Archive for the ‘abundance’ Category

Thoughts from some meditative knitting…

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

In between the work I have to do today, I have been knitting a few stitches here and there on a scarf that I have knit a time or eight before, the Traveling Woman, by Liz Abinante. I don’t know what it is about this pattern, but there is something very soothing about knitting it that turns me toward total relaxation. My brain engages, but it isn’t terribly complex. There is a palpable rhythm to it that is pleasing and brings calm. As I said, I have knit it eight times before.

The one I am currently knitting is from some of my early handspun. I had been spinning a few months when I went to  a week-long retreat with Judith MacKenzie (Judith’s bio from one of her teaching gigs). It was at this retreat that I was first exposed to drum carding as a means of blending fibers to spin more unique yarns. I carded up several small batches from the fibers available to us, and got to spinning. I was pleased to be learning new things and delighted with the yarn I had made.

now that I am knitting with it, more than a year later, let me say, this particular yarn is crap. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine blend of lovely merino and mohair and some silk and who knows what other luxurious fibers. but my spinning is total crap. It could be equally true that my first attempts at carding were crap. Yet I continue to knit with it because I can feel myself learning something. Whether I am learning about the feel of fiber too tightly spun or plied, or the optical blending of color and how that is successful or not for various reasons, or that it is sometimes not possible to count past five, I can’t say. but I am learning something, that much is clear.

Whether I am learning something about my spinning or my knitting, I can’t quite grasp. But it is very likely something about both of these, and how they can and do work together. As I knit, the pattern is totally familiar in a muscle memory sort of fashion. just another layer of soothing going on during the process. The thought that continually comes to the forefront of my brain is that it is time to again read The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice, by Susan Gordon Lydon. It’s a book that will have something new to tell me each time I read it.

SS week 2001 loresAlso going on around these parts, is some sketching. I am taking an online class called Sketchbook Skool. Totally worth the time and dollars. I can’t speak highly enough about it and I feel that there is something there for everyone.  I learned about it because I follow Danny Gregory’s blog  (linked right) and decided to jump in. the next semester begins in July and there is room enough for everyone, so c’mon…let’s do this! This spread was done a few weeks ago at Barnaby’s. The first semester group has well over 1000 people enrolled and there is a range of abilities from beginner to expert. There is a classroom and fb group to post work in and discuss (or not, no pressure), and plenty of people beyond the instructors to learn from. The art that is being made in sketchbooks globally is something pretty amazing to be a part of via this class.

Okay, enough jabbering on. I feel like there is more to say, but I also feel the grasp I have on exactly what is slipping away. More soon…

 

I will always hold faith to balance your doubt.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I have recently found myself, and on more than one occasion, counseling friends on the wisdom of being still, of doing nothing in an effort to be doing the right thing. I love having these conversations online and physically seeing some of the words that come out of my mouth. It gives me an opportunity to further ponder the discussions and offer a sort of hindsight; if not to the person I was speaking with, then to myself.

Quite often I read what I have said in the moment and find it very surreal. How is it I knew what to say? For the most part, I work at being a good listener. This is crucial to lightening the load of a friend. How easy it is to just be still and listen and what a treat when it’s a gift I receive. I find this is an important skill for my own path in many ways as it opens my world view to experiences I might otherwise miss. It also adds a layer of perception to experiences I might have previously had and maybe might unknowingly still be healing.

One common thread I have seen recently is the idea that life’s lessons abound and are constantly presenting themselves all around us. The key is being ready to recognize a lesson when it is directly in our path. Sometimes, all that is required for this is being still, *not* multitasking every (or any) minute of every day. How many people do you know who manage this ever? I’d have to answer not many. It’s sad, really, to think of everything being missed simply because everyone thinks they have no time.

We have plenty of time. We simply need to make different choices. Slow down and be ready for life!

