In skeining up some recently finished yarns, I perform the same repetitive motions, long familiar after winding many thousands of yards of handspun yarns off of the plying bobbin and onto the niddy noddy, a device that helps a spinner create a circular loop hank that can be tied off to withstand the setting process, and later after it's dry, wound using an umbrella skeiner and a ball winder into a center-pull ball for use.
The motion of my arms and hands, fluid and almost unconscious in the winding, becomes prayer, becomes meditation, becomes a way to step outside myself for just a second..
I notice my breath. I notice my heartbeat. My heart is racing. Why?
I find the answer in a flash, and I don't care for it.
I have been rushing. Racing through this task, barreling down the bobbin with determination to answer the calls of the stories in my mind.. "so many projects behind" ... "once this is done, I can finally finish more of that commissioned yarn that's waiting" ... "why can't I be faster at this?" ... "why do I feel so inadequate?"
I startle, feeling that I've hit on something, and go there. Why do I feel so inadequate? I'm a successful jack-of-many-trades, with a set of jobs I love and feel called to, and though I've been through my share of bad scrapes, hard times and heartbreak, I feel strong enough to manifest my highest potential and overcome all obstacles to find happiness. Logically, I should feel perfectly adequate, but this isn't as simple as logic.. it's a deep feeling, almost pouring from my guts.
I race from one project to the next, one day to the next, one challenge overcome.. and I still don't feel any more worthy, because this feeling that drives me is coming from within.
The calls are coming from inside the house.
But who are they coming from? When? Is this a vestigial voice I hear, calling from childhood desires for approval, recognition? Is this my own unfulfilled dreams taunting me from the wings? Why are these feelings being allowed to have so much influence over my present peace? Pausing to locate the feeling in my body, I find it centered in my chest, awareness of my heartbeat. I feel a release in asking these questions of myself, remembering all the words of my teachers. Breathe.
What is the origin of this feeling? I can disarm it, remove its fangs if I can find it and catch it. I see the fear of inadequacy, and it's a small child, afraid. Breathe.
Surround this place within in light, reminders that I am perfectly adequate right here and now, and I always have been. I am only running from myself, only seeking my own approval, and I give it to myself, right now. I am already home. The child is safe and held by all the teachers, all the beloved guides, always.
I continue winding, breathing.
This is tough sometimes. I am not always in the mood to practice my yoga flow series, or meditate or chant. I forget sometimes in the mad rush from one task to the next that the practice lives in every moment, in noticing the quality of the moment, in bringing my attention to it, and the lessons in practice will find me as soon as I make the space for them to come in.
Whether I'm ringing out a stalk of chard at the co-op back in my grocery retail days, or praying in retreat, or on the mat doing sun salutations, or scrubbing the floor, as soon as I allow myself to notice the quality of my mind, of my breath.. in that moment, I am practicing.
Tonight, while unconsciously winding yarn, I made just a little space inside myself, hollowed out a little bit of room for the Goddess to remind me of the path I dedicated myself to, and the gifts of joy that are waiting for me right here and now, simply by becoming more aware of them.
I took a moment to blow my nose, fighting back the urge to feel silly about the tears streaming down my cheeks, since it's ridiculous to judge myself for having a small epiphany instead of enjoying it.
I go back to winding yarn, determined to feel the fibers moving through my fingers with a new awareness, using the opportunity to introduce myself to the yarn I spent so much time creating, something that shouldn't go by in a rush, but can be savored and sipped, as the yarn is destined for eventual sale, and will be enjoyed by other fingers in the knitting and wearing. I have only so much contact time with my work, and every moment of it is precious.
I am already home, within myself and this present moment. It just took some yarn making to remind me.