Thursday, July 14, 2011


A few days ago, a reader of this journal asked me about my recent lack of content.
“When are you going to post again? Have you lost interest? Have you given up knitting? What’s going on?”

Well, rest assured that I haven’t stopped knitting. And I haven’t lost interest. And by posting this, I think I answered the first bit. But the last one – well that’s a pretty good question.

Lately, I find I’m thinking quite a bit about authenticity. Not a frenzied, flight-of-ideas kind of thinking, mind you. More of a long pondering, questioning and wondering exercise.

It all started innocently enough. I was complaining this winter. Bending the ear of a woman I know. A woman whose opinion I’ve come to value for her consistently wise counsel. The subject of my complaint was nothing unusual: work/life balance and a general feeling that my particular hamster wheel was starting to turn too quickly. And that’s when she said it.

“It sounds like you don’t feel like you have an authentic life.”

To quote Keanu Reeves: “Whoa.”

This was a serious allegation. But was it true? And if it was true, what should be done about it? Some serious navel-gazing seemed required. Is writing a largely anonymous journal indicative that one lives an inauthentic existence? I put posting on the back burner to consider the question.   How about electronic interaction with complete strangers in Internet forums?  Could be – better ignore Ravelry for a while as I study that one too.  And Facebook? Don’t get me started.

Summoning the strength of The Echidna, I began doing some existential heavy lifting. I doubled-down on a pair of Ms: meditation and mindfulness. And slowly, over several weeks, I began to notice many things I hadn’t before. Like how often during the day my thoughts seem to be occupied with events, past or future, over which I have no control. Like how difficult it was to simply focus on the process brushing my teeth in the morning without letting my thoughts race ahead to the important places I planned to travel on the hamster wheel that day. Frustrating.

And so I began to shake things up. I changed my morning routine. I made jam in vast quantities. But most of all, I tried to focus on being fully present.

Now, speaking as a guy with a bit of an imagination – this has been a challenge. It has meant that I’ve tried to simply take note of the wanderings of my thoughts, and each time to bring them back to the present moment. Not damming up the stream of consciousness, exactly. But trying to prevent it from flooding its banks.

And is any of this helpful? Honestly, I don’t know. But if being more in the present will make me feel more connected to life and those around me, then it will be worth the effort to try.

In the meantime, I have done a fair amount of knitting. And I’m pleased to say that I’ve just donated an item for the upcoming Woodland Park Zoo Jungle Party auction. This is my second year in a row and I’m excited to have the opportunity.

Last year, I did a beaded lace shawl.  This year, I went with something fairly simple. It is a fairly basic scarf, but done with an open net-style lace pattern in some silk recycled from saris as part of a fair trade program. The money from the silk goes to provide incomes to women in India. I love that.  That feels authentic.   And I love the colors in the yarn. If you love it – buy tickets to the upcoming Jungle Party and bid on the scarf.


1 comment:

  1. From one of the Internet forums complete strangers...and for what its've been missed.

    Peace to you.