Mistakes are a part of engaging with life.
I’ve been knitting a cardigan for Reade. Knitting is one of the tangible things that I like to do with my hands. I like the feel of the yarn between my fingers, the way that the process has visible results in a relatively short time frame, and the physical action helps to free my brain up to pay attention to other things.
Except when I pay too much attention to our latest read aloud and find myself 10 centimeters past a mistake.
I’ve been exploring some of the possible ways that fixing a knitting mistake might give us insight into Practices of Repair for our Spiritual Health.
If you haven’t read the earlier parts of this series, you can find them at these links:
1. Mistakes are going to happen if we are alive.
2. Opening up a mistake to repair it feels vulnerable.
3. Checking in regularly means less time between the Mistake and the Practice of Repair.
So, with knitting mistakes there are a few things that I could do.
- I could throw the sleeve into the basket and leave it there forever. Sometimes we get paralyzed and stuck because we don’t know what to do next.
- I could leave the mistake and, along with many other creators, be present to imperfection. There are lots of good reasons to be okay with things being less than perfect. In various other spots on this same cardigan I have left well enough alone. Sometimes mucking about just makes things worse.
- I could unravel all the stitches back to the row I made the mistake in and start again from there. On the sleeve I was working on, this probably would have been my quickest option.
- I could “ladder back” and redo just the stitches that need the fix. I’d never tried this method before and I wanted to have the experience. I like to learn and practice new things!
The awareness that for this very simple error there were at least four different ways to be in the process of repair jumped out at me as a significant awareness.
4. There might be more than one way to work towards healing.
Just as there were a number of options for me to consider for practicing repair on a sweater, there is usually more than one possibility towards practicing repair in our everyday lives.
Choosing the path of repair is not necessarily straightforward.
I think that it is worth noting that just because a pathway worked for one person does not mean that it is the right Practice of Repair for someone else. There are so many factors at work in each of our lives, in each of our families, in each of our histories, that playful curiosity and dialogue about next steps seems a better option than an iron-clad blueprint.
Sometimes there are potential next steps that actually would cause more trauma — either to ourselves or to another.
Listening to what is happening inside our bodies/minds/spirits and dialoguing in a safe space can help us to walk one step at a time towards a practice of repair that is healing for us and for those around us. We can bring the questions that are within us to safe spaces of conversation and dialogue to help us see what the possible consequences of a course of action might be.
Removing ourselves from judging others or comparing ourselves to someone else’s process can allow our own Practice of Repair to flourish.
There are a few other thoughts that might apply to Spiritual Health as I reflect on knitting and you can find them at the links below: