Hello, rain and beautiful sun-rinsed skies


I came downstairs to find Tim entranced by something out the window. I came closer, and found that he was watching the first leaves fall from the trees…Welcome, Early Fall.

Autum leaves

The hardest part of working at home is what I call the Butt-In-Chair Syndrome: No matter how much work there is to be done, it is the absolute hardest thing sometimes to get one’s butt in the chair and actually start doing the work.

This can be particularly difficult if you have the companion syndrome of Writer/Artist’s Block. Even worse if you fall into the trap of My-Work-Doesn’t-Matter-Anyway.

That’s the place in which I find myself these past few weeks. That, and the Land of The Self-Doubters.

Any of you ever find yourself in this place? Where nothing you do seems worth anything?

After all, it’s only knitting. (Spinning/writing/blogging/singing/batt making.)

Sara's Flying Triangles, by Sandi Wiseheart. Hand-pieced and hand-quilted, completed Nov 1993.  Exhibited at juried and non-juried conference galleries.

Sara’s Flying Triangles, by Sandi Wiseheart.
Hand-pieced and hand-quilted, completed Nov 1993.
Exhibited at juried and non-juried conference galleries.
Apologies for the hideous paint colour on the wall.

After all, I don’t have a lot of (published) patterns.

There are many other designers who started out as peers (and in at least one case, as a student) who are now publishing books, teaching at Rhinebeck, and have dozens of designs to their credit.

After all: They are Professionals. I’m just a Sometime Knitting Designer and Writer.

Sound familiar?

Spring Has Sprung mittens, Back of hand (©Sandi Wiseheart 2012)

Spring Has Sprung mittens, Back of hand
(©Sandi Wiseheart 2012)

Many days I wonder: Does any of what I do MATTER? I can’t wing it forever on the Glory Days of Yore; folks like me have to constantly reinvent themselves…and maybe, just maybe, that is precisely where I find myself: in the ReInvention Stage of growth. That’s a Good Thing, methinks, but I haven’t had much of Me to devote to the process. It’s slow-going, because this last year has been full of doctors and appointments and scans and waiting rooms, which are constantly nibbling at the creative energies I need to be myself, to thrive and grow.

Custom Tiara made for Jesh, 2012.  "Diadem for a Steam-Punk Mermaid".

Custom Tiara made for Jesh, 2012.
“Diadem for a Steam-Punk Mermaid”.

Thus, I am hitting the Pause Button on the endless rounds of testing, the never-ending digging, scanning, symptoms-under-microscope sort of life I’ve lead for the past few years. We know by now that I am not dying, that I am not crumbling into dust, that there is no imminent danger.

So dear doctors, thank you so much for all your time and care, but I need some time off, to myself. (Not you, dear therapists and massage folks and acupuncture doctors, you’re still on the hook. See you at 1 PM.) I’ll be seeing the docs to maintain a watch on things, but not as often. Certainly not three times a week with 3-4 hour round-trip commutes along the 401, Highway of Insanity and Doom. (That was this week, the one just about over. OY.)

014 FlowerCuffswh3

Flower Cuff, A Beadwork Magazine Challenge Project, 2007-ish

After the third day in a row of such a journey, I woke this morning feeling drained, blenderized, stripped of some Essential Essence that is critical to my spirit. I need my energies for myself and for my inner life and for being present to those around me, not for dodging bluetooth-talking, coffee-wrangling, frustrated race-car wannabes, all the reckless White Rabbits who keep shouting “Outta my way, I’m late, I’m late, I’m LATE!”, being so intent on their own needs that they are in constant danger of ending someone else’s life with their lack of concentration and judgment. (I might have Opinions on this subject.)

Summer Shawlette, 2011 Sister to The Comfort Shawl, which is longer and omits the lace on back panel.

Summer Shawlette, 2011
Sister to The Comfort Shawl (below), which is longer and omits the lace on back panel.

Instead of the re-invention I have been seeking, I feel as though this past year I got re-invented into the perfect waiting-room inhabitant. I know how much knitting to bring to which doctor’s office. I always have an extra project in my car just-in-case. I always have gas money, good tire pressure, and extra audiobooks always on hand. I watch the traffic reports. Check the highway traffic cams. GOOD GRIEF.

