Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finding our own way

My mom is teaching me to knit and I am struggling. She finds it amusing as she says I do all of these other creative things, I should be able to pick knitting right up.

I think I’ve been making it harder than it really is, visualizing an extra step where none exists and not finding comfortable fingering on the needles. I am also having trouble checking my perfectist tendencies as I learn –
learn being the operative word – at the door. Every time I missed a stitch, I'd untangle the work and restart with new yarn on different-sized needles. I finally went to thin yarn and small needles to magnify my mistakes; that’s when I began to see what I had been doing wrong.

Sounds like a metaphor, doesn’t it? Certainly seems like one for my life.

I make my own patterns to sew, draw and paint in my own way , often create one-of--a-kind things, never cook the same way twice, birthed children later than most, and am still trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up. I really do find my own way.

Even spiritually. I have turned from places and people that tell me what to think, do or be. I’ve always had to figure it out for myself and truly, deeply
know whatever it is I am conquering. I suppose that’s why Quakerism resonated with me. Someone once said being Quaker requires a lot of hard work, which doesn’t appeal to everyone. It does not prescribe what to believe, but to wait in silence for that still, small voice ... the voice of God. Often I wait and I wait. Rarely, by grace, I don’t wait at all.

In high school, the best teacher I ever had, my art teacher, saw me struggling to use watercolor. I was sitting by a kid who could mimic any military craft ever designed in minute detail on paper. The teacher knew I was figuring out my style (which would be large and loose) and gently wrapped up the paper and brushes and sent me home to play alone, finding my own way. That was such a gift and one I return to again and again.

• When I am struggling is it because I try to do things in a manner not my own?
• How do I learn and grow in my life, spiritually?
• Do I ever sabotage those efforts?
• How and why?
• Can I learn to live in my own skin, in my own way?
• How does it feel to be authentic?

I couldn’t get it,
kept looking at
my neighbor
why envy,
doubting myself,
chastising my gifts

And then you
approached so gently
and with such care,
then sent me on my
way, on my own

to figure it out
from somewhere
deep within

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