Lately, the only creative thing I’ve had a strong hankering to do is knit.
I’m not a knitter. Oh, I learned the basics a few years back because I had all these amazingly creative friends who did knit and they inspired me to try.
But in the end, knitting required patience and concentration. It required slowing down, counting stitches, and getting into a comfortable rhythm… being okay with the idea that the work wouldn’t be done better by rushing it or yourself.
Not at all the way I, a person who thrives on tight deadlines, works creatively. I made a scarf and then I quit. Donated my knitting needles and excess yarn away.
Lately though, I think of knitting with longing. I find myself dreaming about yarn and fighting the desire to just collect pretty colored balls of it. Yesterday I lost myself in a Lion’s Yarn catalogue, just looking at the same pages over and over again, in a daydreaming reverie.
Over the weekend I ended up reading a post by Danielle LaPorte entitled “creativity, the corpse pose + what to do in between creative projects.” Talk about God throwing something out there when I needed to read it (ya know, that saying… when the student is ready, the teacher will come?).
In it, she says:
We rest to integrate the benefits of the work we have done.
The last three years of my life have been big growth years. When I was a kid, I remember I used to have horrible pains in my legs–my mom always told me they were growing pains. I always wondered why growing had to be painful… I still wonder that, but for reasons only God knows, that’s how it is.
I guess what I’m just starting to realize is that resting after the growth is just as necessary as the pain. Again, I think back to when I was a kid… right before I had a visible growth spurt, I always slept a lot. And I can see that pattern with my own kids now. They run and play as hard as they can most of the time, but right before they grown an inch or three, they suddenly start needing an afternoon nap again. (Or, in the case of my teenager, a serious need to sleep the day away.)
Ya’ll can’t know at all how much I hate feeling down. Or how much I hate admitting that feeling of helplessness to anyone. It’s really hard to admit you don’t know what to do next. I felt ashamed to admit to a friend who asked that I didn’t have goals to refocus on.
But sometimes, that’s just how it is. Sometimes your world gets turned upside down by life or just a change in perspective. Sometimes you’ve done as much as you can do on one path but you just don’t know what’s the best next direction to take.
I’m slowly learning to be okay with that.
I’m learning to accept when I have growth spurts, I’ll need to take a rest. I’ll have to be gentle with myself and accept the need for a slower rhythm.
I guess what I’m really learning is that I am knitting together my life. It’s a creative process that is about planning and pacing myself… about falling in love with the weight, color, and texture of a yarn to sometimes find that it doesn’t work well for the project I have planned… .about building up my skill through trying a pattern, failing, and unraveling the yarn to start again… about dropping stitches and learning to know when it’s time to rework or time to accept imperfect as part of the wabi-sabi of the piece… and mostly, just believing that my patience and dedication will result in a beautiful piece of handiwork in the long run and doing my best to enjoy the process in the meanwhile.
’til next time,
xoxo – Shauntelle
P.S. If you’re struggling with creative burn-out (or life burn-out, which I think is the same thing), I also really recommend these two posts from Danielle’s archives:
- 11 things to do (and not do) when you’re burnt out
- how to make the most of being toast: embracing burnout