Saturday, April 26, 2014

A motif a day - meditation in May

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I've got this idea. It's still not fully formed or finished yet, but I've been thinking about it a lot and I thought it might help to get it out here. Writing it might help me work out the details and perhaps after you've read it, you might have some suggestions as to how it might work too.

I guess the whole thing originates with the kindness thing, which has been completely life changing and I really should blog about more. Part of being kind to myself has been giving myself the gift of time out of the family and farm chaos. Time that is mine. Time to tune out and tune right in. And I've come to the realisation that I need regular meditation in my life.

Many of my friends, and my two smallest daughters, sit regularly alone or in groups and close their minds off to the chatter and focus on something or nothing at all. For some reason I just cannot do that. I've never been able to. The second I try, it's like an invitation for a flood of ideas and lists and conversations and memories to gush through my mind. I try to focus on my breath, to come back to center, but there's never any stopping that rush of stuff.

For a while now I've been toying with the idea that walking is my meditation. One step in front of the other, breathing in and out. I lovelovelove walking. But when I look at it truthfully I can see that mostly I walk with someone else: Bren, Indi, my parents, Jo-Jo and more recently Annabel and Lola. And while we step out the miles, we talk and tell stories and laugh and plan. Walking really promotes the best types of conversations. And when I occasionally do walk alone, I usually listen to podcasts or music. So while walking is all the best for almost everything, it's rarely a time to tune out or in.

Which brings me to crochet. Yay!

Yesterday I was sitting with the girls in the middle of the kitchen garden around the fire. They were playing the most beautiful game in a make believe restaurant. They'd drawn up a menu on a blackboard and were taking make believe orders and setting about making the food from sand and leaves and flowers. I watched them for a while as I cast off the sleeve of Miss Pepper's cardigan and then I sat there empty handed. It felt strange and slightly unsettling to have finished something and not yet started anything else.

Soon after, I went inside to gather some snacks and drinks and walked past my basket of cottons and had a powerful urge to crochet something colourful and quick and just for fun. So I grabbed my size three hook, some yarn and a book and headed back out.

And for the next ten or twenty minutes I sat in the sun, in my own little world, following the pattern and letting my hands do their thing and thought about how much I love crochet. How crochet gives me that meditation. How crochet allows my fingers to be busy and my mind to completely tune out, or in. And I realised that crochet is my meditation.

IMG_7261 And then I started thinking about testing out this crochet as meditation theory. Taking some time out of the everyday-every single day.

While my plan was slowly unraveling in my mind I considered something productive like a square a day or a stripe of a blanket a day, but then that kind of defeats the purpose. My world is so dictated by the useful and the practical that this needs to be more 'just because'.

I considered some of the glorious mandalas that I've been seeing around the place, but realistically this has to be something quick to be achievable. Time is an issue. A circle of six or seven rounds seems like it'll be doable.

And then as I finished the last round of my circle it occurred to me that the whole time I had been hooking it, I had been feeling grateful for crochet. Loving the stitching and the choosing and the making. Feeling all happy inside as it came together and became something. A meditation about something I love or am grateful for feels like a wonderful thing to do.

So the plan became a little bit more formed. I will aim to crochet a small circle motif every day for the month of May. I will take 10 or 15 minutes out of the rush-rush to sit quietly and make. And while I crochet I will try my hardest to mediate/think/consider about something that I am grateful for in the world. Big things, local things, global things, homey things, all kinds of grateful things. And I think I'll blog it along the way. A photo everyday, or almost everyday and a little grateful dedication.

And now for the bit that I'm getting stuck on. I'd love to involve you guys, if you are interested and willing of course. I love the idea of crochet lovers all over the world virtually sitting together, taking time, making time, being kind and grateful to ourselves and each other and our worlds. I'd love to make this a bit of a community thing, but I can't work out how.

Do you know how?
Do you know what I mean?
Does this interest you?
Do you meditate already?
Do you crochet meditate already?

Help!

xx

PS The last time I did a motif a day in May - I LOVED it!!
PS This project does frighten me, the announcement and the commitment and the time factor, but I think that's a good thing and I'm not going to hide from it.

