Soft music fills my little studio right now as I sit back and type from my big, black office chair. There are sounds of the ocean coming from the speakers and the melody is, honestly, very soothing to my somewhat frazzled soul. But as I take a breath and look around, I realize that I am slowly carving out space and time in which to do some hard work of the heart.
It has been two months (this Saturday) since I first turned my days, my work, my family, and my fairly predictable schedule up side down. Eight weeks doesn't seem that long, but to me it has felt like a lifetime already. I am measuring that by the amount of thought, joy, anxiety, fear, worry, change, and general confusion and self-loathing that has consumed me over the last 60 days.
It has always been helpful for me to look back and take inventory in order to get an accurate assessment of where I am at this moment in time, so I am taking a much needed break from the above laundry list of emotions.
I am coming up for air. I need to get some perspective.
Since March 21st I have knit and organized, moved and grown, dreamed, procrastinated and planned in some combination. I have to confess that there have also been plenty of times over the last few weeks where I have sat still and silent staring at a blank computer screen or an empty pair of knitting needles and a brand new, untouched skein of yarn. My design notebook has often been laying open in front of me telling me that I am supposed to be accomplishing something, but I don't seem to get past that point.
Many sleepless nights have been a constant reminder as well that my brain is working over time. Everything has felt overwhelming and even the smallest tasks seem monumental at times.
That's the truth of it...the truth and the downside of my decisions. The consequences of change.
But there is another truth on the flip side.
There always is.
That truth is that I have been moving along every day in the direction I need to grow my business and my self and that I have been pretty hard on myself.
This is a journey of a different kind; unlike any other in my life.
"It's an invitation to do the real work. The kind that doesn't pay a dime, but leaves you with a sturdy shelter by the end. It's your own sweet self with whom you must rendezvous."
It's like trying to combine two worlds.
Does that resonate with anyone else? It sure did with me when I read it. It was advice for someone, from a columnist that I read religiously, and it hit me in all the right places.
The real work?
I thought I had been doing that much of my life because I absolutely put myself into whatever I was doing 100%, no matter what. I owned the job, the tasks at hand, the purpose and the positions I have been in. I felt a part of the work and the work came from a part of me.
But I think I know one of the reasons now why it is so important that I get this one right, and that reason occurred to me during one of those sleepless nights.
She is 19, tall, brunette, talented, intelligent, and gorgeous inside and out.
My sweet and amazing daughter is just finishing up her first year of college. She is an art/photography major. She has been wrestling with the decision of what she wanted to go to college for since she was in 8th grade (no really-they, the school, started pushing her for those answers way back then).
Kendall is an academic and soulful combination of left and right brain thinking. She has been equally interested in math and science as much as painting and taking pictures. That's just who she is; always has been.
Is there a way to combine the two? Well of course there is. What would that job or career look like? I have no idea. It's really hers to own and decipher and plan. I simply know that she did not come to her decision lightly about her course of study and ultimately about following the work of her heart and soul.
I recently asked her to take some 'artful' pictures (well, my business is The Art of Yarn after all) of some finished knit items that I might use for patterns, business cards, a website, and logo. I carefully explained my vision to her and how these pictures would be used. I handed over a dozen finished projects in a variety of colors to get her started. I needed to see if this was what I wanted my business image to look like. Pretty important stuff actually. I completely trusted her and I was not disappointed.
In what seemed like no time, she was sending me a sampling of the photographs she created based on what I had asked her to do.
It was simply amazing to me. I could stand over my knitting with a camera all day and not even come close to the beauty and quality of the images that she produced. It's not just that she has a great camera and is learning all of the technical foundations that make a great photographer, but she has the passion to match.
Kendall has watched and listened to her dad and I over the course of her lifetime. In fact personality-wise, she is very much like her dad. However, whether she realizes it or not, there is no doubt she has internalized much of what she has seen in me and the work I have done and the examples I have set, both good and not-so-good.
This most recent venture of mine is no exception. In fact, it may just be the most meaningful one yet because it seems we are walking parallel paths right now in so many ways...at least from where I sit.
She believes in me. She believes in who I am. I do not for one second take that lightly or without regard. Oh how grateful I am for her love and acceptance. I want to continue to show her that her self-awareness and courage will take her where she needs to go. Life will rise up and meet her if she is willing to put in the time and do the hard work.
It's not just about making the decision. That really was the easy part. It's living it that will be the real test.
She is preparing to go out in the world and do things on her own terms. Living a creative life is not necessarily at the top of the easy to do list, but this is what she has chosen. Why? Because, like I said about myself in this post, no one told me I couldn't, and the same is true for Kendall. Her dad and I never told her she couldn't.
The self-doubt and frustration that I am dealing with right now comes from living almost 43 years to her 19. I have had more disappointments and heartache. Life has left more of an impression on my soul. But as always, she has more to teach me in any given moment than I do for her.
All I have to do is look at her art and I am reminded that a beginning is a beginning, no matter what age, no matter what the circumstances.
Buck up! Take heart. Show courage, even when you aren't feeling it. Be sincere. Own your truth.
All lessons I hope that my daughter has learned from me. She is now reflecting them back to me and I absolutely have to take the challenge, for both of us. The details are sorting themselves out, even as I type this...we will both get there, wherever 'there' is for each of us.
All I know is that seeing my knitting and her photography combined made me feel like all was right with world, at least for the moment. And that's saying a lot these days.