So today’s Advent colour is actually tomorrow’s colour. And the colour of two days later. The missing white is really making me stressed and I solved it by peeking at the days to come and finding two very light colours I can use to bring some light contrast into the shawl.
Yes, it’s cheating.
No, I don’t mind one bit.
This Advent Shawl is a game of pleasure and I want to enjoy my knitting.
I really like knitting stranded every day for a bit, thinking up patterns, trying them out in StitchFiddle, enjoying the flow of the quality yarn through my fingers.
And although I do like working within a pre-set frame of rules -it invites you to be creative- I’m not going to let one of the rules hamper my knitting pleasure.
Besides, I’m pretty stressed these days, feeling overwhelmed and incompetent with all the things on the to-do list that I’m not getting done. I don’t need the extra aggrevation of colour contrast troubles.
As an illustration of my need for order & control today I knitted little pink squares:
The next part are reindeer. Today’s the Swedish Julemarket in Groningen, a 3 hour train ride from here. I would have loved to have gone so much! But really I can’t.
So reindeer 🙂
Hopefully tuesday the white skein comes. I was contacted by the webshop owner late last night that she had read my mail and she would send the skein monday asap!
Until then she’s at the Swedish Julemarket, lucky her.
For the rest of my stress I’m telling myself: “Calm down already!”
Which is a useless phrase to throw at someone who’s stressed.
Useless, unless they’ve been handed the tools to calm down. Which I have. So here I go, calming down:
1. I’m safe, warm and nurtured. If I connect to my body and ask if we have any reason to be stressed it will respond: “noooo?”.
If I connect to my body I can enjoy some time with it and experience how happy it is, being safe, warm and nurtured. This will lower my stress levels fast.
This is what Mindfullness or a hot bath or Reverse Therapy or sitting in the garden with a cup of tea all do. Very important life skills to have.
If you do them a couple of times a day, let’s say two times a day, the calming down becomes a habit and you can enter that state with just one breath, anytime. No more “Fight or Flight”.
I myself was amused to discover there’s a whole other way time can pass. Not in seconds. Different.
I suspect this is what cats and cows experience when they’re peacefully resting.
pic by Christian Pichler
2. Soooo….all stress I perceive today is mental stress, every subject brought on by myself, chosen to deem important.
That means I can pick and choose from this list. Ban some of them to the back of my mind, or even just ignore them. My husband proposes the need for making and sending x-mas cards as the first item to scrap. I’m not there yet, I want to create things.
Another one is not subjecting myself to the way news is reported. It’s all so manipulative and fear mongering and enticing. This one has been pushed out long ago. I follow investigative journalism and documentaries instead.
Subjecting yourself to the emotional format a Disney film follows is another one. I don’t need an orchestrated cry 45 minutes into a movie.
Other to-do items I can lump together and allow a time slot: “Tomorrow morning, 20 minutes, to do some of those administrative things that have been looming.”
3. Thirdly I chose two things each day to put on top of my to-do list. A useful, grown up thing such as reviewing the painters’ offers or health assurance reassessment. And a thing that makes me happy, such as sewing or taking a bath. There’s not much time for anything else really, with the time it takes to maintain my body and my household. So if (any of) these two things get done I’m glad and accomplished for the day.
And that’s how I handle stress.
In reality I don’t do the “sit still for five minutes and notice how your body is safe and happy”, not even once a day. But I will today. Sit still. Except for hands, let them move, holding yarn.
Yeah, that’s what I’m doing today. Sit in my living room and knit for a bit, enjoy the advent things on display, the tree, the moose, the snoring cats. Have a cup of tea. Five minutes of not having to do anything in particular. Just breathing and noticing my body is safe, warm and nurtured.
internet meme from comic Gunshow by artist K.C. Green