Friday, January 9, 2015

A Magic Wand Solution

The best of intentions will not necessarily get you where you want to go. My plan for this week was three days in the studio and that's no longer possible unless I borrow Sunday from next week. I spent most of yesterday somewhere else doing something else. Avoiding the studio seems to be becoming an issue and yet... why? Some of the reasons are obvious and some are definitely subliminal.

What I did do was knit. And make a mistake at the start of a very long row of over 400 stitches... twice... which meant picking back stitch-by-stitch... twice. And when I finally finished the row correctly, I had eight extra stitches from an earlier mistake where I'd multiplied by the wrong factor. It wasn't insurmountable. I promptly eliminated those eight stitches on the next round and wrote that down for my "pattern" - to start with 521 and not 529. No one would know looking at the poncho. I know. Even though I fixed it, those extra stitches will always be there.

One of the things I love about meeting new people is that everyone has a story - the big and small details that make up the ingredients of their life. The surface is packaging. Substance is something else entirely. We all have "mistakes" in our past that no one would know from looking at us... but we know... and we've learned from them and - hopefully - recovered from them and yet they are always there. Fixing doesn't necessarily make it all go away. It's just well hidden.

The spiritual study I'm working through right now is Wide Awake by Erwin Raphael McManus. I'm really enjoying this author. He has a way of saying things that makes me go oh... right... hmm... that's so obvious... why didn't I think of that? Take for instance this quote from yesterday's section:

... if God wills, it will happen. I find this to be one of the most limiting frameworks for many people who believe in Jesus - they believe when something bad happens to them, they couldn't avoid it because it was God's will.

I've certainly been guilty of sitting back and waiting for God to wave a magic wand and make "it" go away or make "it" happen. Think about it this way. What if God's will for me is to be fit and trim and dressed in a flirty red dress and I'm couch surfing in frumpy sweats while stuffing potato chips down my throat? I don't know about you but I have never found myself suddenly shot upright, dressed in a completely different outfit, with a new and better body.

It struck me anew how much responsibility I have in my own life... which sounds like an oxymoron... since who is more responsible for my OWN life than me... but it's true... sometimes I'm wishing for things that are entirely within my capacity to aim for yet I want a magic wand solution. McManus goes on to write:

Every day, whether you recognize it or not, you are affecting the future. Every choice you make has momentum long past the action. Good choices create a better world and a better future.

And bad choices also impact. That's easy to see when I think back to what I wish I'd known sooner. While those "knitting mistakes" can't be changed and can be recovered from, the impact is always there hidden in the next rounds.

One of the less than subconscious reasons I haven't been working in the studio is that I alternate between ignoring what's going on in my life and wondering about what I am going to do next. It's not the "why me" question, that seems rather pointless since why not me. This is life. What I'm wondering about is what choices should I be making now... if any? How hard should I be pushing myself... if at all? What direction should I be pushing in? Is there prep work that could and should be done for what's coming next? Questions like these are more easily processed while knitting than sewing.

If our reality is that it's unlikely Howard and I are going to retire together, then it's likely that my reality involves spending a lot of time alone. I'll need to do something with that time which has me wondering what do I want and what - if anything - should I be doing now to prepare for that time even though I have no idea if we're talking ten minutes or ten years? That's an interesting balancing act. Living in the now while preparing the future. It's not an unfamiliar question; it's just suddenly different than anticipated. McManus also wrote:

You may ignore it but you were created with a creative capacity. Your life affects reality. Your life today changes the course and quality of life in the future. You are responsible for your actions and the consequences of your actions. To be entrusted with creative potential is to bear great responsibility.

Virtually every occupation and attraction in my life relates in some way to creativity so one thing I know for sure is that whatever it is that I will be doing will involve creativity. There will always be a desire to grow and develop and to learn and perfect new skills. There will always be a desire to write about and teach and share those skills. I know this as for sure as one can know anything because although I've been "semi-retired" for several years this desire remains consistent making it a direction I can aim in with a high degree of confidence and one that requires - allows - me to continue to prep by being my best creative me.

I love that the coaching sessions with Diane are clarifying what I want. The assignments and the accountability are fabulous ways of helping me move forward. Along with knitting yesterday, I did some work on the asymmetrical assignment going through my image files to see how many were of asymmetrical garments. It surprised me that there were not nearly as many as I'd have thought. Asymmetrical is going to be a fun direction to move in. It's about balance. There has to be enough of something on one side of the garment to balance the more major something that's happening on the other. Quite often that something is a place for the eye to rest. Garments... life... learning... choices... what do I want... resting places? It's all a balancing act. Life is such a mystery and such a gift.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - open spaces

History doesn't happen to us, it happens through us.
- Erwin Raphael McManus


  1. For me, the knitting and the sewing are the balance - sewing is faster, and involves your entire self, but the knitting is slower and allows more time for examination. You are definitely in a period of struggle and growth. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Thanks for being willing to share it. I definitely don't want to be a wet blanket but there are some things to think through and - sort of - settle and then I can move forward. Knitting seems more conducive to that even though I really want to sew.

    2. I have been finding this week that allotting time for both in my day has been working really well. An hour or two in the sewing room in the morning (when my brain works well) and the afternoon for the knitting with the broken toe in the air (long story).

  2. "'s likely that my reality involves spending a lot of time alone. " Myrna, with your gift for friendship - making new ones and keeping the old - you will never be alone. Howard may well not be there with you, but rest assured we friends will be there. i know it's not the same, and does not address many practical questions. But friendships are so precious, especially during hard times they make all the difference.

    Your talent will serve you well. :) steph

    1. I'm one of those people who likes to think through the "worst case scenario" and make some decisions that give me an element of calm and then move forward with what's actually in front of me. Decisions for a "me" future differ significantly from decisions for a "we" future. I need to have an idea of what that might look like and then set it aside and enjoy the "we" present because you just never know. The whole hit by a bus crossing the road thing could happen to any of us at any time. Friends are definitely precious and supportive and so valuable at all times and friends can't live your reality for you. It's good to acknowledge that and take responsibility for what I need to take responsibility for... in the present... and in the future. For all of us.

  3. Do you have too many chattering monkeys in your head, bothering you and adding to your stress? I cannot imagine the pressures and anxieties that you are facing, so powerful that they are pulling you away from the studio. If the monkeys are bothering you, making too much fuss for you to think and plot creatively, maybe what you need first is to tackle the stresses? Not that you can do anything about their causes but maybe "worst case scenario" thinking ahead is distracting you from the present?

    It all sounds so burdensome. . . if you can identify any self-imposed burdens, and then lay them down, your studio might invite you.

    1. It's more a matter of coming to an answer and then putting it aside to be in the present - hopefully neither a chattering monkey nor an elephant in the corner of the room. Now that they've given a "final" diagnosis, the story should stop changing . That alone will be really helpful plus a little kick butt..

    2. You are on track! No chattering monkeys for you! All the best!

  4. I process things the same way. For about 2 years before my oldest child was to move out of the house and far from home, I worked on a crocheted quilt for her. Hours and hours and hours of crocheting and thinking. By the time it was done she was ready to go and I was ready to let her go. Lots of painful but necessary processing going on during this apparently tranquil task. Blessings to you as you try to come to terms with the reality of your lives.

    1. Thanks for understanding. Everyone processes differently and what bothers one person greatly, may not bother another at all. I find that fascinating. And I love how we can support each other with our experiences. So valuable. It feels like the ground hasn't stopped shifting for the last last seven years with one thing after another. Just about the time I think I've found my feet, something else happens. Working with Diane to figure out what I want is a good way of stabilizing I think - of finding something consistent.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.