11 January 2008

Better Judgment

Remember snow? Sigh. What a strange thing to have a thunderstorm in January.

I have been so inspired by all the amazing people in my life (both cyber, physical, and fictional) this season. I am determined to no longer accomodate for fear of rejection, but instead to follow Max's lead and do things because I want to, not just because something or someone is pressuring me to, not least the many voices in my head.


To begin I have made some major changes: Instead of ergonomic chairs and conference calls, I am working three -four days a week at a yarn shop I love (Go Woolcott!). Sometimes the day brings amazing people I would never otherwise have met, sometimes challenging customers who desperately need someone to whom they can tell their story. Sometimes the UPS gods smile and we get Possum yarn, sometimes we get less-exciting -but-absolutely-needed needles. And with the other precious precious time, I am clearing brush in the jungle of my mind.

I often feel spoiled rotten by this opportunity to take some space. It is so very easy to feel bad.

If nothing else, knitting has taught me to be patient with my own shortcomings. Somehow I can be open to making mistakes with yarn in a way that is unavailable to me in daily life. My intention this year is to be open to being wrong, and having better judgment about what is actually important.

In that spirit, two situations in which I did what I wanted in the face of other advice, one knitting - one other:

1. I knit these thumbies at the incredibly tight gauge of 9.5 stitches per inch. Sean warned me. Danielle, too. They came out so stiff, they could stop bullets, and unfortunately, I couldn't get them over my hands. Sigh. But the fabric came out pretty cool, right?

2. I recently entirely ignored someone I had known well a few years ago. She is one of those people who is always in need of attention. She stood right behind me in a line. And I was exhausted and didn't want to be her friend again, so despite the persistent screaming of the voice in my head telling me how mean I was, I tucked my chin under and walked right out of the store.

Either of these situations could be defined as a mistake. I think the trick for me is to stop worrying so much about mistakes. But I haven't quite figured out a way not to feel bad. Any thoughts?


Max said...

Wow! I salute you, Alayne. Doing what's right for you in the face of fear, voices, and (not the least pernicious of all) advice is really kind of a miracle. That makes me do a little dance :)

So, for me, there is a trick to not feeling bad, or as I experience it, feeling self-hatred. I haven't been able to stop it altogether, of course - I think that's impossible, or nearly so - but I notice it pretty soon after it starts these days. Like sometimes, within milliseconds. And so the trick is to just walk away from the self-hating thought. I don't indulge, I don't engage. I put my attention on something else.

My teacher likes to say (all the time): The quality of your life is determined by the focus of your attention. I find that's true - self-hatred only has the juice I give it.

Also, lots of people don't even believe in mistakes ;)

Becky said...

No-mistakes is an excellent approach. It's not a mistake about the ex-friend; it's a learning, and it's your chance to not beat yourself up about it, instead of doing the same-old-same-old of thinking "I'm a terrible person because of ____." The less you heap coals on your own head, - it's amazing how better everything seems to happen. (Except your grammar!)

Alayne said...

Thanks dear ones! You both are wonderful.

simone said...

I can totally sympathize with you about your ex-friend. I've decided not to feel guilty about stuff like that--so very often it's not about me. . . but about them. So, easier to devote my (at times limited) energies towards my own stuff and let go. Letting go is so very freeing! Happy 2008, A! Can't wait to see you!