Friday, January 27, 2012

Reinventing Myself

I’m back.

The old me would apologize for being away so long. But the new me knew I needed the time to make sense of everything before I came back.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t miss everyone…because I did.

I thought that my hiatus on my blog would be enough but I ended up abandoning my e-mail and Facebook as well.

In the end it was lace that brought me back to my center. I made eight lace projects starting with finishing the Queen of Hearts shawl. The shawl is done and I am awed by the beauty of the yarn and the lines of the lace.

I realized that when I started knitting one of the shawls that there was a glaring mistake that messed up the count and skewed the lace. Such a simple thing to leave out one K1; you would think that it could hardly do any real damage. But it did.

At this point you have 3 choices; a crossroads of sorts that will determine the rest of the flow of your pattern. You can rip back to a point where everything made sense and put in a life-line. You will have to pay attention this time and maybe you can figure out where the mistake is and avoid it…or you might just do it again…and again. This first scenario often lends itself to overdoses of chocolate or even stronger methods of soothing one’s frazzled nerves.

The second choice you have is to ignore it. You can blindly make an increase and hope for the best. Sometimes this will work; other times you will find that the fix is worse then the mistake. The question you need to ask yourself is can you live with it? If you can then, voila, you can go on with your pattern happy as a clam.

I’m not sure how happy a clam is. But this idiom comes from either from them being happy in high tide because that is the time they are free from predators and all is right in their clammy world or from the fact their shells look like little smiles.

Either way that is how you will feel if you can manage to make a mistake and let it go. There is another tier to this second choice. Many cultures believe that a mistake in their craft honors the Divine. Only the PTB (Powers That Be) can be perfect and by making a conscious mistake and gifting it to the PTB you are honoring them. I always try and acknowledge one in everything I make. It can be as simple as an uneven stitch that maybe only you can see. Since perfection is unobtainable; this is an easy thing to do.

Now if you can’t live with your mistake then you have to choose again between choice one; ripping back and choice 3 which is to give up all together.

This can be expressed by ripping the project back to a ball of now kinky yarn and never looking at the pattern again. But the most common thing is to place it away in a UFO holding pattern. That way you haven’t given up and you might actually get back to it at some later date.

My life was like this example. I kept trying to make it better but I needed to rip everything away before I could see what was really going on within me.

I spent the last 4 months doing just that.

I meditated on what my path is and where I am going. I started taking on knitting and healing clients. It helped me to step outside myself and see how other people see me.

There was this anime that DH and I watched where they said when someone has a friend who can see things within them that their friend cannot, it allows that person to glimpse those aspects of self and embrace parts of themselves that they didn’t even know existed.

Even a person who does not love themselves can mirror love from another by reasoning, “If they can love me, I should be able in turn to find something in me that is lovable.”

There was a moment where one of the girls in my knitting group who I also consider a good friend, gave me the gift of a spinning class in the spring; and I burst into tears. She told me that I was always so giving and kind to everyone she wanted to give me something in return.

At that moment something in me shifted and I began to see myself as my friends saw me and to tell the truth I did not know this woman they talked about. One of the things they talked about was my talent as a knitter.

I wanted to argue that I have ripped back on plenty of projects and made mistakes that were totally unfixable. I wanted to expound on my fear of steeking and all my faults. But I didn’t.

At that moment I chose to see if they were right and I decided to make a lace project a week until July 25 and give each of these beautiful knitting friends a little bit of me owning my talent.

The first project I was a bit scared that I would find my talent was all a sham but that soon gave way to a new appreciation for how the yarn came together in lovely patterns as I knit away.

I realized when I came the point in the pattern where there was an error that I could visualize what was missing and fixed it and just kept knitting. As the finished projects piled up I began to feel this inner strength flexing its muscles.

I began to embrace the process again and each new project brought such joy to me. Lace patterns became an extension of Zen meditations.

When each gift was finally opened they were all received with such love and gratitude. It was at that moment that I realized there was no charade; I am truly a knitter.

That doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes but it does mean that I can meet each with patience and understanding the way I do for my students.

The next goal I have is to get a pattern up on Ravelry. I am designing a layout for my patterns, which has a learning curve of new software. But I’m up to the task.

Last year I got so caught up in making sure I posted each week that I created things to post about. This year I’m going to create something and then post about it. I’m not promising any schedule and I don’t feel guilty about that.

Right now I am knitting a prayer shawl for my friend’s Mother. It is made with some merino that is a light blue and white color-way. I was saving it for something to go with jeans but c’est la vie. This is the Shoulder Shawl from Victorian Lace today. The merino is making this huge and squishy which for my purposes is just perfect. I’m on the lace border right now.

