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Knitting as active rest

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Knitting as active rest

Meet Malcolm, our new puppy.  We were very lucky to find  him, and the Saturday after Thanksgiving we brought home an 8 week old bundle of cuddles and happiness.  I still miss my Dorey every day but this little guy is working very hard to fill the hole in my  heart.  He is also working very hard to understand the secrets of my knitting bag, and why it fascinates me.  He already knows that yarn is not very tasty, but he seems to lack a discriminating palate.  I have never had a brand new puppy before, so there is a lot for me to learn. It's only been a few days, but I can see that he's pretty much just a furry cyclone destroying everything in his path until he collapses. 

That's not exactly true.  Malcolm gets a good bit of focused exercise running around outside exploring his new digs and then he usually has a nice nap.  According to Cesar Millan, this is good because a dog needs a balance of energy - part exercise, part mental stimulation, part sleep.   Not so different from our needs, is it?  Great in principle, but harder to effect.  Malcolm can race around and crumple into a dreaming heap, but for us humans, it's more difficult.  We're all so busy and stressed, especially this time of year, trying to get everything done, that we either can't sleep, or we don't sleep.  But we can get rest, which is almost as good.   

While not a replacement for sleep active rest can be almost as curative as sleep, and provides a graceful transition from one mental state to another.  I'm not talking about plopping in front of the TV and tuning out - that's passive rest.  Active rest is like what runners do after a long race.  They don't just cross the finish line and fall on the ground -- they walk to catch their breath, slow their heartbeat, and stretch their muscles.  That's active rest, and it's so important to our health.  We all need a chance to catch our breath.  We need a  transition from exertion and stress. Knitters understand this concept intuitively, whether we say it out loud or not.  For us, knitting is an active rest from the physical, mental, and emotional demands of the day, and we need it the way we need air.  Knitting provides a gentle space in which our bodies become still, our minds begin to clear, and a sense of calm settles over us.  In this space, we can reflect on the day, consider tomorrow, or just be present in the moment with the peaceful undemanding rhythm of the needles.

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here.

~Ellen

Back to 4 December 2018 Newsletter