First of all, I wanted to send a shout-out and thank you to the recent commenters, Sarah, Kate and Denise. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! Its so nice to see the bloggers I read regularly find their way here as well.
Now then, I have a friend named Katherine who likes to refer to her angry self as the "Wrath of Kath." She once suggested that I might start trotting out my "Zen of Jen" on suitable occasions, but let's face it: I just don't have it. But I might be learning it; three recent episodes have reinforced the zen-ness of knitting in my otherwise completely zen-less brain.
Episode 1: last Friday, lunch hour.
It was a stressful day at the end of a stressful week. I decided some knitting refreshment was in order, so I headed out to meet my knitting buddies at the usual place and time (we meet occasionally on Fridays at lunch).
I do virtually all of my knitting at home, after I have had a chance to unwind. By the time I pick up the needles, I am already in relaxing mode. Similarly, at previous lunch hour knitting meetings, work has been relatively calm, and I have been able to slip pretty readily into knitting mode. Not this time. My needles couldn't seem to find a comfortable place in my hands, and my pattern seemed confusing at first. This latter bit was particularly telling, as I'd been knitting on this scarf for a few days now, and it is a herringbone lace, which is easier (!!) than even the ol' feather and fan. Seriously.
It was the first time I had ever noticed the difference between my state of mind in Work Mode, and my state of mind in Knit Mode. Truth be told, Work Mode is kind of a twitchy klutz who can't focus unless 500 things are happening at once. But I kept at it, and sure enough, Knit Mode got up off the chaise longue, stretched a bit, and picked up the needles. I felt a steady wave of calm suffuse my body, followed by an internal click, after which I was knitting along at my usual rhythm. I was amazed.
Episode 2: on airplane Friday night.
I used to be a great flyer. But as I got older and had more to lose (and after 9/11, too), the whole concept of flying seemed really scary to me. So scary, in fact, that when I landed in Las Vegas for my bachelorette weekend (Memorial Day Weekend, 2006) I actually had a panic attack. The whole show came out on stage, with shortness of breath, racing heart, overwhelming feelings of impending disaster and, of course, shnuffly tears accompanied by mucus, all dancing merrily together in a long chorus line. Hoooboy.
I did more or less successfully fly to and from Italy last September without much in the way of panic, but then, DH was with me and I'd had a couple of drinks. It was also really late at night and I was exhausted.
So, the true test came on Friday, March 16, when I flew to Las Vegas for my dear friend's baby shower (no, it wasn't that we were all going to see Thunder from Down Under, she lives in Henderson). I had fortified myself with a glass of way too buttery Chardonnay, but the main thing is, I had my knitting on board (the aforementioned scarf). Though I had to put it away for landing, I was able to draw on that zen-like feeling to short-circuit my fear. For some reason, planes coming into Vegas do so really fast, and continue at what feels like the same lightning speed when they meet the runway.
When I felt the panic rise, for rise it did, I found myself repeating the stitch pattern in my head over and over again: "knit two yarn over purl two together, knit two yarn over purl two together...." Before I knew it, we were at the gate, and I was ready to disembark. Crisis averted. The lesson apparently stuck, because I didn't have a single bit of panic on the way back Sunday.
Episode 3: Today's lunch special is yarn.
A bit of a crazy morning got me thinking that I'd like to knit at lunch today. I headed up to Artfibers with the now famous panic-averting scarf, which I am knitting in their Sylph yarn. After checking out their new roving, Miso (of which I bought 100 grams), I sat down in a chair to knit. And you know what? This time, I didn't have any problems switching from Work Mode to Knit Mode. Knit Mode just happened. Zen just happened.