I love this pattern and will make it again with actual lace weight yarn at some point. The shawl body itself was easy to memorize and I was soon knitting it without a pattern. The edging is a little tricky with the double yarn-overs but on the whole it is the piece de resistance.

The shawl is lovely without the edging but with it the shawl is transformed into something almost magical. I’m really enjoying the process.

******************

I wrote the above post in a moment of clarity where everything was clicking about 6 months ago. That is why the dates and projects are skewed.

The truth was I still needed to fall before I could get back up. And fall I did. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was blessed beyond measure but she chaos outside of me had overtaken me and I lived in constant shadow.

I had been moving forward with so many things that I hadn't taken time to truly grieve my losses. It started with a potato pancake made from left-over mashed potatoes. Mom always saved a little mashed potatoes to make me a few potato pancakes. I can never get them to taste just like hers; I think I am missing a Mother's love.

She had all kinds of things she would make that would cheer me up. Like cutting my toast and making it into a log cabin when I was sick...such a sweet thing. So simple...so Mom.

It is hard for me to grasp that my home where I grew up has been sold...that the Mom I love will never make me a log cabin toast treasure again. Our roles are switched and now it is my time to take care of her...to help her find her way.

I miss being able to talk to her. Her insights were always loving and deep and really I should have listened to her more rather then being so hard headed. I miss my friend and confidant.

We spent most of the Summer with either Mom or Dad in and out of the ER. If Mom's cancer was in remission then Dad would have some brush with death that spun my world out of control with concern and worry.

I love my parents so much it is so hard for me to see them suffer. I want to do something; but I'm just helpless and it is so frustrating for me to do nothing.

This Summer my husband was out of a job and that was a stress all in itself. I wanted to trust that the God and Goddess would provide; I really tried to embrace my faith. But as the Summer wore on it ate at me. So instead of worrying I tried to help my husband polish up his resume and what ever I could do to be a supportive wife to the brilliant man I married.

I took time to listen to what he was seeking and realized this was more then a paycheck this was my husband wanting something more out of his career. The perfect job fell in his lap working for a gaming company...Praise the Goddess. He loves it there and I am so happy that not only did he find a good job but a place where he feels happy.

And that is really what this whole post is really about...happiness.

My friend sent me a mantra:

I am deeply centered and peaceful in life. It is safe for me to be alive and joyous.

I half heartily said this when she gave it to me like a prescription. But then I added two of my own one day in a moment of inspired reading.

I am loved. I am guided and protected. This situation will resolve.

and

I am financially secure now, and I have a surplus of money to spare and share.

This shift happened around Yule. We don't turn the lights on the decorations until after Yule...to signify the sun's return. The tree was so dark without lights...sad even and I realized that what was missing in me...light.

I stopped and asked myself, "What five things did I want to bring into my life to invite in more light?" When I made this list I didn't worry about what people would think or care if it was silly. I wrote down my five things and breathed life into them. I found an app called Aspire that allows you to take your goal and put in pictures, reasons and music. It is an amazing way to focus on something for a few moments a day.

On New Year's Eve I stood outside and left 2011 and all the stuff that was not making me happy in the old year that was of my own making. I whispered to the New Year coming in the next day that when I opened the door to change me. To allow me to always be able to reach into myself and find the joy that I could feel at this moment. To allow my choices to be ones that built me up instead of tearing me down. And since I believe in magic...to allow me pass this bliss that was bubbling up inside of me to others through a smile, hug or even a post on a blog.

Happiness is a choice. I have said it before, I thought I had learned this lesson but I hadn't. I have learned even in the situations that surround me day-to-day that I can either let them break me or I can breathe love into them. If I can take a situation that I hate and breathe love into it; then it starts to change. Maybe the hatred can turn to a kernel of understanding and allow compassion to grow.

Maybe at one point the hatred will go away and only the compassion and understanding will remain. I really hope so. But like anything worth having...I will have to work at this new way of seeing life and the chaos in it.

So this is me; the good and the bad...and despite the chaos swirling in my life...I am happy. Truly blessed...giddy with love and compassion for all I have been blessed with. My support system is awesome; my family and friends are amazing. My goals are being achieved one by one. I have two patterns up on Ravelry and more are to come. I am half-way there to my goal of financial serenity. My husband, sister and I are working on a project together that is rewarding and full of fun. And finally my son said to me the other day, "I love you Mommy. You are the funnest Mom in all the world." It doesn't get much better then that.

It is great to be back.

Happy Crafting,

Hugs
Ruinwen