Thursday, July 26, 2012

RELAX and ENJOY the PROCESS take 2

Disneyland 1/2 Marathon Start Line 2011
Yesterday I wrote about Relaxing and Enjoying the Process.  This morning I had a chance to think on that a bit more.

Earlier this year I registered for my 2nd 1/2 Marathon.  My goal at that point was to beat last year's time. And I figured that the move to Georgia would help because I would be able to get out and train earlier than I would in Minnesota.  (With respect to all of my MN friends who run in the winter -- your nuts!)

But then I tore the meniscus in my right knee.

The good news in that statement is that I have an awesome chiropractor and have been able to avoid surgery.

I am behind in the training.  And the reality is at this point my goal is the same as it was last year:  To finish in the time allotted.

So this morning, in stead of working on speed, I was working on increasing distance.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are "short days".  Last year at this time I was doing 4-5 miles on short runs.  And I was on a fairly consistent 30:30 run:walk cycle. Today I increased my distance to 4.5 miles.  Most all of it walking.  

Saturday is my long run day.  Last Saturday I should have been at 11 miles.  I did 6.  This weekend I will work to go further.

But what does this have to do with RELAXING and ENJOYING the process?  The knee injury has forced me to slow down this run season.  Understand that slowing down doesn't naturally equate with relaxing.  Relaxing is a state of mind. I realized this AM that I am really ENJOYING the morning walks.  I'm not focused on beating anything.  My focus is on how GOOD I feel; how GRATEFUL I am to the people that have helped and encouraged me to get to this point; and how Appreciative I am of their continued support.  

I realized today that I am RELAXING and Enjoying the process of training for this event.  I don't think I could have said that last year.

Exiting Disneyland (the first time) at about the 3.5 mile mark.
Looking forward to smiling my way through 13.1 miles again this year.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Relax and enjoy the process.

My Mom.  She was a card.

My mother was an excellent seamstress.  And completely self taught.  Growing up, she made virtually all of my clothes.  And while some were more stylish than others (esp in my younger years), when I worked for the Riverside County Coalition for Alternatives to Domestic Violence, I had the best wardrobe an employee of a non-profit could ask for!  And for a fraction of the cost (remember when patterns cost less than $1?)

See, Stylish!  She made her dress and my cute little suit . . . . both out of the very hip double knit. . . .

But, as a kid learning to sew this was a LOT of pressure!  None of it real of course, and all of it self-imposed, but pressure none the less.  When I decided I wanted to learn to sew my mother had me cut out a BUNCH of rectangles -- starting with a cardboard one that I would use as my pattern for all the rest.  Then she sat me down at her SINGER sewing machine, showed me the basic operation and said, “Now sew these up.”

I sewed the first few and showed her my progress.  

My seams were not straight.  

My mother could sew a straight seam with her eyes closed.  In fact, she really only had sight in one eye.  And in her later years, as her sight was going, she could still sew a straight stitch.  Providing someone else threaded the needle.  To this day, if I THINK about looking away from the seam I am sewing it will go wonky.  W O N K Y.

In spite of this start in the world of sewing, I have always owned a sewing machine.  And when lived “at home” I often made clothes for myself.  Mom was always there to rescue a project gone awry…or put a problematic zipper in a problematic dress so I could wear it on Easter Sunday…or hem an item (I really dislike hand sewing.)

So recently when a friend on Ravelry was talking about sewing her first SAORI item – a market bag – the best help I could offer was to, “Relax and Enjoy the Process.”  She took that to heart and decided that hand sewing was much more relaxing than using the machine and made an awesome bag.  Check out Debbie’s blog for pics of this awesome creation!  (and be sure to leave her a message telling her how beautiful it is!

At the same time that Debbie was weaving and creating her market bag, I was working on a tote bag.  I’ll call it a “project tote” because I incorporated a lot of pockets…I love pockets.  But I may have gone a bit overboard.

This is the inside of the bag...picture it, well, inside.  I made it out of 2 shades of denim and some floral print something.

