Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mindless Becomes Mindful

For the most part, I'm pretty easy going. One year, I was hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family. I think that year we had maybe 19 people coming for dinner. Our oven died in the middle of cooking the turkey, and refused to be resurrected. Luckily my folks don't live far away, so we just finished the cooking over there and warmed all the side dishes on the outdoor grill. When my mom showed up with the fully-cooked turkey, she just looked at me and said, "19 people for dinner, your oven dies, and you LAUGH. You are *such* your father's daughter." (But, really, is there anything funnier than warm side dishes huddling together in a dead oven trying to keep warm?)

However, lately, I have been having trouble taking things in stride. So Geek Boy and I enrolled in the Penn Program for Stress Management (he took it many years ago). The program is based on mindful meditation and the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn. It's been very interesting. The goal is to practice being present in the moment. Paying attention to your breathing, the physical sensations in your body, your thoughts (which you then let go of), and what's happening now.

It's been an interesting experience. I'm not usually someone who goes for things like this. In fact, when I first brought up the idea of taking the class, Geek Boy's first comment was, "You do know it's based on meditation, right?"

A side benefit has been one night out each week with Geek Boy. I take the train downtown after work and meet him at his office, we go to dinner and then to class. It's really lovely.

The train ride isn't very long, but with waiting time, I can get some knitting done. When this started, I decided to take the Nutkin socks with me as train knitting. Lovely yarn, interesting pattern, that was easy to memorize. Perfect mindless knitting.

Then something weird happened. I started getting mindful about my mindless knitting. Rather than just zipping away while looking out the window, I started watching my hands, the needles, the color changes in the yarn. Nothing new was happening. It's still just knitting. I just started using that time to just knit and not to think about anything else (well, as much as possible...it's only the 5th week I've been trying this whole thing, and I've got a long way to go).

Now, I haven't become a perfectly mindful knitter. Most of the time, I still just pull something out to keep my hands busy and have something to show for my addictions to Jon Stewart, Keith Olberman and Mike Rowe. But every now and then, it's nice to stop, breathe, knit.

And it doesn't hurt that the yarn is gorgeous. (Claudia Handpaint in a colorway I think is called Urban Jungle.)

In other knitting news...progress continues on the mitten swap mittens.

This is actually start #3. The first one was too tight. The second attempt, I tried double knitting, and it was too big. Now, I'm doing two handed color work with weaving and it seems to be just right. It's also going much faster than the double knitting. I'm further along than the picture indicates. I took it a couple of days ago, but haven't had a chance to post. I'm well into the third repeat of the pattern.

And today's fun in the mailbox:

Sundara Yarn Fingering Silky Merino in Blossom. New yarn! Yay!

Oh, and this week's soup is a fabulous Potato, Bacon and Horseradish soup from New England Soup Factory. Yummy!


Jessica said...

Sounds like a fantastic class. It's amazing what you find you've been missing if you just start paying attention. Hope you continue to enjoy it!

Mia said...

Meditation is always good for you. Plus you get to spend more time with your husband. If nothing else, you will learn to be more aware of your surroundings.

And knitting helps me control my ADD. I think. I think all knitters have ADD to some degree.

DeuceMom said...

glad to see a new post! Thanks for the soup recipe. It's on the menu for this weekend (this gloriously schoolwork free weekend). I feel you when it comes to losing your sense of humor. The month of February I think I laughed 3 times. Not good. So anything you can do to spend some time breathing, enjoying, relaxing is good.

Theresa said...

THANK YOU for my mittens and everything else. This was the most thoughtful swap gift I have ever exchanged. I put it on my blog and the mitten blog but then could not find your email to write and say thank you! :o)

DeuceMom said...

I tagged you for a meme! Hope you don't mind!

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