Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Battles in Crafting

"That really is Crafting 101."  For many people, not knowing the full curriculum of Crafting 101, which I've never seen listed in any course catalogues, wouldn't be a serious matter.  We don't know but we get it but we get by in life, somehow.  For the contestants on the new tv show "Craft Wars," however, it's a serious matter and a terrible failing.  The shame must have been great for the person to whom the judge spoke those words.  How could you come back from something like that?

TLC describes its new show as follows:

"TLC is about to turn crafting on its head. Long gone are the days where crafting solely referred to a world of quaint tea cozies and popsicle stick bird houses. Today, there is a strong movement of crafters taking this beloved hobby and transforming it into an extreme art form. Now, for the first time ever, TLC has assembled these craft virtuosos for a knock-down, drag-out fight for supremacy."

I hadn't realized that things had gotten so serious.  And nasty.  While indeed the world may only need so many tea cozies and bird houses, there are many other beautiful items that talented people create, apparently without feeling a need to prove themselves through full-scale battles.  Maybe there's more going on than I see but the artists I know who do rug hooking, visual art, photography, furniture restorartion, and quilting seem to express the best of themselves through their art without a need to fight for superiority.  They each add beauty to the world in their unique way.  I'm so grateful that they do.

I guess competition is interesting to watch.  Maybe the show will do well.  I don't know, though, that it will have much connection to the beautiful work already being created by so many people.  While the contestants on the show may be talented people too, I doubt that their involvement will spur them to produce their creative best.  Hopefully it will be harmless and maybe it will lead to some viewers getting in touch with their own creativity.  Maybe then they will find themselves engaging in activities more fulfilling than watching people engage in "knock-down, drag-out" battles over crafts. 

I suppose another potential upside to this show is that people like me may be able to benefit in the crafting world.  While my talents in that area are not strong, I can be ferocious and would be willing to fight to win the $10,000 price.  My participation on the show wouldn't add beauty to the world but it would provide some entertainment.  And, rather sadly, I think that's all the producers are really looking for after all.  Stay tuned for my episode!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Finding Things to Say

While I enjoy conversation a great deal and hopefully handle it well on most occasions, there are times when I don't have a lot to offer.  Sometimes, all I really have to say is something like "I'm hungry," "My right nostril is clogged" or, and no one wants it to come to this "Wow, I feel better after that trip to the bathroom."  None of that is especially enlightening.

While I don't usually resort to sharing thoughts like those ones, there can be times during a conversation when I struggle for something to say and they stand a chance of being verbalized.  It seems a shame to struggle for something to say though.  What is it about silence in conversation that makes this effort seem necessary?

It's wonderful when two or more people share themselves and their thoughts in conversation.  I suppose it is a lot to expect, though, that people will speak every second of their time together.  We may need breaks to absorb what we have heard, to generate new thoughts and to gather thoughts that we have not shared yet.  To fill every second with words, we would have to work on what we are going to say when we should be concentrating on what someone else is saying.  Slowing down and allowing silences should enrich our conversations, our sharing.  But we seem reluctant to slow down.

Perhaps when there is silence we fear that we're not interesting (although everyone is pretty interesting, in my opinion) or that we don't have the connection we thought we did with someone.  We want validation and connection and that's good.  What's not so good is trying to force the issue.  When we struggle to come up with something to say, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.  Perhaps relaxing and letting thoughts come to us more naturally is a better approach.  And even if we find out that there's not a connection with someone, that is ok.  And so are we.

I will try to let conversation flow a little more naturally and see how that goes.  If we're ever in a conversation and I suddenly tell you "I might have a toenail fungus" or "I'm craving cheesecake" (and we're not in a foot clinic or restaurant, respectively), please be gentle and know that I'm trying a little too hard.  I have to learn to appreciate that sometimes silence is a far better choice than saying what's really on my mind.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

So Sad

I saw on the news last night the aftermath of landslides in BC.  They've devastated a small community and there may be some lives lost.  It is terrible.

One woman spoke about what she did once that slide had hit.  She got her three children out of their house safely.  She did not manage, however, to bring her baby's ashes.  They may be lost forever.  She said that she should have taken them.  Oh.

The thing that struck me was that this lovely young woman should not have a baby's ashes.  Why did she have to endure whatever events led to that sad outcome?  To me, that doesn't seem like what "should" have happened.  And yet she blames herself for not taking the ashes.  She managed to bring her three living children to safety.  She did so well.

I understand her regret.  I hope she manages to forgive herself though.  To my way of thinking, she "shouldn't" have to bring her baby's ashes - she should have another living child to help out of the house.  She has suffered already.  I hope she doesn't hurt herself with regret.


Getting Out There

This week I experienced, again, what it is like to be new.  I started a job and I have to learn how to perform the tasks it entails.  There are things I don't know and sometimes I've struggled.  I know more now than I did when I started but I have things to learn and confidence to gain.  It hasn't felt good at times.  I believe, though, that it is good to be in this situation.  It seems better than the alternative.

It can be comfortable to stay in familiar situations.  We may not always be happy or fulfilled but, to quote Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory "It's called the comfort zone for a reason."  Moving outside it, though, we open ourselves to new possibilities.  We can't know what they are until we get outside that zone. 

By going outside my comfort zone, I have identified some of my weaknesses and strengths, I have learned about an interesting field of healing and I have come to appreciate being at home more when I'm not always here.  I have also spent no time being annoyed by how much time the man across the street here fusses with his yard so that's good.  (While he may waste time on his yard, the fact that I was keeping track of his activities didn't say great things about my time usage.)  And this is only a seemingly simple, part-time job and I've been there for three days.  What a difference a difference makes.

I don't pretend to know what people should do in their lives.  But I have some evidence that stepping out has benefits and opens us up to good things.  I could have stayed where I was and lived my life in the quiet way I was doing it.  I guess it would have been okay.  There is so much in life to experience, though, and I'm glad to be sampling more of it.  I guess someone else can keep an eye on my neighbour for a while.  As long as they report back to me once in a while, everything will be fine.


Friday, July 6, 2012

To Experience Summer

I've been outside recently, in the beautiful summer weather, and felt like I get it.  I really understand that it's a shame to waste a beautiful season like this inside and especially unfortunate to spend any of it in front of the tv.  My family has put some effort into making our backyard space more comfortable this year and we've all had some fun in it.  Still, though, it's easy to end up back inside and let another summer go by.  I'm doing it right now.  Maybe it's habit.  In this climate, it's cold for a lot of the year and staying inside when it's cold makes sense to me.  I want to work on a new habit - to go outside and live life from a different perspective.   I don't know what the outcome of that effort will be and it surprises me that it seems like an effort to spend more time outside.  I will try to learn the outcome though.  There are only so many beautiful summer days and nights.  It's good to enjoy them.