Friday, February 19, 2010

29 Gifts For My Uncle Bruce

I had a completely different post planned than what I am going to write about today, but what I am finding out about this blogging business is:

1.  It's harder than you think to put down something everyday or even every week when you are not "feeling it."
2.  The universe has a way of interfering with even the best laid plans and strongest intentions.
3.  You really have to WANT to do this and be clear as to why you are doing this in order for it to "work".

Well, I have moved a great distance within myself in the last week thinking about those 3 things...I have been trying to prioritize and organize my thoughts, my time, and my energy.  My uncle passed away very suddenly on Valentine's Day.  Receiving that kind of call sends you into a vulnerable and reflective least it does for me.  And as always, I come out on the other side of it with some bit of insight into myself and others that I didn't have before.      

One of the things you will hear me refer to often is "walking my talk"...I think we all know what that means to each of us individually?  (And I hope this all comes out clear, by the way, because I am pulling thoughts from many different directions, but I have a pretty good sense of where I am heading with this, so please bear with me. lol:)   Okay, so walking my talk...trying to balance or match my inside with my outside...there are many ways to describe it.

On the inside, my heart is open and my love runs deep.  I am a super sensitive person (really to a fault) and giving to others and being there for them is extremely important to me.  YET...(you knew there had to be a yet or a but)...on the outside, I find myself struggling to show that love and give to others because I have way too many "everyday" things to get done just to keep my own life going before I can get to others.  Yikes!  That's not what I call walking my talk.

And this isn't intended to be a beat up session on myself, by the way.  Just putting it out there so I can understand it better.

I went to see my family as soon as I heard of my uncle's death.  And as you would expect, we laughed and cried and shared stories and so on.  One of the things that came out of all of that was a statement by my Aunt Becky.  She said that Bruce "really tried hard to be better"...his whole life.  And I say that counts for something, maybe everything.

Nothing like death to bring us closer to the life we are trying to live.  Brings it all into perspective, doesn't it?

The life I am trying to live is one of authenticity.  One of the quickest ways for me to get to that authentic place in myself is giving to their time of need, in their time of joy, in their struggles, in their celebrations.  I just feel more in balance with myself when I am thinking of others.  And of course because knitting to me is as much a part of me as breathing, what better way for me to express myself than through my knitting?

But, as I started out this post with...the 3 things I have learned about blogging so far...I realized they apply to my knitting as well!

Aha!  Revelation.  LOVE this stuff.  Really I do.

Yes, that was a light bulb moment for sure: 

1.  It's harder to take time to knit for yourself and others everyday, or even every week, when you're not feeling it, or when you busy your life so much with other things there IS no time.
2.  The universe has a way of interfering with even the best laid knitting plans and strongest intentions of giving.
3.  You really have to WANT to knit and be clear as to why you are knitting for others in order for it to "work".

Oh, and there's a #4 to add to the list:

4.  Ironically, giving to strangers sometimes feels easier than giving to loved ones because we have fewer attachments to them than we have to family and friends.

We can relate to those we don't know without our baggage, free of obligation.  With those close to us, our feelings are more complicated.  We can fall into taking them for granted, whether we see them every morning, just on holidays, or just when someone dies.  And when I tapped into that feeling...the first thought that came to me was-- how I wish I had knit something for my uncle.  I know...odd thing to feel.  Why was that so important at this point?  Where did that come from? 

Well, I realized that the "thing" I cherish most in this world, my needles and yarn and the process of "making something from nothing"...the art and beauty I see in it...I simply have not shared with those I am closest to in life, except on a very limited basis.  And that means I have not truly shared myself with them then. (And you don't know how that hurts my heart and how hard that is to say out loud)  Oh yes, I have knit baby blankets and booties, scarves and hats, a sweater or two for my daughter...but the truth is, the more knitting has become a part of my professional life, the less it plays a part in my personal life.  And even before that, I would get an idea or see a pattern and think oh, so and so would LOVE that...but I would never get around to making it for them.

So about the time I came to all of this, I made another discovery while I was online one day...

29-Day Giving Challenge-Changing Lives One Gift at a Time

You see how this goes?  You set one thing in motion inside of yourself, try to make that one thing real on the outside, and voila...other things suddenly pop up that relate or give you the next step and you're off and running.

So, if you'd like, look over this web page for ideas and inspiration, but my challenge to you (and of course myself) will be 29 Gifts to those you love/care for/cherish...The idea that Cami Walker, author of the book 29 Gifts:  How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, came up with was giving with consciousness and intention to others... and it could be anyone, including total strangers.  Of course this is a beautiful idea, but I would like match my inside with my outside, and so I am making it more personal.

Now of course I am not sure that I am going to knit 29 Gifts in 29 Days, however, teaching someone to knit, sharing a wonderful handpaint yarn with someone, offering a special pattern, helping someone when they are stuck on get the point...these are all things I can give.  Mine is going to be related to my knitting in some way.  But more importantly, it's going to be from my heart and done with awareness.

Make yours ANYTHING that feels right to you.  What would help you match your inside and outside? And obviously the first 29 gifts and 29 days are a beginning.

I am simply suggesting a shift in our mind-set.  In giving, one receives.  I know we've all heard that.  How can it be authentic, not just an expectation or obligation?

I didn't get to spend a lot of time with my uncle in my adult years...I didn't give him as much of my time as I probably should have...I didn't knit for him...BUT... I did love him...and I did learn from him...and I love my family...this is dedicated to Bruce and all that he tried to be and to Buddy and Nicolle and Di and Amy...for who you are and for your courage and strength.  Bruce loved you all so much.  To my mom, my aunts and uncles, my cousins...for your struggles and triumphs and for being in my life.  Thank you.  I see you all... and love you even more.

Here's to all of us making our way and learning as we go.  Stay open.  It's the only way to go.

Peace, out Uncle.


  1. I am so sorry to hear about your uncle, Donna. I lost my Dandad on Valentine's day as well. 29 things is a touching idea. Hugs.

  2. I read your post on fb sorry for your loss as well. Tough times. Thinking of you my friend.