Limiting Input

I have whisperings…little thoughts that return, quietly, gently. I am making an effort to listen to a few of them. Here’s one: What would I make, or want to make, if I limited how much I am seeing in the way of what other’s make?

I love Instagram. Well, perhaps I should say that I love seeing all the amazing incredible wonderful inspiring things that humans make in this world. I I am constantly inspired by the designs others are knitting and crocheting, the weavings they create, the paintings, the stitching…on and on and my poor little head is so full of things I want to try, that I don’t know which to begin next. And so I wonder…

What if I limited that input, or did away with it altogether? What would I, Jennifer, make? What would I paint? What would I stitch, knit, weave, etc? To be certain, I create what is original to myself and what bubbles up in my own maker mind. But it is definitely influenced by the wonders I have access to online. And it begs the question.

I am trying to listen more. Right there I seem to have contradicted the title of today’s thoughts. How can I listen more if I am limiting input? It is a rich and wonderful truth that we listen more deeply when we get quiet, set ourselves apart from the fray, find still places to sit and listen where external input is minimal. I am making time for this deep listening each day and even for extended periods. It is delicious. I’m finding help and solace in so many areas of my life. As a creative person, here’s something I’m discovering as I listen:

I myself, have within the creative coffers of my heart, a wealth of ideas, skills, abilities, and inspiration. Right here. Inside of me. (And may I say here…so do YOU, dear reader!) So this little gentle question is asking, “From that wealth, what do you want to make? Setting aside all the fantastic ideas and skills and beautiful things you see online, what do you, Jennifer, want to make today?”

So I am sitting with that question these days. Listening more fully to that sweet gentle whispering and wanting to take some action, little by little. It will be a process. I want to share that process here. And I am committed to these posts being short.  I have already surpassed the length I want to allot myself each day. And since I love sitting with questions, I’ll leave it at that. And let the rest unfold, gently, little by little each day.

Thank you for being here.

Jennifer

WAIT!!

RoomtoGrow

It’s that moment just before it all happens. That moment much like when the Millennium Falcon prepares to bolt into warp speed. It’s that space where the lines are all squiggly just before they pixelate into a zillion dots and we are propelled into something new, something different.

It is Christmas Eve and most, if not all, is ready. So much planning, preparing, buying, making, wrapping, decorating, baking, partying, festiving, musicing, working, movie-watching, event-attending…it’s enough to make even the most stout-hearted a bit dizzy. I always land on the other side of it all wondering what just happened, looking around at what seems like new terrain, indeed a New Year ahead of me.

SpacetoDream

Before this all goes down, everything in me wants to holler “WAIT!” I want time to take a deep breath and look around, taking stock of all that is around me. I might be bringing all this with me. Then again, I might not.

I’d like to create a space, even if it is only for five minutes or ten, where I linger at the manger. I imagine it would be quiet here, with the exception of some animals snuffling and occasional bleating. Others are here too, talking in hushed tones because of the sleeping babe, the wonder at hand, the beauty under foot. We have all come here from our various work and worlds. Everyone is welcome here…from shepherds to kings, and everyone in-between.

Macy'sGift

As for me, I’ve put down my paintbrush and knitting needles. Just so I can have a long peek, a full-attention gaze at the marvel of why all this craziness has been happening anyway. On the other side of warp speed I know I’ll pick them up again and paint the beauty I saw and knit the memories into my heart. For now though…I’m here in this humble yet holy place. I want to drink in this fleeting moment of quiet and wonder. I’d actually like to take it with me wherever it is I land on the other side of hyperspace.

Into all the travel and the eating, all the gift giving and receiving, all the family and the fun, all the tension and the tease of celebrating something we’ve warped out of recognition…I’d like to take this bit of wonder. I’d like to bring with me the liquid light of a baby whose life rearranges mine. I’d like to haul the star along with me to guide my way onward. I’d like to kneel in everything I do from this point onward.Just let me linger a bit more here, drinking it in, inhaling all the earthy magic of divinity in hay.

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I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!

See you on the other side of warp speed!

 

Beyond the Din

WatercolorRelease

I stood at the pump while fuel flowed into the tank, assaulted by the sound of busy traffic rushing by. It seemed nearly deafening and I realized I couldn’t hear anything else.

Or could I?

