I've really been looking forward to the warmer weather. This spring has been a long time coming, but I think it's finally here. I have been anticipating it so long, looking for tiny buds on trees as I pulled my coat tight around my neck, and I got thinking about the balance between anticipation and mindfulness.
Mindfulness, the practice of living in the moment, is obviously a good thing, I mean, we shouldn't borrow stress about the future, or ruminate on past mistakes or unhappinesses. When we are mindful we appreciate the here and now - enjoy our current experience rather than taking it for granted and looking only to the next thrill. But what about anticipation? Anticipation is kind of the opposite of living in the moment, isn't it. I think that's okay too. There's no harm in looking forward to something nice. In fact, I think it's essential--especially if the moment you're living in is kinda rotten. Anticipation of a relaxed evening or fun weekend can be just the motivation we need to persevere and work through that rough spot or boring time we're having just now.
In knitting we balance mindfulness and anticipation all the time. There is process and there is product, and very few knitters focus on only one or the other. The process portion is where we find mindfulness. It's the pleasure we take in the feel of the yarn and the rhythm of the needles as fabric grows in our hands. It's totally about right now, but most every knitter has a goal in mind. Mixed with the pleasure of the knitting is the anticipation of the completed project - the excitement about what we're making and the thrill of wearing or giving our creation. It's natural to anticipate a happy future and be excited about it.
Studies show that anticipation is not only natural, but healthy, as it's tied to optimism and a positive view of the future. It also helps us curb our need for immediate gratification. By setting a series of goals and rewards for ourselves, we train mind to stick with a task. We get more done, and we're happier about it because we have this sense of having earned that anticipated reward. It could be something big, or something small - it doesn't matter. The anticipation of my morning coffee and some quiet knitting time is what hauls me out of bed each day. I tell myself that I can cast on a new project when the one on my needles is seamed and all the ends woven in. Anticipation can be some pretty powerful motivation, eh?
I am looking forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here