48 comments:

  1. Yes yes yes, count me in! I've been trying to meditate for ages and like you I am constantly bombarded with thoughts and lists, but apparently lots of practice eventually makes the mind settle. I have been focussing on my 'chi' breathing techniques and this really works. I find it gives me more patience and a calm feeling for the day especially dealing with two little ones. My goal is to do something every morning and this crochet project might just help in so many other ways as well. I'm so looking forward to it! xx

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  2. Crochet is my meditation too! It helps me to calm my 'monkey mind' :-)
    I've tried walking, counting (without crochet) and breathing techniques, but my monkey mind drove me crazy. But not with crocheting! Crocheting tames the monkey :-)))
    To crochet something small and different everyday is a beautiful way to bring meditation to your everyday life. Ik would be nice if those things should contribute to something bigger. Maybe a mandala blanket?

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  3. I did try to meditate a few times in the past, once I used to do it regularly, on the floor with candle and so on and it was awesome. I felt myself kind of melting into the surroundings I was in and really clearing my mind and relaxing my body.
    I read once that after you finish meditation, you should let it be what it was and move on - not obsess about this particular session not working out or not being what you wanted it to be. I think crocheting one motif a day could be too stressful as it creates the need to finish something, which could potentially lead to stress. So do not feel bad if you stop in the middle and just stare at a pretty bug or a flower and let your mind go free. Thats all the advice I have, it is a great idea! The moment any kind of pressure comes in, I tend to feel stressed and the meditation point is gone (I suffer from anxiety issues, so that might be just my thing). I am definitely going to try this with you, maybe not with crochet, but with something else, but I will do it, ok? :)

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  4. A friend asked me the other day how I can get so engrossed in knitting/crochet. I replied that I would go crazy if I didn't do a little bit every day. So I suppose I do use it as meditation. I think it's a great idea and would love to be involved, although I have no idea how it could be made into a community style thing.... But I'm not good with logistics anyways!

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  5. If I knew how to crochet I would give this a go! I'm hoping to learn in the next few months. I think this idea is beautiful though and can see how it would be really relaxing. Sometimes you just need something for your hands to focus on to let your mind wander. I find baking really helps me with this.

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  6. I am a wannabe crafter, can't do any of it, but love looking at the work of everyone else.

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  7. Kate it sounds beautiful.
    My crochet skills (or lack there of) create frustration so I'm not quite sure that I'm at the meditation phase yet.
    I'm at the "how on earth did that happen", "what on earth does that mean - DC TR blah blah blah"
    Maybe a dedicated month is what I need.
    I will follow you enviously and try to channel some of your calm and gratefulness.

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  8. I would not say I meditate when I knit or crochet but I do love the repetitive action. It soothes my soul and is a quiet way to end my day. I have recently begun a new crochet project which co-incidenitentally is medallions. Please may I join you?

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  9. Can you just create a link like Jodi of Practising Simplicity does for her 52 project? Last year I took part in that, and it was very easy just to link in a photo. It also meant you could look around at other people's portraits too.

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  10. That sounds like a fantastic idea - can't wait to hear more! I'm making my first mandala at the moment - it's a slow process! X

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  11. your blog reading and my crochet moments are keeping me sane - reading you blog tonight I am struck by how similar we all are -crochet is definitely meditation or at least a moment just for me, to sit and lose my self in the simple act of making - I think it sounds like a great idea - as to how to go about it so we can all connect... I will have a ponder ive seen a couple pf other blogs that seems to be able to share images - I will have a look for you all the best sophy

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  12. I love this idea and I'd love to join in. Perhaps you could do a link up & an instagram # for people like me who don't blog.Looking forward to seeing how you make this happen. I love to meditate but find it soooo very hard to allow myself the time, perhaps this is my way to create that habit..
    cheers Kate

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  13. Oh Kate this sounds perfect! I would love to set aside some time just for me, to crochet just for the pleasure of making something beautiful! I hope to join you on your crochet a day in May! Do you think we could share on Instagram or Facebook (ugh, I can't believe I just said FB….yes, I'm finally on there…like the last person in the world probably!) anywhoo….I'll check back in, and get the details and now the excuse to get all my yarn out! xx