I started with a commercial pattern, but it didn't have pockets.  And in the “items needed” section, it called for a lining, but in the directions never talked about actually making the lining…much less actually lining the bag.  So I improvised.  Kinda like when I cook…start with a recipe and then leave this out, add that…you get the idea.

The weaving of the cloth was awesome.  But of course!  

Then came the construction of the tote.  RELAX AND ENJOY THE PROCESS. . . . . .

There were so many things that were not quite right, or as easy as they should have been.  At times I had visions of my mother shaking her head and saying, “Now Denise, you know how to do that!” 

Oh, the things I did wrong...and oh the things I learned.

 I had forgotten how to put a zippered pocket into a piece – I had to go to  You Tube for an instructional video.  I wanted a pocket grouping that I could see in my head, but had no pattern for…so I winged it.   And through it all I kept reminding myself to RELAX AND ENJOY THE PROCESS

And it worked.  I finished the tote.  Well, mostly.  There is still some hand sewing to do – and no one to do it for me!  But through the process I learned a lot. 

 I discovered through trial and error things that should make the next tote bag easier to make.  And these lessons are ones that I probably would not have been able to learn if I had been stressing about every little misstep.

I am working on applying this to other areas of my life:  Healing my knee; losing weight; running.  And I can see that it is working... when I will let it.

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd . . . . . .

. . . . . .At least according to Roger Miller       (You can listen to Roger sing this classic song here,)               

And while I generally take the words “You Can’t” as a challenge to prove the person wrong, I think Roger may have been onto something.  Especially when you get to the chorus…because the thing you can do is to, …be happy if you've a mind to; All ya gotta do is put your mind to it;  Knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it.

I was headed somewhere in the car this past week when this classic came on the radio (Sirius 60s on 6) and it got me thinking about happiness.  What makes us happy?  Is it as simple as Roger makes it out to be?  A choice we make in spite of our circumstances? 

Ok, this is not the car with Sirius, but it's a great pic of Steph & me in Hanley's Caddy.

I’m sure I know many people who would argue with the idea that happiness is a choice.  They would tend to say that they would be happy IF something in their life were different – If they had a job, if a particular person would change, if their health were better… you get the idea.

But if these people are right how do they explain people like my friend Linda?  She’s battling breast cancer – and she’s barely 40!  She is happy.  And positive!  If you are going to beat cancer, you HAVE to be!   

And then there is my friend Erin.  She’s battling MS.  Every time I see Erin she has a smile and a positive outlook.  She and her husband, Jack, have taken her diagnoses as an opportunity to educate others about MS.  And they have an ever growing number of friends and family who have joined them in  Erin's Fight

This dedicated group, with Erin and Jack leading the way, participate in numerous events to raise money for MS research and education.  They will be riding the  Bike MS: Cox Atlanta Ride 2012 .

I’m sure we can all think of people who fit in each of these camps.  And when I think of them, the difference is attitude: Being positive in the face of adversity.  Choosing happiness as a life style: Accepting the challenges in life as just another hill to climb, and enjoying the view along the way.

Now at this point many of you may be wondering what on earth this has to do with weaving.  Well, to be fair in the beginning I did warn that these posts might not always be “on topic”.

But when I think about SAORI, I think about choices.  I make a conscious choice to weave without the constraints of perfection, or pattern.  

I make a conscious choice to be a part of a group that learns and grows together – as a group; a group that willingly shares ideas and techniques in order to enhance everyone’s knowledge and skill.  

Some members of Studio Fun in Chaska (where I learned to weave) with Chiaki.

I make a conscious choice to explore new ideas and techniques and styles with all my heart and without fear of failure.  

I make a conscious choice to sit at the loom and to weave with a happy heart.

SAORI is so much more than just an International Company.  It is so much more than just a style of weaving.  It encompasses a philosophy that teaches many lessons for living a life where happiness is the attitude of choice.

So, maybe I can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd, or drive around with a tiger in my car.  BUT I CAN CHOOSE to be HAPPY

What is your attitude of choice today?