Yesterday I talked about being brave. But I am still like Dorothy’s cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. I’m not quite up to snuff, not up to confrontations. Never have and maybe never will. There’s something not quite kosher with the word, ‘confront’. It does not sit well with me. It implies hostility. It’s not the way I want to interact or behave. The word itself already brings with it anger and other mean spirited feelings. It is the word I am eliminating from my vocabulary right now.
Call me cowardly if you will but I cannot behave contrary to the way I was raised. That is my rock and a hard place. I do not want to absorb all the negativity it generates into my being. It is really not good for my well being. With a little creativity, luck and serendipity, I’ve turned into an alchemist. All my angst, from whichever source and direction they came from are very good fodder. They’ve fuel my painting, sewing, crocheting, knitting and my tap, tap, tapping here. All the frustrations, disappointments, saddness and anger are good compost. They give rise to ideas and visions and hope for a better (my)self. Being a queen of self-help, I always aim for a better version of me. Sometimes I succeed. Lately I’ve been failing. I’m picking myself up, brushing off self pity and getting ready to rise above the dust.
Having tapped out these words, my heart feels lighter if not braver. I will not tiptoe around my own sacred garden/yard/the world. But neither will I stomp around in anger and malice. I will treat my boundary and hers as well with due respect as always. If my beans or other climbing vines climb over the fence, well they are trespressing in the technical term. It matters not that they are not invasive or harming nothing. She has a right to nip the trespasser in the bud. I’ve already informed the weed company she uses that we do not want any spray on our property. That is fair, respecting my property.
The day is almost gone. I’ve spent the afternoon and my excess angst cleaning out my car. All the rubber mats and carpets are taken out, washed and dusted. The insides are vacuumed and wiped down. What took me so long? Why have I been so neglectful? It’s the first time I’ve cleaned the inside since I bought the car in 2009. Sometimes you start one thing, it can lead to another. Life can be wonderful this way. I’m stuck between that rock and a hard place. I’m chipping my way out, throwing out the dirt and pebbles. Now there’s room for Sheba.
What better way to rid the dust after a hard day’s work than a swim. None that I could think of. Though I had only a short time, I made my way to the pool. Twenty minutes was exactly what the doctor had ordered. It was cheered considerably by a thoughtful young man who was the life guard. He still looked wet behind the ears but was wise as Solomon in human relationships. I left with a softer heart than when I came. Thank you ___ . He told me his name but of course, I’ve forgotten already.
A few days have slipped by. I’ve been absent from this space but I’m here now. That’s how it is in real life. Some days we go missing and we will have to find our way back – if it is important. It is. The pages of the calendar keep turning. It is now December. The days are getting shorter, the nights longer. Soon it will be Winter Solstice. After that the reverse will happen. Life in cycles.
In this year of doing different, I am sojourning forward – out of the fear and the darkness. There’s light at the other end of the tunnel. I am in the desert. It’s where I am suppose to be. I have things to learn. I am safe for I am with me. The road is long and winding. The challenges beckon. Come on. Take one step. Then another.
Knit one. Purl one. Keep going. You will figure out the pattern. One row. Then another and another. There – now you have a sweater. Now you have a life. Wear it. Live it. It is yours. Tomorrow you will wake and rise to face another challenge.
Ta-Da! My sweater is finished on the third go around. I can’t recall when I bought the yarn or how long the last start sat in my knitting basket. I do remember that it was before the Internet, Google and iPhones. In short, a long time ago. Checking back through my Instagram photos, I started the latest version on August 15th, this year – a little over 3 months ago. So I can start and go the whole 9 yards. It feels good not to give up and quit, time and time again.
I do have this pattern of quitting on myself, not believing in my own worth. I do things mostly for other people because I don’t want to be a selfish, self-centered person. I did not understand that it is our nature to be self-ish wanting things for ourselves, to look after our needs, to want love and respect. At almost 30, I gave up on part of myself. I left a marriage but never sought a divorce, an ending to an end. Why pay twice? I was never going to marry again. But I’ve paid more than twice for that decision in ways that I don’t even know.
