I’ve seen photos on blogs and on facebook of post it notes or notes taped to a wall or pinned to a cork board. Brightly colored paper, notebook paper, index cards all work very well. I’ve taken this up as a way of tracking present quilts, quilterly ideas, blog posts and I’m thinking articles and book ideas. Yes, I’ve said it. I’m going to write a book, or two. More about that in a future post.When I started thinking about what the next post would be the immediate thought was “gratitude”. Gratitude felt like a natural followup to generosity. There is so much to be grateful for however, the note writing started, in an effort to honor that, “love your neighbor as yourself” is today’s focus. I promise this will not be a lecture on how to take care of other people. As evidenced in yesterdays post quilters are generous people so who needs that reminder anyway.
I’m going with, “as you love yourself”. Shocking. Simply shocking I say. We’re not supposed to love ourselves. But wait. Yes, we are supposed to love ourselves. It’s important to love ourselves. It is in loving ourselves that we can truly begin to love others. This is, in part, a response to my own experience of a very dry Desert Time over the last 6/7 months. Not being able, not wanting to create has just been brutal!
A list developed during this mornings note taking
1. Down time
Each person is different, this down time, need for space takes on different nuances for each person. I’m going to tell on myself here, which, if you’ve been reading my other blog for any length of time you know I do very well. When I get overwhelmed I need to be alone. Please allow me to restate this slightly differently: there are moment when I’m so emotionally drained I need to be by myself to recharge my batteries. Surprise!!! I’m an introvert meaning that I process life internally. Whoops! I like to teach and I can be irritatingly perky. And I do mean irritatingly. So after a particularly rough day teaching I needed to be alone, just for a little while. Well, due to the circumstances (where/how I was teaching) and my brain just going on auto pilot. Well lets just say I’m pretty sure I’ll never teach there again. I need to learn to articulate my needs differently and let those “in-charge” know why I need to be alone.
2. Do something creative
This is essential and it does not need to be quilting. In fact. Don’t quilt. Doodle, collage, paint, write fiction (quilterly fiction if you’re so inclined), keep a blog, hand-write a journal. Draw your own personal fabric line, there are several companies on-line that will print! Take a bajillion photo’s. Gotta love digital technology for this. Go for a walk in your favorite place. Hello beach. Pray.
3. Say NO
This is hard. This is the most freeing thing ever. We’re asked to do all kinds of good things. Important things. We can’t do them all, we want to but physically and emotionally we just can not. Saying no makes a choice that sometimes we’re not so keen to make. However making these choices will help us in the long run. Overbooked? This is where saying “I can not right now, this person might be available” or “I’d love to do this next year” are essential.
Most of us as professional quilt makers work from home and saying no becomes essential lest other peoples needs interfere with work.
6. Forgive yourself
You know that tale of woe I told you about in “Down Time”. It happened. It’s done. I’ve learned. I am moving on. I know how to handle things going forward and particularly not to behave like the Diva I am! NOT. Letting go frees me to take the experience and not obsess about it.
7. Listen to your inner critic, but don’t be ruled by said critic
We have an inner critic for a reason. This inner critic helps us know when to get out the old seam ripper or let it go. If you’re not certain ask. There are plenty of quilters who will help determine if that seam ripper needs to make an appearance.
It helps to know your audience, who are you creating for and what are the expectations?
Now there is a huge difference between our inner critic and the negative voice that says, “I’m not good enough”, “Did you see that bobble over there?”, “You don’t have enough experience to do this”, and the list goes on. Those voice need to be corralled or drowned out in some way. Loud music helps when I’m quilting, a friend listens to books, positive affirmations (reminders) taped to the wall. Deep breathing.
Celebrate the wins, whatever that looks like to you. Share it on facebook on your blog, in your home. Have coffee with friends. (PS that’s not about the coffee, it’s about the friendship) Take delight in doing something well. And remember, Thank God for the gift of this particular talent.
9. Try new ways of doing the same old thing
I frequently share with quilters that there are as many ways of doing this particular thing as there are quilters. A quick search will bring up all kinds of ways of tackling a quilting technique. Listen. This is the hard part. The immediate internal response might be a firm clear, “No way I’m not doing that!” and it might be that very technique that will work the best in this situation. I said, “no” to machine quilting for a very long time. MMM things certainly have changed.
10. Wear fun socks or do something goofy
I wear fun socks when I teach. I have weird feet (the bones don’t quite go the way they are supposed to. I wear fun socks and walk around the classroom barefoot. Happy Teacher. Happy students!
Dance! Find a swing set. (When I was a little kid I’d sing Karen Carpenter songs while swinging.)
11. Remember not everything can be controlled
I’d love for this to be self-explanatory but it isn’t. We can’t control traffic. We can’t control the weather. We can’t control baseball. We can not always control the outcome of a quilt. To quote a friend, “maybe this quilt has taught you everything it needs to and it’s ok to let it go.” And sometimes we can’t control our own reaction. We’re not perfect. We need to work on improving, and that we can do.
12. Grief happens
Sometimes our creativity, quilting, artistry comes crashing to a halt when there is a significant moment of grief in our life. We lose a loved one, someone very close to us, our best friend. There are other ways that grief enters our life: illness, loss of a friendship, job whatever. Take time to grieve. There is no easy remedy. Don’t try to rush it or place timelines and goals for being done with grief. Grieve.
13. Be Kind Be kind to others, this is a kindness to yourself as well. I became very particularly aware of how my comments might effect other quilters, they might hear what I say. If I have something positive and encouraging to say, I’ll blurt it out. If not, I keep my yap shut.
Be kind to yourself, this is a kindness to others too. When someone complements your work say thank you. A simple thank you.
We are all worth loving and being loved. Love yourself makes loving others much easier as it develops our empathy.