The Comfort Shawl, 2011

The Comfort Shawl, 2011

Enough. I don’t want to be The Blogger Who Is Sick-But-Amusing-But-She-Doesn’t-Post-Much. I don’t want to know the routes by heart to every testing facility in the region. I don’t want to be A Patient anymore. I want more.

Thus: Enough.

What will I become? I know I want whatever I do to Matter, to touch people, to bring them together into a community somehow, to help love and grace grow, to bring compassion to our weary world.

Artist's Hand, 2013 Sandi Wiseheart Cross-stitch worked with hand-blended gradient wools (all natural shades, no dyes)

Artist’s Hand, 2013
Sandi Wiseheart
Needlepoint, worked with
hand-blended, hand-spun wools
Natural gradients, no dyes

I want to create, and to believe in myself. Because somewhere along the way, I stopped believing I could make a difference, that my knitting/spinning/writing/singing/blogging self was worth anything or was touching anyone or was even a wee bit Important.

The person who pulled me up short was The Microsoft Excel Guy. I’m sure you have heard of him: he paints amazingly detailed, wonderfully evocative works of art using only Microsoft Excel.  (Oh, and let’s not forget: He’s 73 years old.)

His works are inspiring. Yes, there are others who create art using MS Excel, but their work does not have the depth, that ineffable sense of Meaning, that quality of drawing forth our inmost selves in the best way possible, that our 73-year-old friend can evoke.

Even the sheep are curious as to What Happens Next.

Even the sheep are curious as to What Happens Next.

He is a very unusual, off-the-beaten-path sort of guy, just as I am an off-the-beaten-path sort of fibre artist/knitter/writer. I’m not in his league, methinks…but from what I hear, I, too, touch people with my work. Somehow, between my long absences from the blog, my bouts of depression and anxiety and illness, my small design portfolio, and my isolation up here in lovely Bolton, Ontario (cornfields up the road, about two stoplights, turn right and there you are. don’t forget to come to the town tractor pull!), I touch people. Maybe I touch two people. Or five. Or a hundred.

Is that good enough? Maybe that’s the wrong question…

Am I finding ways of sharing the uniqueness that is my quirky form of creativity in ways that feed The Good in the world? Or, in my uncertainty and current Waiting Room Girl identity, have I lost the map to my own inner vision?

tweed up close

Anyone ever feel this way? What did you do about it? How did you treat the stages of your creativity respectfully and still get your butt in the chair?

Inquiring minds would really like to know.

Until then:

Re-Create, Re-Imagine, Re-Invent.... but never lose your dancing shoes

Re-Create, Re-Imagine, Re-Invent….
but never lose your dancing shoes


Chispas

Fortunately, I have a friend who works at a vet hospital (the animal kind, not the elder warrior kind). She sends me things like this, which I share with you out of a sense of civic responsibility for the common good:

Pippa, In Search of Her Tail (it’s a video, click to play/stop)

Ever wanted to learn to do shibori, the Japanese art of tie-dye all-grown-up? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial by Erica of honestlywtf.com, a site that also wins in the Best Blog Name semi-finalist category.

Even otters need to learn to put their toys away at the end of the day.

For all you parents and geeky kids-at-heart: Geek Parenting: 60 Books for Geeky Kids Before They Are 10

hatching ladybugs

Above: Baby ladybugs hatching. 

And one final cutie to inspire us…We have to learn to be a peaceful people, a compassionate people, so that we can take care of small ones like this:

grumpy cat in sink

Namasté–although I doubt that that is what Wet Kitty is thinking right now.

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About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. 2 year-old kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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26 Responses to Hello, rain and beautiful sun-rinsed skies

  1. Anne says:

    Okay Sandi, count me as one of your people touched.
    Is it not the human condition to wonder and worry about our small effect in the whole great scheme of things? To always want more? To wonder if what we do is enough?
    Surely, the act of wondering, caring, pondering, brings us closer to our goals?

  2. Dee Jochen says:

    My heart says ‘Yes” as I read your blog this morning. I recognize every question you are asking, been there, asked them too. And comment, No Blame! The medical establishment is a creativity draining system. You are on a good path!! Best wishes and loving support as you move forward. Oh, and if you ever print that larger shawl, I want the pattern!!
    Dee

  3. Bonnie says:

    I think it would be nearly impossible to feel centered after spending so much time in doctors’ offices. I think you’re on the right track, recognizing that you need a little more time for you and a little less time in offices with TVs blaring infomercials about cholesterol meds. What you do is important. You CREATE. Things that didn’t exist now do because of you. What could be more important than that?

