Déjà Vu, All Over Again.

Thinking out loud…

Called back to teaching, in a pinch, for a good friend, I learned a few things about myself.

I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching.  After I retired, and then after my new hip, I wondered about stepping into the classroom again, maybe just once in a while.  Thinking about going back to teaching is one thing, actually doing it is quite another.  Reality check.   But I am oh so glad I got a chance to try it out once again, and know for sure that the decision I made two years ago was the right one.

It is a matter of energy and stamina.  It is also a matter of accepting my own limitations, as well as my own changing focus.  I heard myself saying to students, “trust yourself, trust your ideas, trust your instincts.”  Those words turned around and spoke to me.  “Don’t be afraid to play out your ideas, don’t be afraid to screw it up”.  I realized I have been afraid to listen to myself, really listen.

I have been trying to force myself to keep to the path I started many years ago—to be a quilt maker, to use the quilt as my artistic expression, my voice, when in my heart I knew that I had said “it” (whatever “it” was) with my last two quilts—

“Threadbare” and… 

“Weathering Out”

I have had my “say”.  I satisfied something elusive in those last two quilts.  The passion to speak in that form is no longer tugging at me.  I can’t be finished! I thought.  I still have good ideas!  But what I don’t have is the passion to sit down and do it.

I have been sad and puzzled about that, conflicted and troubled on one hand, and on the other hand, enjoying the heck out of my (mostly) unscheduled life.  I’ve been writing, and taking lots and lots of pictures.  I have been exploring my interests without trying to make them practical.  I have been savoring life—unfettered, spontaneously, quietly, consciously, and as responsibly as I can.  That I do have passion for.  I have time for that.  I am taking my time.

So I will “cut myself some slack”, trust my instincts, and see where this leads me—playing  it out, trusting that it is the right path, mistakes, missteps and all, right now.

As I fly home across this country I am listening….really listening.

And to all the students I have ever had, I send my heartfelt thanks.


Hang Ups.

Thinking out loud…

There is what you do, and what you think you should do…where you are, and where you think you should be…who you are, and who you think you should be.  Well, at least that’s the stuff that bosses me around in my unsuspecting moments.  I blame it on a strong work ethic, learned from a long line of hard working people in hard times.

As a kid, I wondered about things a lot.  My brain was very busy thinking, figuring out things, watching.  I felt I could almost go unseen and slip into the natural world quietly and peacefully, but alert and observing.  I could lose myself in a world of books borrowed from the mobile library that regularly visited our street.  In our household, this looked like inactivity, laziness, time wasting, shirking.  So I took to going off by myself where I could be out of sight.

That was then, but I certainly internalized all that, and I still prod myself in the same way.  I’ve noticed this a lot since retirement.  Having the time to ponder, taking the time to ponder brings up an internal tug of war—this is what I want to do,  but that is what I should be doing.

The difference now is that I do not accept the self-bullying.  I hear it, but I don’t give in to it.  I know it is what we actually do that matters.  It is what I do that shows me where I am going.  As an artist, I have learned to trust this, trust myself—though not without a lot of internal questioning.

Right now I am following my instincts to explore.  I notice that it sure seems to involve a lot of yarn and knitting and fabric building.  My thoughts are beginning to turn to what this might be leading to, but it still feels too soon to jump in and nail down.

I have a lot of questions for myself, and I want to learn how to do so many things that I keep being happily pulled along in the current.

I am thoroughly enjoying making stuff!  I currently have  5 knitting projects to hand—all working with something new to me—fiber, techniques, design or color.  I switch back and forth as the spirit moves me, slowly making progress.  Some projects allow my mind to roam, some require intense focus, and some just feel good in my hands.  I am watching fabric build in my hands.  And at the end of it, there is something produced, to use, to wear, something made.