20 November 2013

Going with the Programme

I've never been able to stick to plans. Even growing up I was incapable of following instructions and felt compelled to always invent new ways of doing things. This is both a creative blessing but also something of a curse because some essential rebelliousness within me, some fiercely independant core is always vigilant lest I fall asleep at the wheel and give someone else the controls. It just won't allow me to draw within the lines. The up side is that this brings me energy and an urge to always invent but you know, it's exhausting, it wears me out, it's often unnecessary and sometimes, just sometimes, going with a plan, a pre-determined path and someone else's ideas is just fine. It's a struggle to let go but when I do, it's blissful.
This is the joy of the craft kit. I'm still savouring my fair isle arm warmers and although it's not sold as a kit I'm following the pattern to the letter with the precisely specified yarn and needles. My mind is eased by the lack of decision making. I give my trust to the designer of these wonderful objects and my tangled mind breathes a sigh of relief. The pressure is off.

Learning to paint by numbers took me 37 years to discover and the realization that there is something profound in trusting the knowledge of others came to me as an insight on Galapagos.
Eco-tourism permits require strict regulation of visitors to minimise the environmental impact. There's no off-roading here or inventing your own itinerary. As I was chaperoned around an island covered in nesting boobies, iguanas and sea lions I recall the clear and profound moment I stopped fighting. I relented and let the guides decide how long I was allowed to linger (I love spending time to suck the marrow out of experiences) but I discovered the time was just perfectly enough because it focused and opened my mind to relishing the moments I had and it was the imperfection of the moment that made it all the more vivid. I went with the programme and the programme was good.
It's that classic truth that life happens whilst you're making other plans. Trying too hard and reinventing the wheel every moment can prevent you from being in the present. Perhaps it's all just ego. Whilst it brings me original gifts, I often think I'm missing something obvious - that opening and letting go bring rewards. That rather than losing myself by submitting to someone else's view of the world, I release energy, relax entangled thinking and experience the joy of the present through moments of trust. You could call it faith. When icon painters copy their old masters they feel they find contact with the painter of the past through copying their brush strokes and physical style. Their spiritual vibration is passed on through these bodily traces - the way they made their marks and laid down paint, with vigour or gentleness. The student almost channels them like the way you can feel people if you copy their handwriting, it helps you gain insight into them if you listen carefully to the way it makes your body move. Perhaps the same is true for knitters. So here's to knit kits and the gifts they bring and to the melding of creative minds between those who lead and those who follow and the deep peace it can bring to just go with the programme and allow someone else to take the creative strain for a little while.

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