final 40% is directly under your control.

                A few things to note: first off, your circumstances only make up about 10% of your happiness, and yet that’s where most people spend all of their time trying to make themselves happy! And second, if you focus on the 40% of your make that you can actually control, behaviors, thoughts and intentional practices, then you can not only handle the forces in life, you will triumph and become stronger!

                So stop spending all of your time on circumstances that can’t give you real happiness or satisfaction and start spending your energies on the things that actually produce happiness; giving, loving, connecting, forgiving, grateful and living a life of faith.

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