Dear Sabrina

 

I have some exciting news to share!  I am now a contributor on the lovely and thoughtful blog, Dear Sabrina. 

When Jodi asked me to contribute to her blog, I was intrigued. It had been a while since I’d published anything to my own blog, a space that has evolved from a knitting blog to a personal blog and website. I felt somewhat apprehensive; what did I have to add there? Then she and I had some interesting conversations about possible content and suddenly I was brimming with new ideas!

It feels really, really good to be writing in a more personal way again. I used to spend a lot of my creative energy within my biz, writing copy for products, email newsletters, and captions for social media posts. To get to put a different kind of writing out in the world has me feeling a little vulnerable, but also really excited.

I am thrilled to bring some of the topics Jodi and I have been discussing in real life to this space. I look forward to joining the conversations Jodi has started on topics like parenting, friendship, books, and maybe even my own categories of melancholy.

My first post went up this week, a piece about authenticity and vulnerability in friendship. I do hope you’ll read it and let us know what you think!

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Life After Stash

It’s been nearly one month since I closed the doors of my business. One month since I let go of a dream I had spent the past 7 years building, growing and nurturing. It feels like a long time ago, and yet I also sometimes still drive to work on auto-pilot, catching myself as I look for parking.

What will I do next? I’ve gotten that question more times than I can count in the past couple of months. The short answer is this: I will take some time to be with my family, to be a mom and a wife instead of a harried entrepreneurial working mom who happens to have two kids and be married to that person over there.

While that’s true, it’s not the whole story.

The truth is, I’m exhausted.

The past 18 months have been so full of contradictory emotions and a million decisions about the business. On top of running the business itself and managing my daily life, I was struggling with feelings of failure, grief, and a profound sense that I’d let people down. You can head here to read a little bit more about my decision to close Stash.

Now that the business is gone, ostensibly the stress is too. While I do feel about one thousand pounds lighter, it also feels like I have a stress hangover. My monkey mind has been busy for years processing all I have to juggle; now that a few balls are out of rotation, my mind is still trying to juggle them. It’s been hard to relax.

In this life after Stash, I am craving hibernation, a blanket of quiet, and lots and lots of hot beverages. Some Netflix couldn’t hurt, either. (I just finished this and was mesmerized)

One of the ways I am seeking quiet in my life is by taking a social media break. This is something I do regularly; it’s a good practice for me to step away and live my life instead of thinking about how to share it. This time I am planning on taking all of February off of Facebook and Instagram. I have enough going on in my head that I don’t need to pour in the voices of other people, multiple times a day. 8 days in, and I feel more peaceful already.

Another way I am seeking quiet is by spending time in my new studio!  I am sharing space with good friend and jewelry designer Liz Grant. This is a space that I stumbled into, and as luck would have it, this has been the perfect landing space for me.

My new studio is quiet and filled with light. I have a desk and some plants and not much else. This is the place I have yearned for for years: the physical and intangible room to write. I plan on doing a lot of practicing in this space. And as much as I’d like to attach an outcome to this writing (there goes that brain again), I am simply committing to writing for the sake of writing. We’ll see where it all goes.

This is a time of transition, a time of rest and contemplation. A time to let go of expectations and just be quiet with myself. It’s uncomfortable; I want to know what’s next, of course. But this time is also a gift, one I intend to settle into and savor for as longs as it lasts.

I’m curious: how have you settled in to time between jobs or life after a big transition?

From Uncertain to Confident: A 5-Minute Reframe

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I’ve been doing a lot of work around getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. With facing my fears and moving forward in spite of them.

One of my favorite tools to leverage the discomfort and get me out of the cycle of self-doubt is to do a Fear Dump. This powerful 5-minute exercise will take you from feeling uncertain to feeling more confident and powerful. I got this idea from my business coach Megan Flatt, and it works wonders!

Fear Dump Exercise

  • Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  • Write down all of your fears and uncertainties around a new idea.  Don’t censor or edit yourself, just let it ALL out!
  • At the end of 5 minutes, go through the list and ask yourself: Why is this statement NOT true?  I want you to literally cross out all the negative words in each sentence.  This act will instantly reframe the fear into a very powerful statement.