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  14. Beautiful idea. I find I don't crochet enough as I am constantly knitting clothes for the girls. I'd love to take part in this as an opportunity just to create for the sake of it. Linda. x

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  15. Attic 24 blog seems to use a flickr account set up as a group place that people can then join and post photos... or theres facebook... it means youll have the task of setting up an account though (sigh!) I would love to be part of this -it would be so nice to get crafty together sophy

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  16. Maybe a ravelry group, seeing as its crochet related? Im not very fond of facebook, and those who dont like it either may not log in enough to participate. Have you ever heard of stitchlinks? I think it seems very similar to what you are thinking of doing, although in a different medium. Crochet is my meditation too, and I love the idea of this, an achievable daily motif, just long enough to spend 10 minutes alone :-)

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  17. I'm a regular meditator... I would go nuts without it... I find my mind (and all that chatter) overwhelms me if I don't give it the time and space to just be... It's always non-stop-chatter and to-do-lists when you start... It's like you mind finally says 'ah - she's listening now - lets tell her all those things we've need to for ages!'.... that kindness thing will help you there, our minds are like little toddlers that want to wander off all the time, but we don't get cross at the toddler for doing what's natural, we just gently remind the toddler to come back to us and sit and be. After a while the chatter subsides, sometimes just for a moment, fleeting, other times for a good minute or two or ten... I think meditation is doing whatever that thing is that you love the most. It's when you are 'in the moment'. It's different for so many, for me it can be anything from riding my motorbike, to walking, to gardening, to crocheting, to actually sitting in my fave spot and mindfully meditating. I don't listen to anything when I walk as I try to use that time to empty my head rather than fill it... Whatever you want to do in May I'm in... probably in a cheating kinda way as I do do some form or meditation most days anyway. Maybe it's as simple as a commitment from likeminded peeps to do something that is 'meditational' for them? And then sharing the highlights, grateful moments, benefits they may get from it thru IG, FB or whatever... Just a thought… I love your idea Kate… may the zen be with you :-) x

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  18. Great idea Kate,i just happen to crochet so let's do it.This feel's like it will connect us all! It so good to be excited about something.

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  19. yes, I will crochet motifs and meditate with you! I love the thought of doing this together. a kindness vibration may occur!

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  20. Yes, I know exactly what you mean, although blogger decided to eat my comment instead of posting it. Hopefully it won't do it twice in a row... But yes, I've definitely experienced the soothing effect of working with wool. My mind is normally swirling with dozens of thoughts and ideas and hopes and dreams but they all fall into line when there are needles or hooks and wool in my hands. I'd love to be part of a project like this - it would be a fantastic kick start for a woolly blanket I've wanted to make for ages.

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  21. I never was good at meditation. Too restless and too many thoughts. Have tried mindfullness exercises several times as treatment, and never really got into it.
    Have noticed though that drawing has a good effect on me. Which means I really should do it more often. Every day really. But somehow that just doesn't happen. Also walking is really good for it, but again not something I do.
    Oh well. Good luck with your crocheting and meditation.

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  22. I only learned to crochet a few years ago, and it is definitely a meditation for me. I don't know how I managed without it all those years before. Crocheting a simple mandala or motif each day for the month of May is a great idea.I wonder if we could somehow join all the motifs up and make up some blankets for people who need some warmth and color?

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  23. Crochet and knitting is the way I create time for myself. I always like the challenge of something new, of conquering a new pattern, but repetitive rows of crochet are particularly soothing - the length of the row gives my brain longer periods of time to 'switch off' while my hands seem to be crocheting without the use of my brain at all, like some kind of physical memory. Maybe like touch typing. Anyway, I'd love to be involved but like 'Silly Little Sheep' said in an earlier comment, committing to crocheting a motif a day would stress me out, even though I could more easily commit to crocheting for 15 minutes every day. Some people on Instagram are doing a '2014 square a day mood blanket' and I think a hashtag would be an easy way to share progress.

