I composed some of this post while i was walking this morning, and some while i was knitting. The movements got me thinking about life from the perspective of motion…
As creatures bound by time, we experience our existence as movement through time.
We measure our days and our years by what we get done, and by when.
We wish our favorite moments could last forever.
When something shattering happens we say it was like time stood still.
When we accomplish or survive something significant, we feel good about having gotten from then to now, from there to here.
‘Making progress’ feels important to us. We mine satisfaction from a sense of forward motion.
This is on my mind as i consider why i’ve felt rather contented over the past few months. Some of it comes with stepping out into the clearing after having been in the woods for a while. Some has to do with uplifting connections with family and friends. But it isn’t due to any major achievement, or to writing more posts (obviously).
I do always feel a sense of having gotten somewhere after i’ve written. But i haven’t posted anything of length in a while, and it occurs to me that i’m getting some of the sense of movement i need from another source, namely, knitting and crocheting…
When i write an essay or a fable, i love seeing the beginning, middle and end take shape.
The ‘fiber arts’ projects also provide a beginning, middle and end that i am directing.
A crucial distinction is that with the yarn-based endeavors, i’m following someone else’s pattern, rather than creating something original. Composing demands more strenuous thought and is therefore rewarding in a different way.
But enjoying the fiber arts (which i only recently returned to after decades away) strikes a happy medium between passivity and more deeply engaged effort. And while doing the finger-work, i am often mentally stimulated to get on to the writing.
Relishing both activities, i hear a whisper inside: “Lots looks different now, but you made it through, you’re ok.”
Reflecting on tougher times, it hits me that they were characterized by either very little perceived forward movement, or by a swirl of motion involving me that i was not directing and had little influence over.
But even when all is well, we live in a culture that prizes busyness, and we need to cultivate composure, make time for down time, elicit equanimity.
The momentum of a too-busy life can get the better of us, like losing one’s balance running down a hill.
For some, meditation and mindfulness are key to countering the imbalance. They do so not through escapism, but through re-orienting. [*Be* the purring kitten.]
Momentum does not equal purpose. We can feel adrift doing too little or too much.
Peaceful direction seems the best balance.
We can get a certain amount of this just from getting little chores done. Paying bills or doing dishes –they’re still movement [sideways oxymoron alert].
And spending time with others doesn’t get in the way of goals — when it is one of the goals.
An idea which guides my thinking about almost everything is connectedness. Our deepest satisfactions as well as our most disruptive challenges have to do with our interrelations with others; the investment can be hefty but is rarely wasted.
I’ll have more to say in a future post about other kinds of movement.
But if you’ll excuse me for now… that scarf isn’t going to knit itself.