For example:

I’m afraid that I don’t have a unique message to share with people.

becomes

I have a unique message to share with people.

—–

I’m afraid people won’t want to buy what I make.

becomes

People want to buy what I make!

Powerful, right?!

This simple exercise can help you build confidence around a new idea, give power to the positive, and help banish the uncertainties and fears that have been holding you back.


What’s one uncertainty you’re living with right now?  I’d like to challenge you to do a Fear Dump and share one of your new power statements here.

On Wanting to be a Writer

On Wanting to Be a Writer

I always wanted to be a writer.

As a child I filled notebooks and stacks of printer paper with my writing and drawings. When our family got its first word processor, I was in heaven.  I could write to my heart’s content, without cramping my hand. Plus, once I printed it out and put it in a report cover with a hand-drawn illustration, it looked like a REAL book!

Writing came to me in a way that seemed fluid and natural.  All through school, I sailed through essays, devoured books, and set my sights on being an English major in college. I wanted to be a capital W writer.

And even though I enjoyed writing and words and language, I never really felt like one of the “smart kids”.  I wasn’t in National Honor Society or getting straight A’s. Sure, I took a couple of AP classes, but I never really felt like I belonged.

When I got to college, I was determined to find my people and belong to something meaningful.  I started out as an English major.  My advisor was a Real Author and capitol W writer and intimidated the hell out of me.  He had a serious disposition and kind eyes;  I always anticipated and feared what would come out of his mouth in equal measure.

The other kids in my literature and writing classes were often the serious types who got all the literary and historical references that seemed to go right over my head. I quickly grew insecure about everything I didn’t know and doubted myself at every turn. I thought everything that came out of me was worthless and not worthy of sharing with the groups.

I changed my major and tried to forget that I wanted to be a Writer.

About 10 years later I started a blog and started enjoying writing again.  It was something simple and low-pressure. I would write about my knitting and other creative pursuits to share with other crafters. It was a safe space of my own making, and I didn’t put a lot of pressure on myself. At that time, it didn’t feel like there was a lot of judgement back then, even if your pictures were kind of crappy (mine totally were).

But over time, I started to really enjoy the process of writing, and that yearning to do it more seriously crept back into my consiousness.

So here I am nearly 20 years later, still longing to be a writer, still questioning whether I have something worthwhile to share.

It’s something I think about nearly every day.  Writing writing writing writing. Clearly something is pushing its way out of me, I just need to give it the time to come out.

What you focus on expands. You make time for what is important to you.

Writing is always on my list of unfulfilled dreams, a thing I often say I wish I did more of. And yet, when I have space to write in my day, I often fill it with other things.  Which leaves me with a continued sense of yearning.

Back in the fall I wrote about spending 15 minutes a day on something.  I typically choose to spend my 15 minutes reading or writing. After beginning this practice, I quickly noticed that after just a few days, my mind felt brighter and more eager, new ideas flowing in with ease.  I had tons of ideas for new blog posts, and even a little nugget for a book. Scary and thrilling!

It felt so good. And yet…

Sometimes I still procrastinate writing or getting really vulnerable and honest by doing other things that feel more productive.  I think I fill the space I could spend writing because I am afraid.  The more I avoid getting real on the page, the more this sense of yearning grows. And along with that yearning, a mounting sense of self-doubt.

If I want to write so much, why don’t I just do it?  Is it that I am afraid I don’t have anything to say?  Or is it the opposite: that I’m afraid I DO have something to say?


Knowing that we’re not alone in our insecurities and overwhelm can make such a difference in mindset.  What do you yearn to do?  Have you taken small steps to get closer to that goal?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

Create a new habit in just 15 minutes a day! via www.peacefulknitter.wordpress.com

15 minutes a day

 

Create a new habit in just 15 minutes a day! via www.peacefulknitter.wordpress.com

Morning rituals. Habit trackers. 10,000 hours. 21 days. Lifehacks. The Four Habits.

