Friday, January 27, 2012

Yin, Yang, and Yarn: Balance in a Crazy World

"Balance is the perfect state of still water. Let that be our model. It remains quiet within and is not disturbed on the surface."
                                                    -Confucius

This pattern is available from knitvana.com.  Click here. 

Last weekend I happened to catch a little bit of a program where Oprah talked with self-help guru Wayne Dyer.  In the past, I typically changed the channel when I came across Dyer lecturing on PBS—to my skeptical mind, he always seemed too self-assured that everyone could achieve health, happiness, and balance.  But for some reason, this past Sunday, Dyer’s message of harmony and common humanity drew me in.  My life now seems to have demands that are maddeningly split—between home/family and my profession—and his words were compelling to me, speaking to my desperate need to achieve some balance between these opposing forces, much like yin and yang, in my life. 

On the one hand, if I completely ignored my family and home, I could be a phenomenal teacher—attending workshops, implementing new methodology, pouring over students’ papers all weekend, planning culturally enriching field trips, and making certain to call parents all the time (to praise their children or to express my concern about their progress).  On the other hand, if it were financially feasible, I could stop working and be a good mom—one who doesn’t feed her children fast food on a regular basis, one who signs her younger child’s school agenda every night, one whose home has fresh sheets on neatly made beds and that shelters a well-groomed and regularly exercised dog.  This mom wouldn’t bark orders as she runs for the car at 7:00 a.m. each day to begin the marathon 10 or 12 or 13 hours she will be away from home. 
This mom would not experience anxiety about finding time to have her car inspected, to drive kids to dental and medical appointments, or to attend events (or volunteer) at her children’ schools.  She would also not buy enough socks, underwear, ketchup, and mayonnaise to supply the needs of the Duggar family because the only time she has to organize drawers, closets, and cupboards and actually take stock of their contents is during school breaks. This woman--or the career woman without a family--not experiencing the endless tug of war of home vs. work, might actually sit down once in a while and just breathe.

Superwoman is a myth.  No one can simultaneously fulfill family and professional roles to any high standard.  Something has just got to give.  However, the reality is what it is, so I must find snippets of peace and harmony.  Obviously, knitting is one method to relax, breathe, and stop thinking about to-do lists.  Much has been written about the meditative state knitting produces—perhaps that’s why I look forward to knitting on the weekends as much as my younger self anticipated going to clubs and parties. 
I have one side  of this vest completed (pattern from Kertzer); I need
to finish the other.

This weekend, I am anticipating finishing a baby sweater found in Debbie Bliss’s book Essential Baby Knits.  I’m using Cashmerino to make it and also plan to knit a hat to go along with it.  I’ve also been finishing up my lavender Viveca beret and then it’s back to the black sweater with the lace yoke.  I finished the front, but a baby shower and birthday party (and the requisite hand-knitted gifts to create) necessitated putting some projects on hold.  In the early morning, when my teen and tween are sleeping, and my husband is engaged in his own early morning activities, I will have quiet to knit, rhythmically working away the knots and stresses of my busy week. 
This sweater's soft green color is soothing and peaceful. 

On Saturday night, I plan to go see Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Nora Ephron's humorous play about memorable outfits and the stories that correspond to them.  Perhaps with a lots of knitting, and a little humor, women like me can all find some balance this weekend.   

1 comment:

  1. I felt a bit of panic just reading this. I think about a professional career, but after hearing your craziness with both, I'm glad I stay home. The professional part can wait. BTW, totally loving what's going on with the pinky purple thingy on the side. xx

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