Unravel and Begin Again

By Jenn Dwyer on December 3, 2013

knitting

“WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE”

A few weeks ago, as the days started getting colder and shorter, I thought to myself “Wouldn’t it be awesome to learn how to knit?” I started picturing in my head all of the beautiful scarves that I would be rocking this winter. I got excited and I mean, how hard could it be, right?

In hindsight, if I wanted to be rocking all these hand knit scarves by now, I probably should have started knitting this time last year. I’ve tried several patterns, I’ve worked my way through knitting, pearling and all the fun stuff in between. I won’t bore you with the details but what I will say is this: it’s been a very imperfect process. I’ve stitched my scarf – yup, still on my first one – and I’ve had to unravel it completely at least ten times. The stitches don’t match up or I mess up big time on one row and don’t know how to back track so I just unravel the whole thing and begin again.

Sounds frustrating and at times it is. This explains why I gave up knitting for a full two weeks. If it can’t be perfect, why bother?

And there it is again, my little perfectionist taking me out. I’ve seen it happen over and over again in my life.

A year ago, I was really passionate about handstands. I went to an awesome weekend workshop with some girlfriends and was ready to master them. I got down to practicing and slowly but surely realized that handstands weren’t coming to me as quickly as my two friends seemed to be getting them. I didn’t exactly approach my handstands in a “yogic” way. My ego was front and center. My Type-A personality had me forcing with a red face, zero breath and tight lips. My quest for perfection on my mat left me feeling frustrated to say the least. They weren’t coming easy at all, so I abandoned them all together. My commitment to the process quickly wavered when it didn’t turn out as perfectly as I thought it would.

And so is the case in my writing. I’m not where I thought I would be and getting paid work as a writer is proving to be difficult. Have I pulled up my socks, gotten down to work and put even more effort into my writing? Nope. I’ve almost completely abandoned it aside from this weekly post on The Baptiste Blog.

Ah-ha. Wherever You Go, There You Are.

It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I’m programmed to focus on the destination instead of the journey. In knitting, I want the beautiful scarf around my neck. In writing, I want the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list. In yoga, I want the perfect inversion practice. In life, I want it all. If I’m not getting to where I think I’m going as fast as I want to get there, I give up completely.  No wonder I’m stuck.

With this awareness, I’ve decided to take a step forward and I’ve recommitted to my knitting. Sounds so small, but I assure you this little step is about much more than just knitting. I’m sure I’ll screw up again and I’m positive that the process won’t be perfect, but I’m committed to following through with my little scarf. More importantly, I’m committed to shifting my vision from looking at my shortcomings to seeing that there is beauty and growth in the process.

The beauty I see at the moment is simple: I can always begin again.

No matter how bad my row of stitches turns out or how sidetracked I get in my practice or how lost I get trying to navigate the world as a writer, it’s never too late to regroup and start over.

I can always unravel the yarn. I don’t have to know where I’m heading, or have the perfect steps mapped out, I just have to put one stitch in front of another, take it step by step, breath by breath and trust the process. If I get to a dead end, as I have in my knitting several times, it’s simply an opportunity to reevaluate and build on a fresh foundation.

If you feel lost or have reached a dead end in some area of your life – don’t get stuck there.

Let yourself unravel and simply begin again.

  • Diane Clement

    Thanks Jenn. This post made me pick up a guitar this weekend … and I am inspired to begin again!