There’s so much advice out there for how to create new habits that help you achieve your goals.  I’ve considered many of them, and they just haven’t worked.

They haven’t worked because the chunk of time required seemed out of reach.  I’m a business owner and mom of two young children!  I don’t have a lot of open spaces in my day, and when I do (usually at the end of a full day) I often choose sleep or cuddling on the couch with my wife and the remote.

A lack of perceived time is a convenient excuse, and one I’ve leaned on a lot in recent years.

But the fact of the matter is, the time and space for achieving my goals is already there. I just haven’t been taking advantage of them.

It’s all too easy for me to spend 15 minutes in between activities scrolling through Instagram, checking my email, or browsing Pinterest.  At the end of the day I often wonder where I the time went. But it was there, hiding in those 15 minute increments.

At the end of almost every day I wished I had gone for a walk or done some writing.  I spent more time consuming content than creating it.

So, instead of wishing for it, I’m making myself do it.  15 minutes a day, first thing.

I’m sitting down at the laptop and writing whatever comes out of my head, for 15 minutes every morning.

Here’s what I’m doing:

  • committing to writing 15 minutes a day.
  • writing directly into a Google Doc so I can add to it or access it from anywhere.
  • setting a timer on my phone and making myself write until the time is up.  And sometimes I keep writing beyond the 15 minutes!  (high fives self)

It has been a beautiful practice.  A simple practice. And I feel so good about spending some time on an activity that I have been longing to make space for.

I don’t know where it’s going, and I’m not worried about that. The whole point is to begin. To not censor myself or edit as I go, or think about the content’s usefulness in my life or business. Just writing for the sake of writing. And it feels so good.

The more I commit to one 15 minute habit, the more space I’m seeing in my day for other habits.  The thrill of this practice has me thinking of the other things I’ve been longing to do. Those things that repeatedly tug at my attention, whispering You should do this…

I think meditation is next, probably at the end of my day.

What’s one thing you could do for 15 minutes a day? Let me know in the comments below!

Yarn Along :: Cake + Knitting

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From Ginny: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

***

I cannot stop reading this book.

I don’t usually go in for short fiction.  In the past, I’ve found short stories to be a little bit heartbreaking, pulling you into these rich worlds, only to spit you back out a few short pages later.  But Sarah Selecky’s collection, This Cake is for the Party, offers more comfort and intimacy than that.  I’ve felt transported to a new life in each story, and while I’m a little sad when they’re over, I’m never disappointed.

Cake is contemporary, honest, and wryly funny, with plenty of heart, sensuality, and ache mixed in.  The stories are just long/short enough to indulge in over coffee before work, or in the tub after a long day.  And not only is Selecky’s fiction work worth checking out, so is her writing project and website.  So much inspiration for writers and readers alike!

As for the knitting, well that’s still a holiday secret.  But I will tell you this: it’s almost finished, and I’m absolutely itching to cast on something that’s just for me.

So what’s in your project bag and on your nightstand this week?

Blogtoberfest 2009

I’ve been thinking over the pros and cons of participating in Blogtoberfest, a challenge to write a blog post every day in October, for a few days now.  Mostly I think it will be an interesting challenge, but part of me is also terrified that I won’t have anything interesting to say.  What happens when, on day 17 say, all I do is stay home in my pajamas and do laundry?  On the other hand, I like writing, and this could be just the external motivation I need to push myself a little farther.

So I will inevitably need to push the boundaries of this blog past knitting, gently exploring other areas of my creative and everyday life (the two don’t always coincide, as I’m sure you’ll see).  Fortunately for all of us, I do have some exciting fiber-related activities coming up that will be fun to document and share.  Rhinebeck, anyone?  I’m also planning to take a photo every day, sort of a mini Project 365 challenge.  Is there anything you’d like to see me write about?

I hope you’ll join me on this new adventure during the month of October.  There will be knitting, sewing, travel, and at least one day where I don’t get out of my pajamas. See you tomorrow for Day One!