Stasia's Place Of Grace


Monday, August 05, 2002

Doing Things By Heart


I forgot to mention yesterday that the socks I'm working on are the first ones I've knit by heart, without having to refer to my pattern, which is found here.

I'm really excited about this, because it means I can:

  • Knit wherever I may find myself, as long as I have needles and yarn, or a place to purchase them.
  • Knit socks for folks I may meet, or folks back at home, knowing only their shoe size.
  • Knit when I am old and gray and blind and in a nursing home.
  • Knit under times of severe stress, to relax myself, without getting bogged down with instructions.
  • Knit at Starbucks without being too obvious.
  • Knit in the car with no obvious place to set a pattern sheet.


Today I signed off as ListMom of the Spindlers Yahoo! discussion group.

I created the group 17 months ago. It has grown to 700 members, with a full volunteer staff of people who dedicate a lot of time to running it. (Theresa, over there in my messages box, is one of the wonderful helpers! XOX Theresa!)

Spindlers has contests, events, and volunteer projects. It has a sub-group, the FiberFairies, which sends stuff to needy or deserving members. It has lots of vendors who are featured on the List in return for offering members prizes or discounts. It was a LOT of work for me to lead.

In one day, I'd get messages from members saying, "Thanks so much for the List! It is like a family and it means the world to me!" to others that said, "You suck, your rules suck, and I'm outta' here!" I'd get compliments on my diplomatic handling of problems, and five minutes later I'd get messages calling my corrective measures "flames" (usually when the person being corrected was receiving a reprimand for flaming on the List).

I like to think I gave the project the best of what was in my heart. It makes my heart sing to know that the group helped a small farmer whose barn burned down, by sending their family generous financial donations... that we helped disadvantaged members learn to spin by sending them free supplies... that we put socks made of handspun yarn on the feet of orphans, and hats made of handspun yarn on the heads of U.S. veterans... that we congratulated members on significant achievements by sending them what they loved most - a new handspindle! And I love that we created a safe place and a family of support for people who didn't have either.

I'd wanted to "retire" a month ago but Nan, the new and wonderful ListMom, was in the process of moving, so I couldn't. Unfortunately, the last few weeks were spent dealing with a few unkind people, and a couple of problems I didn't need, healthwise, to have to handle. I could've dealt with things better, I know... but I was tired. In the future, I'll listen to my heart when it tells me, "Your time here has ended," and I'll get a substitute to take my place if necessary.

Though it's weary, my heart rejoices that Spirit inspired me to create Spindlers, and that some people were helped because it existed.


I haven't spoken to my parents in... well, longer than the past two Christmases, I know that. And they have made little effort to contact me. Trying to deal with people who aren't well was making me unwell. A therapist "gave me permission" to allow myself not to feel guilty for not wanting them in my life anymore, and I began to make great strides forward in terms of achieving happiness in life.

My mother is now attempting to contact me. She left a letter in my mailbox, driving it up here instead of mailing it, and then calling afterwards to tell me it was there. Then she e-mailed, asking if we could get together.

My heart is telling me, "Look at how you feel before you decide what to do. You are full of anxiety again, just thinking about having to deal with her. You are stressed, knowing she was driving past your house and thinking of how you would have reacted had you run into her on the street. You are not happy. You have no evidence that she has changed, and judging from her letter, she hasn't."

Do I miss things about her? Well, yes, I miss the parties she would have where my husband and I would have great conversations with very interesting, artistic and multicultural folks... but good cocktail parties are hardly a sound reason to spend time with someone who makes you feel like a slug, and a dried out slug on a hot sidewalk at that.

I think I'll "do this by heart," too. You can forgive, and you can try to forget, but that doesn't mean you have to dive right into the whirlpool again.

The heart is wise. It can memorize, it can rejoice, and it can protect you when you are quiet and take the time to listen to it. I hope you will live your life by heart.

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Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

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