It took me four hours to get to work on Friday morning. I got to the train station just in time to catch my train to Geelong, but there was no train. There would be no trains all morning: they’d all been cancelled.
I hate being late. When I was little, my older sister and I attended a tiny, private school run by our church. The school handed out demerits for tardiness and other naughty behaviours, and the threat of receiving a demerit terrified me. My mom used to struggle to get four children out of bed, ready, and into the car for the school run, and we were constantly late to school. The school principal was our church pastor, and the teachers were my mom’s best friends. They all knew my mom’s struggle. Yet it never occurred to me that they might be lenient on me or my family. I would arrive at school frustrated, embarrassed and cranky, all because of an imagined threat of getting into trouble.
I’m not a very punctual person, but I still hate being late. It still fills me with dread and anxiety when I realise my train or tram isn’t going to move quickly enough to arrive at my destination on time. And it doesn’t matter where I’m going, or if anyone will even care that I’m late. I spend the whole journey stressing.
Unless I have my knitting. Knitting occupies my brain in such a low level way that it frees me from any anxious thoughts plaguing me, while allowing my mind to wander down calmer paths. When I’m knitting, my lateness doesn’t bother me as much. I still know I’m late, but I’m able to place my trust in the car/bus/tram/tain driver to get me to my destination, eventually. I did a lot of knitting over the four hours I was traveling to work Friday morning! My ball of wool was getting very close to the end, but it was just enough to get me through the extra-long commute.
Even if I don’t practice mindful knitting, knitting helps me to reach a more meditative state. It lets me step back from the anxiety and panic. And it wasn’t until I read Julia’s recent post on finding yin that I understood why: in knitting, I inadvertently focus on the pause between stitches, the gap inside the next stitch, the slowing of the needle as it reaches its apex before coming back towards me. Then there’s the almost imperceptible growing of a garment that will be useful to me or the person I’m knitting for. It’s incredibly therapeutic.
Right now, I’m making myself a jumper for this cold weather. I can’t wait for it to be finished! (Though of course, I’m enjoying the process!) Want to know what I’m making? The pattern is called Mira, and was written by Justyna Lorkowska (@letesknits). It features bee stitch, which is very squishy and cosy. I can’t wait to wear it! And for now, I’ll revel in an opportunity to spend four hours knitting away on it.