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  24. This is such a lovely, simple idea. I started out this year with a commitment to make something every day – nothing major, it could just be dinner, or crafty, or practical. Using a hashtag a friend of mine used last year, I've been taking a photo everyday and tagging it #yearofmaking. When I wrote about my plan on January 1st, the idea resonated with a lot of people, and we've all just been posting a daily photo of what we've made. Nothing formal. No blog or commitment other than our individual commitments to make stuff. But we can follow along on Instagram or Flickr or Twitter – anywhere where we can click the hashtag and see what everyone's up to. I'm inclined to join you in May!

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  25. this may seem a little off the side - but in 2012 I undertook a making/capturing/blog sharing thing as an extended part of my MFA which I called 'an art gesture a week' >> http://www.rhondaayliffe.blogspot.com.au/p/blog-page.html << the work revolved around books and the environment, and rather than making something permanent - I mostly created ephemeral pieces that were photographed and then gone ... it WAS rather meditative and I enjoyed the experience very much (here's the wrap up of the time >> http://www.rhondaayliffe.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/a-year-of-art-gestures.html<<) -- I'm sharing this not to clag up your comments - but it may add to the conversation about what undertaking a commitment to create and share may mean and what can come from the time (ps - I started out in 2011 with a month of 'an art gesture a day' phew! it was tricky getting time to do it every. single. day.... the weekly installment took the pressure off!)

    good luck. have fun. enjoy the process.

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  26. Hi Kate, I think this is a lovely idea but like someone else mentioned I think it needs to be kept simple so that you do not become overwhelmed by the administration of it or of the feeling of having to do something everyday which could be stressful - it would for me. Perhaps choose a social media platform that you feel most comfortable with and go from there. I'm happy for you to email me if you need to bounce ideas/thoughts.... not that I have the answers! But it might help :-)
    Tracey xx

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  27. Playing with you sounds like the kind of summer-anticipating fun we can enjoy and end up with some interesting creations too. The calmness that so many speak of when needlework or hooking or sewing or any of the creative arts is happening lets us know that our feelings are universal and in some ways we are very much alike-that's comforting..

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  28. utterly perfect and just what i need and can give the small amount of time for. like you i have huge problems switching off and meditation has never been for me, i hate sitting still and have to be making something unless i am with the animals or asleep :)
    count me in, sign me up, a group of makers slowly sending out kindness for a whole month - what could be nicer?

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  29. Great idea, crochet is mediation for me too! Last year I took part in create a postcard art event where we made art on index cards every day and we could link them to a linky or post them on the Flictr group, great for people without blogs. Creating an account is simple and making a group is easy peasy. Not a great deal of work.

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  30. Thank you for sharing this. I am certainly interested, although not sure I will get to do it every day. When I'm working with my hands, as in making dolls, crochet, knitting, drawing, etc I like to feel free in order to get to that state of mind - and I get there most of the time. But if I feel just a little bit of stress, maybe because I'm not doing it right, or because time is not on my side, work does not feel as meditation, That's why I wonder if it will work when you tell yourself that you HAVE to do it. I think it is important to try it every day but is also important to forgive yourself if it does'n happen that way.
    We could do it and share it in our blogs, maybe there could be a list of those who would join?
    I love your blog by the way, and your words and pictures feel at home in my heart. Thank you ♥

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  31. I think you would have a lot of friends join in this idea- crochet meditation. I've never thought about it that way but the repetition does allow for a quiet mind. With knitting I have to CONCENTRATE on what I'm doing, counting, but with crochet not so much. I love the idea of a link up and an Instagram group. Keep us posted!

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  32. Every time I crochet I think of it as meditation time - I love it too :) I do actually meditate as well, separate to this, but for some strange reason my crochet-meditation feels more calming and less of an effort... maybe less of a conscious effort, if that makes any sense? Great plan. I'm currently crocheting large squares which I plan to join together as a blanket for our bed - a huge project that I hope will take me through the next couple of months :) Good luck with your plan, Kate! Kx

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  33. Ohhhh I love the meditative joy of crochet, it's one reason why I love it so much!