I did not understand this necessity of finishing then. I do now. ‘It’ catches up with you and you have to write ‘the end’ somehow if you want to be free to live the life you want. So – many years after and with divine help, I did write THE END to one chapter. Now I can start on the next chapter, sweater or whatever, in whatever colour, pattern or stitch I want. Knit one, purl one, knit two, purl two….THE END
Oh, it’s that mellow time of day when the beer comes out. It’s too warm to light a fire. I’m feeling pretty mellow but I can still tap, tap on my phone. I can still follow directions and knit.
I’m into the more completed part of the sweater now. I’m taking care to jot down on my Notes what row I’m on, how many stitches I’ve increased, etc. When you read and follow directions, miracles happen. You can find Nirvana. In the past I’ve relied on by guess, gosh, maybe it will work and maybe I will find the place. I’ve given that up – mostly. Sometimes I slip. That happens.
What direction are you taking? Are you looking for Nirvana? Tell me tomorrow.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. -Viktor E. Frankl
I struggle every day in the short or long of that space. Do I bend and pick up the dropped object or do the natural inclination of walking around it? Sometimes, even that is too much. I just want to sleep.
I am fighting back against inclination and old habits of giving in. I am here another day to make new grooves of – showing up, of starting and doing of intentions. What good are words without actions?
I have learned from experience it’s more effective to strike while the iron is hot. And these dog days of summer are hot. You wouldn’t think it is a good time to knit a sweater – a mohair one at that. But why not and when would it be a good time? I could find no answer to the why or when. I have started. The pattern is chosen. The stitches cast. Knit one, purl one. One row is done. The next STARTED. I’m on my way towards a sweater. By December or January, I might have a new sweater to wear. How about that? Have you started something today?
It rained again today. It was time to bring out my knitting basket. I did say, if it rains again. The basket sat untouched in my closet for a few years now. It holds a lot of knitting needles, wool and not a few unfinished projects – 2 sweaters, 1 scarf and 3 dishcloths. Oh, the dishcloths are finished. They are but small squares.
I can knit, purl, do cables, plain Janes, scarves, dishcloths….I can do many patterns. I can do blankets and even crochet. I can start but completing is another matter. So here’s the thing. In this year of doing different, I’m going to start knitting again. I’m going to knit till I have a finished sweater. I’m choosing a sweater because it is more challenging. It is more creative and creativity can add so much to our lives. Finishing will add self confidence.
But first, I’m going to unravel the sweaters. I have no idea where I have left off with either one or where the patterns are. Same with the scarf. I no longer like the style. My eyes are heavy with sleep. I have to stand up and do something else. Till tomorrow then. Happy knitting if you are inclined.
What a loaded question! Everything surprised me this year. It was as if I had landed from outer space and Earth was foreign terrain. It was no longer the friendly place I once knew. I started unravelling like an old worn sweater at the strangeness of it all. The unravelling sped up as the days passed – like the end roll of toilet paper. Finally I was limp and helpless like a puddle on the bathroom floor.
Being helpless, I gave up fighting this strangeness. When there was no more struggle, no more sparring in the dark, I was surprised by my own strength and resources. Somehow I was able to pick up the stitches and knit myself back together.
It was not an overnight job. I sat through a month of instructions, listening every day to a new instructor. It was a most pleasant October as I spent each morning sipping tea with Melli of the Mindfulness Summit and learning what it is to be in the present moment, accepting what is.
It was a hard lesson and difficult knitting. No double I will forget and unravel again. But then that is how life is, isn’t it? Ups and downs. Flux and flow. All of life’s surprises, big and small. Have no worry for me. I am a muse and as muses go, sometimes I tend to be melancholy in my words. But I am ever a hopeful muse. As I end may I say a prayer for us.
May you find peace. May you find joy. May you find strength to carry you. May you find the gift in surprises that bring tears or joy. And may God be with you always.