Our week 3 reading assignment is:
Week 3: 16th-22nd May
- Letting Go, Releasing, Relaxing, pp. 32-52
For those on kindle, that’s from the chapter heading “Letting Go, Releasing, Relaxing” to the box entitled “Yarn for Thought: Musings on Letting Go, Releasing and Relaxing.” The last line says “What are your rituals for letting go?”
This week we bring into focus all the ways in which we are really too hard on ourselves. We particularly consider all of our “shoulds”, and the beliefs we have about ourselves and our creative work that drive those terribly unyielding “shoulds”. Importantly, we have the opportunity to start, or reinforce, the process of letting all of that go. This chapter does exactly what it says on the tin.
Have a great week!
All the information about the read along, including how to join, can be found on the project page.
Personal check-in, week 2.
- Morning pages: 5/7
- Artist’s Date: 0/1
- Exercises: 4/8
Cards on the table: I have had a rough week. The hardest week I’ve had for some time, actually. I have had long, exhausting days. I have had incredibly stressful wonder-what-the-future-holds days, I have had days of battling my fatigue problems and all the associated symptoms, I have had amazing birthday celebrations with my children, I have had deep conversations with friends and family, I have had a wonderful day with my training colleagues and I have had a day where I felt so overwhelmed by the expectation of their concern for me that I couldn’t bare to be in the room with them. What can I say; it’s been quite a roller-coaster.
So, amongst all that, how did the mindfulness crochet go? Well, not great in all honesty. In my state of raised anxiety I neglected to protect that time to really heal myself. It’s a daft choice. It’s a trap I have fallen into before and will fall into again, just like everyone else. What matters to me at the moment is not to never make these mistakes. It is to not allow them to pass unnoticed. Not in order to beat myself up, but to use as a stepping-stone to improve.
Having such a bad week, especially so early in the process, has served to reaffirm my committment. If life is coming into a difficult phase for me, then I need to take more, not less, care of myself. So that committment I wrote last week, here it is again. And this time I am going to read and take in every single word, every breath of it:
I commit to the work of nurturing, expanding and celebrating my creativity.
I commit to protecting my own precious time and space to pursue my creativity.
I commit to being gentle and forgiving with myself and helping myself to heal.
I commit to exploring the idea of artistry with an open mind.
I commit to investing my time, energy and attention in myself, such that I may become stronger, more balanced, and a better conduit for the creative process.
I commit to making myself better, not only for me, but also in service to those with whom I share my life.
Having said that, the Mindfulness Crochet chapter did have a big impact on me. Although I did not use structured time to work on Hook to Heal, I did do an awful lot of crochet and knitting to help myself feel better. And it was a different experience. I noticed so much more. I noticed the feel of the work, the delicate, skillful movements of my hands, the way the plies in my yarn untwisted and retwisted as every stitch was made. And the colours! Oh! I was working at the beginning of the week with the perfect yarn, full of unexpected, exquisite pops of colour.
Look closely. Can you see them? Flashes of purple, pink, magenta, lime, tangerine. Bliss
It wasn’t until the beginning of this week that I sat down to work through some exercises. I still feel very resistant to all this work. The stress I’m feeling currently drives me to work quickly, and at a superficial level. To overcome that and reap the benefits of deep, slow attention I have to not be put off by the fact that when I start this mindful process, it is actually the last thing I want to do. The feeling doesn’t last long at all. It is a minor barrier to starting, but having started I then want to continue.
I was pleasantly surprised by how long my chain was when I attempted the first exercise: Basic Practice. I made it into the 20s before my mind wandered. I suspect I will repeat this exercise often.
The increased breathing triangles (exercise 5) were so much smaller than I expected!
I’ll keep going with this exercise and see if they get any bigger! I fancy collecting them all to make a mindfulness mobile.
I have chosen my mindfulness cues (exercise 7), and although I didn’t get around to mantra crochet (exercise 3), I have the perfect project waiting for this exercise.
These exercises are definitely tools I will be using again and again. They are not tasks to be ticked off and then forgotten about. They have a lot to give. And I have more to learn from them. Above all, what I got from week 2 was a reaffirmation of my committment to this project and to myself.