    Cheers,
    Lynda.

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  34. Great idea Kate,i crochet every day and find it very relaxing,:we need that 20 mins out of every day just for us ! Why dont we call this " Itsy Bitsy crochet " then every week we can all meet up on your blog and share what we have done ,? I,m in anyway lots of love xx

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  35. Hi Kate, I'm pretty new to your blog, and enjoy your crocheting posts. I do reiki and meditate, not as often as I should but I always come back to it when I start feeling like I'm 'in my head.' I crochet and knit and I think it's such a lovely idea to combine the two. I'd love to join in, a weekly link up would be fun. Looking forward to hearing what you come up with. Sending you love and light :)

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  36. YES! Please, I would love to do this. I'm not sure if I can complete one per day but I am so willing to try! LOVE this idea. Thank you!

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  37. I think I needed this post today. Thanks for sharing xx

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  38. Yes, yes, yes, no and yes :) Except for the last one I didn't really realise that's what I'm doing until you articulated it so well. I generally think of it as escaping into crochet but meditation sounds a lot classier! I'd suggest doing a link up here maybe, and/or an Instagram hashtag or a Flickr/Ravelry group? Spread out the ways to participate.

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  39. I have discovered in the last months the crochet-thing too. I love my hands being busy and my head gets free. I understand you so well. Love your blog!!
    Jutta xxx

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  40. Hello Kate - yes, definitely meditation. For me I think it's the concentration and the stitch counting that forces me to forget the thousand other things that my mind wants to play with constantly.

    Do you have a link to a pattern for the blue, orange and white motif (in the pic six photos from the bottom of the Ravelry page for your last May motif thingo) please? That kinda looks like my pace and would give me something new to learn. Plus it's hooking weather in Hobart again!

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  41. A story from my meditation teacher of 14 years: Her teacher, a famous Indian guru, was in one of the Southern states of America, giving a talk about Insight Meditation, in a Southern Baptist church. In the front row was an old black woman, crocheting with her hands but looking the guru straight in the eye the whole way through his talk, nodding furiously at everything he said. Afterwards he approached her and asked her if she meditated. She enthusiastically replied (in a very southern accent); "Oh yes sir! I crochet!!" There you go Kate. Crochet - meditation, same - same! xxx #mysonhasasmallcrushonyourdaughter

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  42. I LOVEloveLove this idea and YES I would take part in it. I already am a true believer that crochet is my meditation and my way of unplugging for a while. I think its a great idea like some have already mention to make a link party of some sort so that us readers can link back to you and all of our projects are kept in one place.

    I also love the idea of making something that inspires you on the spot at that moment. Its very freeing :)

    Im all in.

    Birgitta xx

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  43. It's a great idea. I've done extensive research into using crochet for mindfulness and meditation. There are several exercises for it included in my book, Crochet Saved My Life, and I've written articles for my own blog (Crochet Concupiscence) as well as for the Lion Brand Yarn blog. I'd be happy to talk with you further about it if you're interested.

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  44. Wonderful idea! I have to crochet(or knit, or sew) to feel whole somehow, it is very meditative for me too! I think Instagram would be an easy quick way to share, or flickr...so exciting! And, I just got a new book of corchet pstterns to try!

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  45. Wonderful idea! I have to crochet(or knit, or sew) to feel whole somehow, it is very meditative for me too! I think Instagram would be an easy quick way to share, or flickr...so exciting! And, I just got a new book of corchet pstterns to try!

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  46. I am in. I am doing quite a bit of wool stuff at the moment, and enjoying sitting, rugged up, in front of the heater....or truth to tell, in bed with my crochet or knitting. Both are happening ATM.
    So yes, do it!

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  47. I just love this idea......I am using up all my left over bits of wool and it's so nice to just pause and breathe and have a little crochet in my day. I don't know what I will do with all the motifs, maybe turn them into a blanket or a mobile, or my girlie suggested I could turn them into some enormous earrings.....hmmmm I need to think about that one. Great idea Kate, I'm hooked cc :)

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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