  4. Cat says:

    Perhaps when you are 73 you will be as inspiring to others as Mr Tatsuo Horiuchi ; you are close already.

  5. Barbara Greene says:

    Also count me as one who over the years has been touched by your love and creativity and humor and philosophical musings in your blog.
    I think you are on the right track to take a break from the medical routine if it is sucking away your energy.
    Give yourself the space to gain a perspective on where you find yourself and see what opens up for you. You seem to be good at listening to that inner wise guiding “voice”, maybe lately it was muted by the medical “parade”.
    As for what matters, we just gotta try our best at whatever we’ve been “given” to do. In the end, who knows what it is that we did that really mattered? Perhaps it was the kind smile you gave some stranger or rescuing that “one starfish on the beach”, because it mattered to that one.
    Thanks Sandi for having the courage to pose the hard questions and seek the answers out here in your blog, as it gives me the chance to re-think those questions for myself.

  6. Hi Sandi,
    Being a patient sucks big time. It drains everything out of you and leaves self doubt, exhaustion, and a feeling of uselessness behind. It seems like all you do is sit in doctors offices, get poked and prodded and them have them tell you that 1) they don’t know what is wrong with you; 2) they know what is wrong but they can’t fix it. or 3) you must learn to live with it. Wonderful options all – not! It’s so hard to keep a positive self image and know that we have value. Hard to remember who we used to be and see who we are now. You have value and touch more lives then you can imagine. Please be gentle with yourself ! You are a wonderful, gentle, creative woman. To those of us who walk this path with you, you are a role model and a shining star. BELIEVE IT! The creative block will fad and the new creative juices will take you down whatever path you are meant to be on. Enjoy the ride! Your friends are here and we aren’t going away.
    Take care!
    Pat aka westies

  7. suezensea says:

    You have definitely touched many people Sandi and you have a lot to be proud of. I have loved every single one of your posts. I have been going through something very similar and know where you are coming from. You have so much heart and so much talent, I admire you.

  8. Well, now I have no excuses. If Sandi can put on her big-girl tiara and get with the program , I can too! Seriously, Sandi, I have admired the way way you share some of the ups and downs of chronic health issues, major life changes and life in general. My major problem is having my butt in the WRONG chair. The productive one is over there!

  9. Karen P. says:

    Sandi, I applaud your taking back some of your time–and therefore your power.

    I am prone to the kind of thinking you’re fighting against, so I thought I’d share this quote with you (passed along to me & other students in Alice Bradley’s The Practice of Writing course):

    “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” — Martha Graham

    I have pasted it to a “sticky note” on my computer’s desktop so that I can refer to it often. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. All best wishes in getting things done!

  10. Pattie says:

    Count me as very affected by your stories and your beautiful way of expressing the hard things. Keep on keepin’ on?

  11. Deb says:

    I’ve just spent awhile in the same place. It seems like a lot of time suspended somewhere I don’t want to be. I’m glad you left the door open so that I can follow and get out. Thanks. I really needed this post today.

  12. Lynn says:

    We shall talk, missy. Doctors are perfectly lovely people, but to hell with them. You need RED in your life, with a good dollop of deep, deep blue and a leaf’s edge of pumpkin gold.

  13. babywren says:

    Sandi, you first touched me about ten years ago. I still miss your posts at Knitting Daily and occasionally Google one to reread. I am sorry to learn of your health issues and hope things improve for you. You are special to many people.

  14. Amy says:

    I applaud you taking control of your life and just want to add that I’m sure you have been inspiring all the medical personnel you have come in contact with. As a nurse I would love to have you as a patient!

  15. knitwit56 says:

    Ah, Sandi – you touch people much more than you probably realize, because you’re open and not afraid to show your humanity. Sometimes it’s funny and entertaining, and sometimes it’s more “real”. And even in your “real” posts, your sense of humor shines through.

