Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Leaving a Void

I'm a busy person. I don't mean necessarily that I have a lot to do, but rather that I do a lot. I fill voids.

I work full time. This takes me away from my true calling - yarn - about 50 hours a week. My household is simple, just my husband and I, two dogs and four chickens. Not a large home, not a lot of laundry, little need for complex gourmet meals... simple, and yet, I stuff my life full. You rarely catch me simply sitting quietly, breathing. Nope. If I have time to sit, I have time to work on a pattern, knit, film, practice yoga, dye yarn, write, cook, read, check email/form responses/forum posts/weather... whatever. And sometimes, two or more of these activities as once. This past weekend I edited my podcast while dyeing yarn and knitting a shawl, simultaneously.

While I find comfort in "busy" because I'm "achieving" or "completing" or "fulfilling," it's not healthy. I recognize this. The billboards are all there. Headaches, body aches, sleeplessness, forgetfulness, belief I finished things I only thought about doing...etc.

But filling voids does just apply to my daily and work routines. It applies to my art as well. I struggle to leave negative space or simplicity whether in my knitting patterns or yarns. If there's a field of stockinette, surely there is room for a cable, stripe or bit of lace.  And yarn? Well, if white is showing, I must not be done.

Are you nodding? Does this sound like you? You aren't alone.

I know voids are healthy and necessary. Yup. I have even put mechanisms in place to build in voids. I started to practice yoga again, but often there's an excuse not to do it. And I'm plotting yarns with more "voids" but I'm struggling and feel like embracing voids should be easier than this. It should be natural. Like breathing. A habit even.

So I'm going to make a "mini-habit" of it. My BREATHING habit.

Making a new habit, even a mini one, isn't easy either. It take commitment and practice. Implementation is incidental if not for repetition. I need a trigger; something that forces me to stop and take time for myself. But what?

I recently stumbled on "Modern Mindfulness - How to Be More Relaxed, Focused, and Kind While Living in a Fast, Digital, Always-On World" by Rohan Gunatillake. To be honest, I haven't read it all. I haven't given it the time it deserves, but the premise hits home and one of the meditations the book suggests to help make you be present and in the moment is Stop Signs.

Brilliant! I commute. I run into MANY stop signs each day. This I can do. I'm going to actively take that marathon red light at the corner and turn that into "me time." I'm going to turn inside, breathe, and simply observe while under that mandatory 70 second stop (yes, really I counted, feels like an hour!) I'm going to pay attention to the feeling of my breathe, the weather, the color of the vehicles around me, while releasing judgement and negative thoughts.

And then, I'm going to go home and dye every inch of that yarn in every color I can think of, because self improvement is a continual work in progress ;)