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Paralysis & Moving Forward

All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost. –JRR Tolkien

I’ve really fallen off the blogging train this past year, which has had me thinking a lot about this little space here and it’s value. I use it mostly for show notes, as a place to host the newest show as they are released. I used to write in this space about many things – from spinning techniques I was exploring, finished knitted objects and life in general. About 18 months ago, life took a bit of a turn and I started to really pursue increasing my activity level. I wanted to focus my time and energy on nutrition, working out and strength training. This eventually lead me down the CrossFit rabbit hole and here we are today! I found as the summer wore on that I was getting more and more burned out. Tired. Not sleeping well. Exhausted all the time. I push myself hard and I tend to be quite self-critical. After a conversation with a co-worker, who always challenges me to think differently (which we don’t always agree upon but I love his perspective), I asked myself some tough questions. I’m still processing and thinking about those answers but I’ve spent a lot of time this fall thinking about what I want the next two, five, ten years to look like. I tend to be a person who looks back a lot. I’m not sure why. I think I’m a naturally very reflective person. I’m really good at analyzing why people do what they do, their motivations and stories that influence their actions, and my own journey as well. This has a bad habit of paralyzing me. Can you relate?

A couple of the questions I asked myself included what I want to spend my time doing and how do I know if something ‘fills me up’ in a way that is sustainable, rather than depleting. As you can imagine, I tend to give all of myself. I love interacting with people who are equally passionate but in comparison to the extrovert who is fed by this energy, I drain of energy. I have to go away and recuperate before I’m ready for more. Teaching a workshop completely depletes me but the energy and enthusiasm during and after? Amazing. For those who know the Meyers-Briggs system of personality typing, I’m an INFP – Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling & Perceiving (“The Mediator”). I think we are about 4% of the population. The ‘problem’ with being an INFP is that I am an idealist – this has been the case since I was child. I’m always dreaming. I don’t think the grass is greener on the other side – that’s another personality type – but I definitely love to think up ideas. The execution is where I get hung up – do I want to see this through? But it’s a lot of work and it might not work. Let’s think of something else. And so on. You get the picture! The quote at the beginning of the post sums up Mediators quite nicely.

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The more I thought about it, the more I realised that by pushing my making aside in favour of other things, I was slowly depleting myself of some of the most life-giving aspects of my personality. I don’t need making and creativity to live but I need it to thrive. I need the physical activity because sometimes my making is too sedentary (for me, I know this isn’t the case for all). As we look forward to the Fall and Winter months, I’m excited for the Wool n’ Spinning community to delve into the biggest spinning study we’ve ever done by looking at the book by Jacey Boggs Faulkner, 51 Yarns. We are going to study it from start to finish, in order, the way it was written. In the PLY magazine group on Ravelry, they started with their default yarn as week 1, which I intend to do as it is great to have a ‘baseline’, and they have proceeded to skip around a bit and enjoy a variety of studies. Rather, we’re going to work our way through the chapters in order so that everyone in our community can gather their supplies and know what is coming. It will be a challenge, that is for sure!

These challenges excitement. They make us better spinners, makers, crafters and community members. They bring us together. As well, when we learn from one another, we strengthen our bonds with one another. This brings us to the next idea, a SPAKAL (spin-along, knit-along) together as a community. I have fielded many, many questions about how to plan, execute, sample and finish a project from start to finish. The hitch here is that we’d be working towards the same project together – one pattern in particular that we are working towards finishing. I think this will help people to really understand how one or two seemingly minor choices like colour management in spinning or drafting technique can really change a finished object when we are comparing apples to apples. Think of this as a learning opportunity, rather than having to absolutely love the pattern we choose. I have a sneaking suspicion that you will love your finished item because you spun, created and knit it through to the end.

To me, these projects are exciting and I look forward to both. I hope you will join us as I look to the Winter and begin to put both of these together. This is the balance I’ve been seeking and I want to thank you for your continued excitement about this community and the things we do here. In Canada, it is Thanksgiving, and I give thanks to each and every one of you who’ve chosen to take this crazy journey with me!

8 thoughts on “Paralysis & Moving Forward

  1. I’ve been in a similar place. Maybe some of it is the age of my kids (4 and 7) and no longer being in the baby years, and moving back to my prekids life, but, obviously, oh so different. I’m also very reflective in nature, and very intentional in my choices. I’m trying to allow myself to be more intuitive and a bit impulsive. It’s a strange place to be!

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  2. Rachel, I enjoyed reading your latest blog. I am a new spinner 1+ years (still on a spindle, but have a small electric wheel). I have Jacey Boggs book “51 Yarns” and think your approach to go through the book in detail is a great idea. How do I join the group…on Ravelry, your Blog, your Vidoeblog? Regards, Colleen

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