Tag Archives: meditation

On knitting


BritGirlCatBoyDogknitI’m a terrible knitter. I’m dead slow. I regularly drop stitches  – in fact, so regularly, one could argue they could be part of the pattern, if they weren’t so varied in size.

I lose track of patterns, I forget where I am. I once knitted a hat that was shaped like a Mobius Strip and thus could never ever be worn. Or taken off the needles.

And god help me, with tremendous hubris, I made some poor soul an afghan for her wedding present – one with great holes and a distinct non-rectangularishness. Frightening. Warm, and it took me weeks and weeks to make, but…no.

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my cat never plays with my yarn, so I can’t blame him for tangles…

If I were more patient, I’d learn how to fix dropped stitches, but I always lose the threads when I pull out a few to get at the missed one and so I end up pulling out the whole project and rolling it into a ball. One ball of yarn spent several months in the back of my closet, being punished for not behaving. I think there are a few half knit projects in there, too, all thinking about their respective badnesses.

So, I’ve got to ask myself, why in tarnation do I persist? How many simple scarves does one person need?

Well, there’s a few reasons I still tie bits of yarn in knots, and I think there’s something to be learned from them, so I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Knitting is like meditation. The repetitive actions soothe the mind, allow it to play elsewhere. You are DOING something, ergo you are not wasting time, but you are also thinking, putting your subconscious chicks in a row.
  2. It keeps me humble. Everyone CAN knit. Not everyone can knit well. (and let’s not even mention….gasp…crochet!). Every time I start a project I am reminded of how little I know compared to so many others, about how much I have to learn.
  3. It’s a survival craft. Like baking bread or tying knots or sewing, it is one of thodress06se things that I (or rather, you) can do from first principles, from spinning the raw wool to making clothing. Come the armageddon, I shall at least be able to drape myself in large squares of knitted grasses. I find this vaguely comforting, tho god knows why.
  4. It’s a sensory delight. From the cheapest acrylic to the most dainty cashmere, wools and cottons and silks and bamboos slip through my fingers, providing sensory stimulation and the inevitable need to squeeze. My knitting pals pass skeins of yarn around our communal table and we ALL SQUEEZE EVERY SKEIN. It’s always  topic of comment, from the gritty linens to the softest baby yarn. And the colours!! Such fun to play with and imagine.
  5. And that brings up the best reason to keep knitting – my knitting pals. Knitting is a terrifically democratic hobby –  you can be a yarn snob (as I confess I am – I take so long to knit things I resent spending days on a cheap yarn) or a bargain hunter. You can insist on wool, or wander into the trendy yarns. You can be bad at it, as I am, or stupendous at it, like many of my pals, and you are welcome. No one is turned away. You knit and talk and knit little relationship groups together, form friends, link to new friends, develop a community just as you knit together your scarves or sweaters or socks. It’s amazing to watch and I treasure my knitting friends, who tolerate my descent into needle felting. (You can stab things and there’s no stitches to drop!

As with most important things, it’s the people that make the hobby. And the hobby that makes the friendships. Stories are shared over knitting that wouldn’t otherwise make it to air. I am so grateful for the friendships this seemingly simple task has brought into my life.

As for the rest of you, you non-knitting types, what’s stopping you? It keeps fingers nimble, it’s good for men, women and children. Come, join in. You’ll be welcome.

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Relax, and feel the cosmos breathing you…


291944_231992753521741_230435437010806_543226_885758423_nAndrew Weil, MD, is a fellow who simply brims with good health and joy and gosh, even his beard seems almost rudely alive. He’s a medical doctor with all sorts of additional training in naturopathy and yoga and non-western medical practices. I’ve read a few of his books in my time and he also seems to have a healthy dose of common sense and humour about himself.
This morning I spent with Dr. Weil and his book Breathing from Audible.com. The second chapter is full of breathing exercises and relaxation breathing, the first chapter tells you why they are so important.
I woke up this morning feeling sore in all my bones, aching with MS and filled with a cold from the pool where I swim. I’m packing to move, and I am grieving for a friend who is having a terrible time. So I was cheery to the max, let me tell you. Sometimes it is fortunate I sleep alone.
So I turned on Andrew, and breathed.
And was healed.
The breathing techniques alone were worth the expense of the book and the time. Hearing Andrew breathe along beside me and envisioning his outrageously healthy self doing these exercises was also wonderful. The techniques were useful and I’ve parked one involving timed breathing for the next time I feel an urge to eat tons of chocolate or send a hateful email or beep my horn.
But the bit that left me weeping was an exercise in pretending you we’re not breathing yourself, that the universe was inflating you down to your toes and then gently sucking the air out of you, only to inflate you again.
Andrew says, “feel the cosmos breathe you.”
Okay, I have to admit that sounds pretty new age flaky stuff, but to tell you the truth, it was a wonderful release, so much so I found myself weeping tears of joy and opening my mouth wide to take in the blessing.
We believe we are in charge of so much, we try to control so much. I can’t even enjoy swimming anymore because I am always wanting to make sure everyone has a lane to swim in! It’s insane.
The thought of letting the cosmos take me, rest on my lips like a lover, and breathe for me, was impossible to describe.
And left me with a profound, encompassing sense of gratitude. About everything.
Thank you, Dr. Weil, and your health and common sense and good cheer and open-minded ness that also is capable of critical thought (at one point, he takes time to explain why we are to rest the tips of our tongues on the roof of our mouth while breathing, talking about various energy circles, only to say, “I have no idea how this is applicable to what we know about human physiology, but since these guys have been doing it for years and found a benefit to it, why not bow to their greater wisdom. Can’t hurt…”(paraphrasing))
(I always taught this in prenatal class as a way to ensure your mouths didn’t get dry when doing breathing exercises…)
The book- highly recommended. Get it on audio and listen to Andrew breathe. You’ll be better for it.

Or go to his website and check out the exercises he recommends. For free.