Last weekend, I almost lost my sanity.
I took my daughter’s Girl Scout troop camping (well, it was glamping, really. Don’t tell. They still got to play outside a lot.)
For an introvert, leading a group of hyper 10-year-old girls for an entire weekend is . . . a bit trying. To counter that, I make sure there are some moments of downtime on these trips (I’m not a masochist.)
And on this trip the downtime was particularly special: we were on the bay, with a breeze, cool, comfortable weather . . .
But I was beside myself. I couldn’t relax. I forgot my knitting, y’all!
I hadn’t realized until then that knitting is my meditation. All I wanted in that moment was to busy my hands so I could calm my mind. I wanted to feel the softness of the yarn, the familiarity of the motions, the steady progress of the rows stacking on one another . . .
Instead, I got on my phone and looked at Ravelry. Then one of my girls complained that I shouldn’t be on my phone while we were camping (“no fair!”) so I pretended to be deaf.
Knitting is soothing to me. My muscles relax, my mind unwinds. Somehow, the business of making stitches releases the tension inside me, physically and mentally.
I’m not alone. Bernadette Murphy wrote a whole (wonderful!) book on the spiritual benefits of knitting. One woman said that knitting helps her “get into the quiet.”
THAT is what I needed last weekend. Here I was, in a beautiful setting, in a moment of luxurious silence . . . and I had a hard time getting into the quiet, because I lacked my most faithful tool to help me get there. It’s like Dumbo’s feather.
“Throughout the various stages of my life, knitting has been a tool for keeping difficulties in perspective, for centering my scattered mind, and for maintaining a degree of sanity during chaotic times.” -Bernadette Murphy, Zen & the Art of Knitting
Having recognized this, I am making an effort to include more knitting in the late afternoon, when I tend to feel the most rushed. Gandhi once said: “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” Meaning, I should prioritize taking the time to soothe my body and mind and soul MOST when life is at its most hectic.
The scene at 3:oo pm: Kids will be home from school in an hour, and I’m trying to get just one more thing done. I’m frantic. I, yet again, could not get through all the things I needed to do today, and I just realized that I forgot to do the ironing again. (Again!?) Then, at the height of my mental onslaught from myself, I pick the kids up at the stop, and the onslaught from them begins–they’re tired, they’re hungry, so-and-so said some mean thing and they’ll never have a friend again… and then I have to convince them that homework won’t do itself and dinner won’t cook itself, and yes, you need a shower and even though you say you don’t want to take one, I know you really must like them because you always take an hour and could you please use the shower clock I bought you tonight so you aren’t up late AGAIN?
If I can just take a few minutes to soothe myself between my daytime to-do list and the evening witching hour(s,) I’m just a better person.
I know this, but I still have a hard time convincing myself that time for myself is a necessity, not a luxury.
I need to be more like Gandhi. (Well, of course, we all should.) Someone, please, tell me, how to put on the brakes so I can make more time for peace. Even if it feels oh so luxurious.