Another common thread I have repeatedly seen revolves around living with intention. I imagine this means different things to different people, but for me, whether at the end of the day or the end of my life, I want to know that I lived my life with honorable intention and that I did my absolute best to mirror this desire with my actions. This isn’t always easy, and I certainly have messed up my share along the way. Part of maintaining integrity surrounding intention is owning the miss-steps.

If I can manage to live with an open heart and try to always act with intention, I know that I am using my power for good. It’s a nice sense of accomplishment during my journey. When acting consciously toward the greater good, integrity and concerns toward maintaining it sort of take care of themselves. All sorts of beauty fall into place as a result. When actions are for good, and not for self, self is magically taken care of and it becomes effortless.

Slow down. Open your heart. Welcome the lessons.

Abundance

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

I have been sitting in the mornings knitting, as meditation. It has had such a soothing effect on me, and the time with my self and my knitting during the early morning pre-dawn hours, when the house is otherwise still sleeping, has been a cherished gift. It is leaving me feeling very full. I am pretty sure it all started on Thanksgiving morning.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we took a day trip to Gruene(pronounced green), Texas. It is a quaint little village we discovered on the September 2006 Texas Watering Hole Tour and it’s between Austin and San Antonio. The day before we were to go to Gruene, I discovered via Google that it was the weekend of Market Days where they have vendors hawking all sorts of hand crafted wares. What a nice bonus this would be. We had decided on a bright and early start, and I think we were out of the house before seven. The forecast was less than promising, but we seem to be a little charmed when it comes to any sort of traveling and the weather, a fact I attribute to honoring Rita (eb’s mom) by wearing her divine opal ring as a symbol of my love and devotion to her daughter. I wasn’t too concerned by the overcast skies as we drove west in the early morning.

We hadn’t really given much thought to Market Days, and where they actually are in Gruene because it is a small enough town that it seemed it would be obvious. Right away, we found the town parking area near the center square, and got a decent spot right off. It was warm enough and as yet, still dry, so we went on our way following other people who had just parked near us, having faith that they were Market Day veterans. We weren’t disappointed.

My first order of business was finding the bathrooms. I didn’t yet have to go, but I feel a compelling need to know where bathrooms are these days. The first vendor we came across had glass beads and buttons she makes herself and since she was between customers I asked and was directed down the aisle, through the alleyway between those businesses, past the parking to a charming line of porta-potties. Since it sounded a bit far, I decided to go right then. I’m glad I did, too, because it was still fairly early and the facilities were pleasantly clean.

Business taken care of, we set off around Market Days to assess the shopping possibilities. We were able to get a few gifts for the upcoming holidays as well as a few things for ourselves. There was a man selling jalapeno relish and salsa among other sauces. He had made shrimp shooters with the salsa and a piece of avocado and a shrmp which were delicious, and he mixed some of the jalapeno relish with cream cheese to make a dip. I very cautiously tried the dip because I am somewhat wussy about anything jalapeno. It was tingly spicy, but not too hot for me, so we got some. We should have gotten more because damn, that dip is good.

There were several vendors with handmade glass beads and jewelry and eb found a pair of earrings she liked, so we got them. Once we made it back to the direction giving bead lady I took a look at her wares and she had the prettiest glass buttons. I bought two for future knit projects. We bought some soaps and we picked up a flyer from a man who makes Adirondack chairs. He had one design that is a double with a small table between which is also a glider. I think we need one of those for the back deck.

After our shopping spree, we went in search of something for lunch. We looked at the map to see where we were in relation to the Gristmill, the restaurant we had eaten in on our first visit to Gruene. We looked at the other listings and there was a place we wanted to try which seemed nearby. We walked in the general direction indicated by the map for Janie’s something or other, and we never found it. As we turned around to head back toward parking, We saw the Gruene River Grill and decided to go there because by this time, we were pretty hungry. I had the pulled pork tacos which were plain and simple, and just about perfect.

After lunch we walked through town on our way back to the car and stopped at Oma Gruene’s Christmas Shop. While there we bought a few Jim Shore ornaments for gifts, and a large Jim Shore snowman for us which we will likely leave out year round. I also got a Jim Shore Santa that is also a music box for my boss, not knowing she collects Jim Shore. She loved it.

