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Crafting as Meditation

I don't know about you, but I've been having a really hard time concentrating on anything right now. I had finished a bunch of my works in progress and was eager to cast on something new, but I just couldn't make a choice of what I wanted to do, even though I have a ton of projects I really do want to make.  (I finally settled on a project.) I find myself wandering my house with tons of tasks I should be doing but having a hard time actually getting anything done. I've discovered that taking just a few moments to breathe and focus on nothing else but that breathing helps quite a bit (at least for a little while).

So I'd like to take that idea and turn it to our crafting in the coming weeks. Really it's a practice called mindfulness. There are tons of resources out there that you can look up, but it's a pretty simple concept at its heart: focus your attention on the present moment.

Sometimes, when people think of meditation or mindfulness they think that it means making your mind go completely blank. And they have a hard time doing that so they think they aren't good at meditating or can't do it. But making your mind go blank is really not what meditation/mindfulness is about. It's about focus.

So how can we do that with our knitting/crocheting/spinning? It's actually a perfect activity to practice mindfulness with. I'll give you a knitting example, but the same thing can apply to another craft.

First, go some place where you won't be interrupted. (Yes, I know that might be a challenge especially right now.) You don't need a long stretch of time. Just 5 minutes is great, especially to start. Turn off the TV/radio/podcast/audiobook. Get comfortable and pick up your knitting. Choose a project where you can work for a while without having to keep looking at the instructions.

Now, focus solely on your knitting. Watch the needle enter the stitch, feel your fingers move to wrap the yarn around the needle and pull the stitch through. Listen to any sound your needles might make or any swish of the yarn. Go slowly and really pay attention to the movements you are making and any sensations you're having while working on your craft.

As you do this, you might find your mind wandering. Maybe you're hungry. Maybe you're worried about what your kids are doing. Maybe you're wondering what the latest news is. Any time you find your mind wandering, bring your attention back to the movement of your knitting needles and the yarn creating stitches. Don't get upset at yourself in those moments. As soon as you realize your mind has moved away from the knitting in your hands, bring your focus back to your knitting.

And that's what mindfulness is all about. You're training your mind to focus on your knitting. You shouldn't expect yourself to have complete focus right away. It's absolutely natural for your mind to wander, so don't worry about that. Just keep returning your focus to the knitting whenever you catch your mind wandering.

And these little breaks (again, it doesn't have to be very long at all!) sprinkled throughout your day can be really helpful when your brain feels like it's just running running running and can't stop. The more you practice this mindfulness, the longer you can go with just focusing on the knitting in your hands. And I don't know about you, but those breaks are extremely welcome these days!

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