Christmas has snuck up on me this year. Here we are 3 days before Christmas and my usual holiday tasks are largely undone. My staircases is without garland, no presents are wrapped, and there is a decided lack of cheery tins filled with my traditional homemade peanut-brittle. What is up?
Clearly my focus has been on something else, whether it’s been the COVID situation, missing my daughters, or the health of my business, it’s definitely not been on cultivating the holiday spirit.
That’s bad. Not in an existential way, but bad because I’ve allowed myself to be robbed of the joy I usually feel this time of year. It’s all too easy to blame outside forces, but I have to look at it honestly and recognize that this is a situation I have brought on myself.
I am reminded of the folktale in which a wise man tells his grandson about two wolves fighting inside himself. One is evil—this wolf is fear, anger, resentment, and regret. The other wolf is good – he is joy, peace, love, serenity, generosity, and faith.
“The same fight is going on inside you, my child,” he said, “inside all of us.”
Wide-eyed, the boy asked, “Which one will win, Grandfather?”
The old man said simply “The one we feed.”
I am guilty of feeding the wrong wolf, adding worry, and perfectionism to the list.
When you step back and look, all of the bad wolf’s emotions are about things that have happened to us in the past, or things we fear might happen to us in the future.
The antidote, of course, is a mindful focus on right now, this moment. This beautiful perfect moment in which we are alive and healthy and safe. With a roof over our head and a host of people who love and care for us. Even if they cannot be with us.
Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift. That’s why we call it The Present.
As knitters, our ability to open the present and live in it is right at hand. We can give ourselves a few mindful moments in which we focus on nothing but the feel of the yarn, the sound of the needles, and the soothing rhythm of each stitch.
I have a several simple things on needles that help me focus and be mindful. First is a little hat that I’m knitting up for a new concept next month. It’s beautifully soft yarn on circular needles that is a treat for my hands. The other is a simple ribbed cloud of pale pink alpaca that makes me happy just to look at it. Even when I’m not knitting, its tiny sparkles twinkle me into a good mood.
I need to remind myself to take advantage of these opportunities for mindfulness each day, feeding the good wolf and finding joy, peace and serenity, truth and faith. I hope you will find space in your day to enjoy The Present.
With much love ~Ellen
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