After last night’s epiphany about why I stress myself out and how it holds me back from working, I talked it over some more with Erik and decided that I really need to try to live more in the present in my work — that is, I should work with no thought at all of the future, thinking only of what I’m doing at the moment. Being the way I am, this will translate into minimal worry and anxiety, but likely won’t make me lose all thought of goals and standards. I’m going to give this a try for now. I feel amazingly lighter and easier already, just knowing I don’t have to worry anymore about whether I am making the wrong choice all the time. Thank goodness for that. I wrote this morning in my pages that if life is like an onion, I feel like everything I’ve learned and discovered recently has been only lines etched into the outer layer — and that now, I’ve peeled back that layer and have moved on to the next one. Life feels completely different.
Today’s work day: morning pages, then a morning spent in pursuing my crafting entirely in the moment, not stressing myself out with whether I was making enough products for the FabMo exhibition. Drawing on what I’d read in books — but not actually using a book — about making drawstrings, I made a bag with a drawstring all by myself! Very proud of it I was, until I realized I hadn’t finished the inside seams, pinked them, and then accidentally nicked the body of the bag with the pinking shears. Alas! I was trying vainly to stitch up the hole when I realized an appliqué or patch would do just as well, so I painstakingly stitched one to the bag, and then read Sudo to figure out how to make a yo-yo to stick on top. So my drawstring project also ended up teaching me how to make yo-yos! Not a bad project, though it did take a couple of hours (that was the hand stitching of the patch), and it looks very cute:
After that it was lunchtime, and then Erik and I set out for an afternoon of errands and climbing. We stopped at UPS, Lucky, and the post office, then spent an hour at Bridges. I climbed for the first time since my ankle injury — making it my third proper climbing session ever — and remembered how incredibly difficult it is! But I did top out once, terrified and quaking, heart pounding as though I were facing mortal danger — which, after all, I kind of felt like I was. After I was finished climbing, I stretched a bit, then began making a sketch of the bouldering walls. I got the basics down and was getting to putting in the holds when Erik wanted to leave. So I will finish that sketch another time.
We went to Trader Joe’s and bought the cucumbers for my cold Korean-style vegetables for Shra’s engagement party, and then drove to our new El Cerrito pickup site and got our CSA box. Naturally there were cucumbers in it; I’d forgotten to check before we left. Ah well. We then headed over to Williams Natural Grocery, where I was eager to look for bulk lavender, camomile, and mung beans for filling my eye pillows, but while we were there Erik developed a migraine and we had to leave before I had finished exploring the bulk section. (In the part I did look through, there were none of the things I needed, so I hope when I return I will find the items in the other area!) By the time we got home I realized I was also quite tired, thirsty, hungry, and hot, so I stayed home too, made food, and read Madeleine L’Engle. I’ve started on the first of her Crosswicks journals, A Circle of Quiet, and I’m enjoying it.
I read and love so much L’Engle that returning to her writing is like returning to an old friend. Her style is distinctive, but even more so, her outlook. There is so much great love and awe and emotion in her writing — almost too much so, I sometimes think, but perhaps in my considerably shorter life (she wrote Circle when she was in her mid-fifties) I just have yet to experience the full range — and so much truth. She included a story about life in her village, which she first let stand as memoir, and then revealed as a fictionalized event, giving some of her reasons and reasoning. One of the characters was a disagreeable conservative who said he cared nothing for a new family in town, and ended up nearly sacrificing himself to save their children. This kind of paradox of a person reminds me exactly why I was (and why Vicky Austin was) so intrigued by Zachary Gray in L’Engle’s Austin books; he’s an ambiguous character, seemingly bad and yet with real redeeming qualities. However… there is something about L’Engle that I do sometimes dislike: her penchant for making absolute pronouncements about good and evil, or right and wrong. Is it my newly realized (post-Mere Christianity) understanding that there is a Christian way of seeing the world that portrays things as dualistic conflict? L’Engle is not the same kind of Christian as Lewis (otherwise I’d never love her work so dearly); hers is an ecumenical Christianity with a loving God, and on the face of it, I can accept her faith and even subscribe to it. She recognizes that life can be ambiguous, that mistakes and weakness are in everyone and are not just sins, that physical pleasures can be lovely, and that evil and suffering must be faced straight-on instead of tiptoed around. And yet I suppose I just don’t like absolute pronouncements. I’ll have to find an example, later when I go through the book again.
I have begun reading Sonia Choquette’s book on finding your heart’s desire. I first heard of the book I think in Julia Cameron, and was able to buy it at the Pinole Library yesterday for fifty cents. She is a little more New Agey than I’m comfortable with, but much of her advice is very good. I wish I could give the book to certain friends but one cannot force these things.
I may get more work done tonight, I may not. Erik seems to be up and about again — though slowly — and it’s finally beginning to get cool in the house. I feel peaceful. As I said, it’s just short of miraculous how much my outlook has changed since I’ve decided to stop worrying about the future every time I work (or think of working).