Friday, October 22, 2010

[ pash'en]

I have a 'word sign' hanging on my bathroom know one of those signs with an inspirational word that maybe you want to remind yourself of from time to time.  Like 'BELIEVE' or 'DREAM' or 'COURAGE'.  I know, cliche, but who couldn't use a little positive reinforcement, even if it is cliche?

Mine sign reads like this:

There are many things that will capture your eye, but very few will capture your heart.

It is directly behind me when I am standing at my bathroom counter.  I see this word and this definition in the mirror when I am going through my morning ritual every day.

Of all the words to choose from, what made me notice this in the store, pick it up, buy it, bring it home, and hang it on my bathroom wall?

You think I'm getting a little too in depth in my thought process, don't you?  Why in the world do I even need to bring up this trivial little item and detail about me?

Well, I'll tell you why (you knew that was coming, didn't you?)

Here are a whole lot of reasons why...

These are high school students and their teachers from Gering and Scottsbluff.  Each year, in the fall, I am invited into the Family and Consumer Science classes and the Clothing and Textile classes to teach knitting, and between both school districts, we end up putting needles and yarn in approximately 75-80 teenage hands. (some years it has been closer to 100, depending on the class sizes)

It is hard work, no doubt,  but absolutely one of the things I most look forward to every September.

The students often will also take a field trip out to Brown Sheep Co. for a tour.  I take them through the mill.  They get to see the actual process of natural fibers being spun, dyed, and packaged into yarn that they use in their projects.   This is great opportunity  for them not only to see the yarn being made, but to see something being MADE period.  The tour takes the mystery out of it and shows them that yes, someone actually makes this product with their hands, from start to finish.
Craftsmanship.  Taking pride in their work.  A product being made right here in Western Nebraska.  What an opportunity for them.  What an opportunity for me.

So, this is my passion.  Teaching others.

(And all along you thought it was knitting, right?)  :)

Did I ever have an inkling that I would teach knitting and fiber art?  Not at all.  No really.

So how DID I get so 'lucky' as to have arrived at this place in my life, this place and time and experience that allows me to do something that I am passionate about?

Actually I am not a big believer in 'luck'.

For example, frequently people will say how lucky I am to have been married to the same wonderful man for so many years.  I do appreciate the comment, but honestly, luck has nothing to do with it.  It's called work, hard work.  And when I work hard at something, that usually means I am passionate about it in some way or another.

Passion is the key ingredient in anything thing that I have done and done well in my life.

Think about it...when you put your entire being into something, whether it's just for a moment or over the course of a lifetime, things in the universe just seem aligned, don't they?  It flows.  It works.

Living passionately comes with a price though.  A big price...and here it is:  Once you tap into what you feel most strongly about and incorporate that into your daily life, you'll never be satisfied again living without passion.  Yep.  That's the deal and if you don't believe me, just think about it for a second.  It will come to you.

Most dissatisfaction and discontent in my life can be easily traced to not being in alignment with my passion.  And I am not talking about living a life of some idealistic, Norman Rockwell painting.  Not at all.  Living with passion means a lot of things, including heart ache, pain, lessons you'd rather not learn, highs and lows and a lot of WORK.

So that is why I do not buy the notion that I am just lucky to be in the place I am in my life, personally or professionally.  Nope.

I have been moving towards this moment in my marriage my entire life.

The skills to work in this business were unknowingly developed as I went along.

Being passionate in your life requires a huge belief that whatever it is, it's worth trying or doing, even if you don't know where it's taking you or where you will end up.  It's almost always a risk and there are no guarantees as to how it will turn out.  That's not the point of living passionately.  For me anyway, it truly isn't about the outcome.  It's about the 'alignment'--remember--my insides matching my outsides.  There aren't always obvious rewards.  It is what it is.  

I have found that it is better to run towards something than from something. You cannot let fear be your driving force; you truly need to have passion pulling you out of bed each day.

Do you see the smile and concentration on the those bright, beautiful faces in the pictures?  That fuels me.  That gets me out into the world every day.  It's worth doing...this business of teaching...and passing on the art of making something with your hands.

When you do something with everything you've got, well there's nothing else like it in this world. 

So I think that answers my question about how [pash'en] ended up on my bathroom wall.  I guess it's a little more than a cliche to me.

It is me.

Knit on,




  1. You certainly have the art of teaching down pat. Those of us who have the good fortune to learn from you, so appreciate your passion and hard work! You are also a gifted writer!! Jan

  2. Thank you so much Jan. Getting to know you and sharing your 'light bulb' moments, in class, and in life, is a sincere pleasure for me. Thank you for your support and your friendship.

  3. Yes, yes, and yes! True joy, true heart-ache...and worth every minute of it. Having followed my heart to work doing something for which I have great passion, I can't imagine living any other way!

  4. Wonderfully written, Donna! I, too, find much of my discontentment stemming from the fact that I am not in alignment with what and who I am passionate about....This blog post gives me a lot to think about! :) Thanks for your insight, as well as your patience and encouragement while teaching me to knit!

  5. Yes, Jenn! You know exactly what I am talking about, don't you? You are living it right now and I so respect you for all of your hard work.

    And Debbie, trying to stay in alignment with yourself is a huge challenge and one that is worth the effort for sure. You are up to the task though. :) I find it really helpful to surround myself with people that are doing just that...loving their life and living their passion. And we can begin right where we special tools required! ;) Thanks for your honesty.