    I’m trying to be profound and encouraging, and it’s not coming across very well. I’m sorry you’ve been ill. My challenges aren’t as severe as yours, but I know what it’s like to struggle with chronic health issues. I wish I could bring you a casserole now and then.

    @ Karen P. – I’m stealing your quote, it’s a keeper.

    Here’s one from me: When you’ve done all you can… stand. Or sit if need be!

  16. Arla says:

    Dearest Sandi…
    I may sound a bit redundant, but I want you to know that you ARE an inspiration to us all…

    Blessings!!!

  17. I always looked forward to reading Knitting Daily. It was a letter from a friend. Now when I see your blog in my Inbox, I get that same feeling of delight. My knitting friends all agree. Believe me when I say, you have touched many lives and you matter. Keep on truckin’ girl, you have an army behind you….Sandy’s Supporters!!

  18. Sylvia Dresser says:

    Sandy, I am one of many who has connected with you via your blog for a long time. Knitting Daily no longer comes close to what it was with you … and I miss you when I don’t “hear” from you. I find your postings so honest and real – the animals help too! I hope you can somehow access the energy that your fans/readers have for you, in this tortuous journey you are on – no, being a patient is not fun, it does suck up such a lot of energy. Please know we are out here cheering you on at every twist in the road!

  19. donna lee says:

    I am always happy when I click over here and discover that you’ve written. It usually doesn’t matter too much what the subject matter is, your inside self shows through everything you write. You share your life and thoughts and such lovely things (I want to be as creative as the 73 yr old artist!). I am a psychiatric social worker and sometimes as I sit and fill out one more form for welfare or food stamps or SSI, I wonder what good I’m doing and hell, anyone can do what I do. Some days we have to dig a bit deeper to find the meaning and importance. I am glad you’re in the world, Sandi Wiseheart.

  20. Tamara says:

    Your voice makes me happy and joyful, even when you’re feeling blue and doubtful, because I believe what you say–I hear your heart speaking, regardless of the words. It fulfills my need for connection quite powerfully, which is why I sought you out (as others above have said they did) when you left Knitting Daily and followed your own path. Sought you out, searched the interwebs until I found you, because your voice matters to me. Sometimes what I hear mirrors my own situation and sometimes not, but your human being on the other side of my screen always connects to my inner human, and what more can we ask?

    So happy to have found you, and that you keep writing when you can, and always from your heart.

  21. Nancy says:

    Dear, dear Sandi – I am always inspired by your insight, caring and creativity. At the moment, I’m currently in a similar place without much energy and way too many medical appointments. Am trying to spend a little time everyday spinning the brightest, loudest roving in my fiber stash; it seems to help. Hope you can find an activity to soothe and recharge your beautiful soul. Hugs and love coming your way.

  22. Mardi says:

    I have been spending a lot of time in exactly the same place (minus doctors.) your post made me cry. I know you will find your way out, I think you are already much farther out of that place than you know (ask your church pals, for one.) I hope to get out too, one day. Thanks, Sandi.

    And BTW, what happened to the tiara for the badass boot-wearing violist? 😉

  23. You cannot fail at the worthy part….we’ve all been declared so. But I understand the feeling of wanting to measure up, and of having serious start-itus, and of just not feeling ‘right’. So hard to get going some days. So comforting to just be still, yet how it heaps up the stress because things are not being done.

    That said; it is always valuable to take a good hard look at your life and see if it measures up (NOT to other people’s standards, but yours), and decide what you can do about it within life’s constraints. Sending spoons for your journey to the renewed Sandi. I know she will be as wonderful as you have always been. She need not be any kind of Superwoman, just you, molded into a life that suits you and brings you peace.

    P.S. Thanks for the book link, we have been reading to the children way less than we should, and there are some fantastic choice on there, plus some books new to me that sound wonderful.

  24. elaine in colorado says:

    Sandi, I can relate, totally. But do know how much I ¡enjoy! (big smile) knitting (still trying to learn that spinning thing), and know that my learning came about becuz of enthusiasm expressed and teaching lessons shared by You… where I first “met you”, at Knitting Daily, and continues here. I don’t get as much knitting done as I’d like to, but so enjoy it when the time allows. So thank you!!
    Enclosed are sunshine filled hugs and clear blue skys… from Colorado! 🙂 ewe can dance! (-:

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