Ball of Yarn

I’m still reeling over the events in my life since I wrote my last post in October.  It was as if writing about residences for seniors was to foreshadow events in my own life.  My former roommate’s tumble down the stairs set off a series of shifts in fortune; the end result of which is that I, myself, am now living in a community that features Bingo on Tuesday nights.  Here am I, in an impossibly miniscule apartment, planning my sixty-fifth birthday.  The stage has been set, as it were, for me to chronicle my adventures in the world of getting older.

To read the tragicomic elements of my transition (still in process), you will have to wait until I’m ready to gently open the wound and look at it.  Meanwhile, I am kept busy, going through things, deciding what has to go so that my existence will be less encumbered; what to keep.  I mean that literally – you know, stuff. Physical stuff.  Boxes of it.  As in any move – and I also realize the huge metaphorical level on which this is true.  On the spiritual healing side, I have been reading Marci Shimoff’s book about unconditional love and a book called Take Off from Within by Ervin Seale.  Both of these books are telling me to send myself positive messages.  Meanwhile, I am learning to knit.

I am not learning to knit in any conventional way.  I am actually trying to remember how to knit.  The last succesful piece I completed was a baby sweater for my son, who is now in his forties.  I now seem not to have any idea how to do it, but I’m sure I can remember if I try.  I find needlework to be a very centering practice.  I’ve done a lot of crochet in intervening years.  Expecting some enjoyment from the practice, I rolled the skein of yarn that was to become a scarf, into a ball.  I cast on the stitches (see?  I remembered how to do that).  I knit a row.  Then all hell broke loose.  Not in my environment, in my mind.  And on the needles.  I dropped stitches and added stitches where I didn’t want them.  The thing was shapeless and full of holes.  I couldn’t remember for the life of me how to pearl.  My self-talk regarding the matter was sharp-tongued and relentless.

“I can’t do this,”  I thought.  “How stupid!”  “This is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen!”  And so forth.  I described the piece in writing as “a shroud for a dead colony of sponges.”  After several self-inflicted blows to my self-respect,  I noticed what I was doing.  Because, you see, I’d been reading about the need for positive self-talk each evening, even while I was trying to remember how to knit.  I’d take a deep breath.  “You can do this,” I told myself.  “It just takes patience.  And attention.”  I got to practice rolling yarn into a ball twice; because I pulled the piece out twice, again setting off tirades of mind chatter.  I even went through a moment of very real fear that I actually could not knit a scarf.  Then I took a deep breath and started over.

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