After the Christmas shop, we headed in to Austin. We couldn’t go that close to Austin and not stop in at BookWoman to drop a little support. I had also read about a cupcake stand that I wanted to stop at. Hey Cupcake! is a converted Airstream trailer that is roadside and has window service. I had a red velvet cupcake which was a nice afternoon snack and very delicious, and eb chose something chocolate on chocolate. As it happened (wink wink) Hill Country Weavers was right across the street from the cupcake stand, as is some chic boutiqueish sort of shopping. From the cupcake stand, I headed across one street while eb headed across the other.Hill Country Weavers is an awesome yarn store. It is an old house and it is packed full with tempting niceties. I browsed around a bit and decided on some chunky thick and thin yarn for a scarf in beautiful watermelon pinks and greens. I also bought the Kushu Kushu scarf kit from Habu textiles. I knit up the chunky watermelon scarf during the week after our return from Gruene and Austin. The Kushu Kushu brings us back to Thanksgiving.On Thanksgiving morning, the start of a long weekend when there was to be no early rising for work, what time was I up? Right about 5:00 a.m. I have long since decided that there is no arguing with my body. If it is time to sleep I sleep, if it is time to be up I am up. This is haw I came to be casting on the Kushu at 5:20 Thanksgiving morning.

The dogs went out to do their business and Sawyer and Nola were snuggled into bed with eb. Lilli Munster and I were snuggled in on the chaise in the library which is my chair of choice for knitting or reading or just plain snuggling in. I had opened the Kushu kit and was trying to not give in to intimidation. Kushu is started on a size 8 needles which is moderately large as knitting needles go, almost standard pencil size. The needle size is extremely large given that the ultra fine merino and sink stainless steel “yarn” used for Kushu is more like sewing thread. I’m not in the least exaggerating.

As it turns out, Kushu is a very meditative and soothing knit. I can’t work on it any time other than the early morning silence. I can’t take it to knit night. I can’t cart it around to work on when spare time presents itself. It is a dedicated knit and early morning silence is its time slot. I fast learned that six is often the magic number of rows which will be done.

I started with six rows because for the first sixty rows, there are decreases ever y six rows and I felt I needed to have structure surrounding how and when the knitting could be put down to facilitate keeping track of where I was. I soon enough learned that I could some days do more rows, but by row six I always had a definite sense of either six being enough or more being possible. It was rather like my body deciding it is time to rise or sleep. Once committed to more, it became multiples of 2 rows that created pause for the decision to proceed or not. Twenty rows is the most to date in one sitting. It is very intense knitting with my glasses perched atop my head and the needles about six inches from my face for perfect focus and attention to detail. Then the inward journey begins.

This is how I arrived today at abundance. A month later and Kushu isn’t finished. I am not full of Kushu. The process of knitting Kushu with its meditative quality has been a journey of sorts. Moreso than any holiday season I can remember at the moment, I am feeling a sense of overwhelming abundance. I recognize it as part of a bigger journey, but I can also see the connection to knitting this simple scarf very clearly.

We have also begun somewhat intentionally, somewhat by accident, a journey toward less. Less stuff. Less waste. Less mindlessness. We are consciously trying to be more aware of our environment and the footprint we leave.

There will still be awesome gift giving and receiving, and I still have a want list, but it is more necessity and consumable driven. Would I absolutely faint for the diamond cigar band ring from the jewelry store circular? Certainly. But the difference is I have no expectation or desire for such extravagance. It’s been totally reeled in. My wants these days revolve around books and music and maybe some yarn. I think these things as they present themselves in my path, will always be met with a heartfelt smile.

I have my health and a few cherished friends. I have a roof overhead that is my home ( I wish that could be enormous swirly script) and a decent income that generously supports a lifestyle to which I am accustomed. Most importantly, I share an impassioned existence with a woman I love and am totally devoted to. She lets me love her unconditionally, and she lets me revel in it in return. Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Abundance is mine.