How are you doing? Are you at home, making? Have you been able to connect with friends and family on FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Zoom Meetings? This is definitely the time to get creative and connect with others in ways we maybe aren’t used to traditionally engaging! I hope you are finding these new ways of connecting empowering.
I hope also that we can take a moment to look at how we were living before this ‘new normal’ set in – we seemed to be spending more and more time scrolling our screens, increasingly cut off from one another. In many ways, this social distancing has accelerated us towards the end we were already headed towards: Isolation from one another. Now that we are here, let’s take a moment to really appreciate the importance of the connections we have with one another.
In these times, I wonder what sustains you? We have been having conversations in our home about what meaningful connection is and how to create more of it in our future. I invited my mom over as the weather improves to sit and have coffee in the afternoon while the kids play, rather than trying to have a ‘visit’ while the kids have nothing to do and begin vying for our attention. The constant interuption does nothing to create connection between my mom and I – instead, I am left feeling frustrated and annoyed.
While our daily lives have changed in many ways – my partner and kids’ lives have changed profoundly – my life is actually quite similar to what it was before. I am still working at the hospital on weekends, from home to create Wool n’ Spinning during the weeks along with the content that accompanties the show, cooking and creating amazing meals, and finding active moments. But, there is an intensity to our days now due to homeschooling, home-working pressures for my husband and deadlines looming that were self-imposed by myself. With time feeling short, those pressures feel amplified. As I sit quietly, I find myself thinking about how those pursuits – teaching my kids to read, getting work done in a home environment, carving out creative time – are self-made pressures. What sustains us and conitnues to move us forward is the connection, love and support we provide each other.
As I sat and watched James interacting with one of his teachers at school yesterday via Google Chat, he smiled and laughed countless times. He worked hard on the concepts she was presenting. At the end, she allowed him to spend a few moments talking to his friend, who was also on the call, about Minecraft and their pursuits they have been working on at home in their respective games. It was a small gift. Those small moments – laughing and working in the sunshine that was streaming in through the window onto home, talking to his friend and connecting with his teacher – are the sustanence of life. And they are the sustenance regardless of whether we are sheltering in place or not.
I know I am guilty of not taking the time to really dig in and notice those moments – instead, I am too busy moving onto the next thing. Get it done and move onto the next thing. I pride myself on being efficient. I am often praised for how much I seem to be able to get done (you haven’t seen my lack of housekeeping abilities). I have challenged myself lately to notice with gratitude those things, particuarly when I fall into a mindset of negativity. I focus on what I’m doing in that moment and really dig in.
For example, I was photographing some yarn yesterday and my initial thought was that it wasn’t enough yardage and I still had so much to spin for this sweater that I’m working on at the moment. So, I stepped back. I picked up my camera and spent a good 15 – 20 miuntes finding things about the yarn that I was amazed at: The beauty of the twist angle, particularly in the sun, and the slight sheen of the Cheviot fibres in the sun. I was amazed at the lightness of the yarn and the ease that I was able to photograph it. The yarn is very consistently spun so the twist angle is consistent throughout the yarn. The tradiitonal 3-ply is round and bouncy – I felt increasingling excited to ball it and cast on immediately. These are the moments that ultimately sustain me – that I find peace and comfort.
Our community has been very active during this time. There have been lots of finished projects, both yarn and items, and so much outpouring of love and support. I wonder what has and will continue to sustain you throughout these coming weeks, months and years?
Rachel, I think you’re spot on here: sustenance comes in the taking of the moment to notice things happening around you: life going on in spite of what we humans think we need to accomplish in the present. I notice it particularly when I’m in the garden. Working with the rich, moist earth, taking care to gently lift earthworms and other creatures out of the way of my digging and weeding. Seeing the different plants there growing there and preserving the ‘volunteers’ that are useful plants to me, even though they may be popping up somewhere other than where I would’ve planned. Noticing the sweet smell of new life in the trees near me – the scent of leaves unfurling and greeting the day.
That’s just one of the things that sustains me – and something that has not changed with isolation, but has become more profound as I read more about human impact on the earth and the looming future difficulties wrought by our consumption. There are so many things that one individual alone cannot change, but I have it in my power to love and support the beings in my immediate sphere. And I do just that. By making.
Yes! I love this Mary. Absolutely. Those are the moments in which we find life and are removed is
Yes! Absolutely! Those are the moments when we are reminded that we are just a small part of the whole and that we have so many opportunities around us for good. Thank you for your comments – so positive 😊