Release&Flow

I strained my ears to hear something other than the raging traffic. Sure enough the pulsing music from the gas station could be heard, as well as the hum of the air conditioner unit. I was surprised at how the traffic noise, so all encompassing just minutes before, had, as I listened, subsided enough for me to hear something else.

Then I wondered if I could tune in even further, beyond the tumult of traffic, music, and machine? Could I hear something soft, and light?

MusicintheAir

I closed my eyes and at first, I heard the whoosh of gas flowing into my car. Yes. I had not been able to hear that before.

And then. I heard them.

Birds tweeting and twittering somewhere in the sparse surrounding trees and electrical lines. I could actually hear, listening with all that I had, the birdsong of a new day.

And I smiled.

JumbleoverSteady

It was a wonderful picture of how I’ve been approaching my days lately. I’ve been training myself to listen beyond the loud noisy thoughts of “Achieve more! Do more! Get more done! This isn’t enough! Create more! Improve! Stay on top of it all! Get it all done!”

This brand of thoughts rages through my mind like the noisy traffic in our town. It can be constant and it has long been the litany I’ve paid heed to for many years. This year, however, I’m not listening to it. Or at least, I’m questioning it, and wondering if there’s another line I could tune into. I’m finding there’s a birdsong of living and joy, beyond the din of these maddening thoughts.

As I’m learning to listen beyond the cacophony of noisy thoughts, I’m hearing something so lovely and freeing. It’s a song I’ve heard before, that has broken through the din on numerous occasions. The words to the song are the same every time I tune in: ‘You are loved. You are enough. In this moment, all is well. And all will be well. Today’s unfolding will be sufficient for the day’s needs. My presence goes with you. Live and love. Laugh and be free. Peace and joy are yours.”

As I placed the pump handle back in its cradle, I marveled at the fuel I had just received. My heart was full and ready for miles of living.

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Above watercolors were created over this past weekend of high school graduation, graduation picnic, soccer championship game, and numerous other events and activities. I find myself drawn to these abstractions as a way of releasing nervous energy, of gathering rich memories, and of listening beyond the din.

Knitting Thoughts

Holden1

This post is looooonnngg overdue. The shawl has been finished for weeks now, and is off to a dear friend (shhhh…:) Perhaps you’d like a peek inside the random mind of a knitter while she knits.

Project in hand is the Holden Shawlette designed by Mindy Wilkes. Here’s what she says in the description of the design:

“When I was a little girl, our family always vacationed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I always loved the way the waves “danced” as they broke onto the shore. While on vacation in Holden Beach, North Carolina, I fell in love with the little waves all over again. Inspired by the waves, the Holden Shawlette is a simple but elegant little shawl.”

I thought this would be the perfect project to take along with me to our annual beach trip on Oak Island which is right next to Holden Beach. I wrote down some of my thoughts as I knitted:

…this is the coolest beginning to a pattern…love the concept…

Holden2

…oh I do love stockinette…meditative…Knit a row…Purl a row…Knit a row…Purl a row…Golly I love these colors!…

Holden5

…Whoever it is behind Noro yarns is an artist for sure!…Mmmm that beautiful turquoise blue…oh and look how it gives way to the seafoam color…And then the pale mauve…ooohh…

Holden6

…I love hearing the ocean as I knit…Should I be out here knitting?…It might get sand and salt in it…Well, that’s as it should be, it being named after Holden Beach…which is just a few miles from where I am on Oak Island…

Holden4

…OK, let the lacework begin…I don’t typically knit lace…but she (the designer) said it was easy to memorize…Here’s hoping…So far, so good…This is gonna be pretty…like she said…the waves of the ocean…

Holden7

…I wonder what we’re having for dinner?…It’s Rich and Cathy’s night…they weren’t sure what to make…Oh no!…I think I’ve missed something somewhere…Gotta UN-knit and back up to the stitch I skipped…Okay…got that fixed… Off we go again…Um… What’s happening here?…Oh crikey…Not again…I don’t think I actually fixed that row…Better fix it now before it becomes a mess…Right…Back on track…

HoldenBack

…Can’t wait to see it completed…But slow down Jen…Enjoy each stitch…especially while you’re here at the beach…

HoldenFront

…It’s the perfect setting of sight and sound to go with this shawl…Love how knitting is like that.

This shawl has inspired me to try designing one in crochet–to try to emulate the waves that lap up on the shore. I’m working on typing it up and offering the pattern in my Etsy Shoppe. I’ll let you know when it’s ready! 🙂