"The patterns I am weaving with my life are complex, full of intricate detail and knots. I need to go slow, taking only one stitch at a time. With hindsight I will see that whatever the progress, it was the perfect fit to the overall design. There is only one of us; we have a particular gift to offer this world. I shall enjoy the richness of today. My life is weaving an intricate, necessary pattern that is uniquely mine." - Excerpts from Each Day A New Beginning, Karen Casey
Sheesh, lady, you are preaching to the choir. Me, working on one stitch, looking ahead eighteen stitches wondering if I'll have enough thread, thinking about the next color I'm going to weave, wondering if the last color was the best possible hue it could be, wait, what stitch was I on? Man. oh. man, can we get in our heads & in our own way.
I am learning & will always be learning to be gentle with myself & my path.
I recently have gotten back into cross-stitching, an art where you thread together countless colorful x's onto fabric to make up a greater photo. And there the simile sits at my hands. Life is like a cross-stitch. You sit before a blank canvas of fabric, countless colors of thread, countless points that you could start with; but the point is to start. The place to start is at the beginning. We, you, I have to stop feeling overwhelmed by the idea of perfection; thinking that things, rather we, must be just-so to be worthy.
My mom tells me all the time, luckily, that perfection is a four-letter-word. How dare I think that anything short of perfection is second-rate? It is the imperfections that make us perfectly who we were created to be. There is no piece of art that is qualified as perfect upon inspection, but look how magnificent that art is!
Sure, there are challenging stitches that we can get hung up on, tangles, we can be frozen in our tracks by thinking of all that may come up in the distance. But we must course-correct. Tackle the tangle at hand if and when it comes up then move on knowing that it'll add depth to our tapestry. It will teach us patience, impart us with wisdom, keep us humble, and slow us down - sure, in a maddening way because "Look at all that's ahead of us! We've got places to be, things to do, marks to make. Why are you here?????" But the tangles are also presenting us with a chance to slow down in a beautiful way too, to be more "in the present", to admire the photo we're creating rather than preoccupying ourselves with wanting to "control" it. And that's the reminder that we usually don't see, present company Type-A included.
Yeah, lady, easier said than done right? But we forget, often times & that's alright, that it is in the trying that we succeed. The place to start is at the beginning.
With a cross stitch, you can choose any color of thread you like to start with, for however long you wish. You can challenge yourself & jump around from color to color so one area is finished before you tackle the next; you can push on through with one color completely until that chapter is closed; the choices are there for the making. But what we, you, I need to remember is that in the end we're each going to end up with an incredible picture. So make a choice, don't judge that choice, & keep moving.
The point of it all is to start, to try, to get tangled up, to learn, to leave pieces of ourselves everywhere we go & to make beauty with what we have. The destination is the journey.
Perfection is a four-letter-word. Say it like a mantra.
Progress is trying to be our best selves. If we're striving for the best versions of ourselves that we can & want to be, we're going to land somewhere pure of heart. It is because we care so greatly that we want to be such wonderful people. And that's pretty. damn. great.
So let's give ourselves some credit. And a break.
I'm going to try. I hope you will too.
Have a great day on purpose!