Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrating the intangible

I just finished knitting a sweater for my boyfriend, and it gives me as much joy as it gives him. Each time he wears it I get to savor the feeling of achievement. It's the largest knitting project I've taken on so far: my first sweater, my first cable project, my first 2-way separating zipper. You can see more pictures of the sweater on my ravelry page.

And as I take time at the end of the year, looking back at the highlights, I notice that except for these end-of-year reviews I lose a lot of that delicious feeling of being done with something and gazing proudly at it. It's so different from my experience of knitting things and seeing them being worn. You see, as a performing artist, the work I do gets lost in time. There's all the work done in preparation, and I love that sense of anticipation and focused effort, but when the performance is over and the glow fades, so too does the memory of having done it. I'm off and rushing off to the next thing. Does this happen to you? Especially with creative endeavors where there is no physical "evidence"?

I don't often spend moments looking back at my achievements or celebrating them, and now I'm wondering if I can make the other creative processes more like knitting. In knitting, I get to see a piece gradually growing as I progress. So how could I apply this to learning a new piece of music, or trying to build a new technique on the violin? In knitting, I get to enjoy over and over again the feeling of "Yeah, I did that!" when I see a piece being worn. Could I maybe lengthen the afterglow by creating something tangible and visible to mark a performance or an achievement that would otherwise be lost to memory and time? Contemplation and journaling are great ways to put these on paper, but for me those pages also get lost in the shuffle. How can we enjoy more regularly what we "knit" into our creative lives?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dream for the Full Cold Moon

It seems I haven't been very active on my blog lately, and maybe it's because I've been so active in my creative life. Of the treasured moments to myself, I have enjoyed making dreamboards monthly with each full moon of the year. I missed the previous one, and the energy was pent up I suppose, because this month's dreamboard is crammed with images and lots of surprises. I feel it will take some time to learn what I need to from this board, but I want to make it a practice this month to gaze at it and discover what the dreamboard is inviting me to do or be right now.

December is often a really difficult month for me, as it contains in it so many energies. Being born in December I'm trying to celebrate my birthday while people are busy with the holidays, preparing for the holidays while looking back at my year for highlights and for unfinished business, looking forward to the new year -- all this swirl make for an unsettled kettle of emotions, happy, wistful, anxious, proud, hungry, nervous. I try to take things down a notch, and as the years go by I think I get a little better at it, but there's still that bubbling stuff just under the surface. Perhaps I just need to make peace with this, just as it is.

As I gaze at my board, I think it reflects this jumble of energies I experience in December. I long for a simple message I can latch onto, but it seems this is just not in the cards. So I'll have to learn to love the smorgasbord of offerings, often contrasting or clashing:
  • A longing for peace and rest
  • Busy-ness and stimulation
  • Animal instincts and animal wisdom
  • Nutritious food and sweet treats
  • Flowering and growth (my windowsill orchid is sending up a flower stalk right now!)
  • Magic and surprise
I'm thankful for having this regular process for tuning in to my dreams and desires and intuition. It has been so useful and nourishing to my spirit to have a way of checking in with inner messengers on a regular basis. How wonderful that it is tied to the moon's cycles as well. If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and even sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online. Take a look at what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here. Here's to celebrating 2011 and looking forward to what 2012 will bring! All the best to you and yours.