What will you find out about yourself during the forty days of Lent this year?
A contemplative practice not only helps us connect with God; it helps us connect with ourselves. Each time we commit to a practice we learn something. The important part about learning is not to become judgmental or get frustrated.
Nothing sends me over the deep end faster than trying a new technique. I’ve been knitting for fifty years and I feel like I should be able to do anything by now. However, when it takes three attempts to do a tubular cast on for a simple hat, I have to remind myself to be patient with myself!
I’m going to suggest you create a method of tracking your contemplative knitting prayer time as a way of learning about yourself, not to make you feel anxious or guilty. Tracking commitments is critical if we want to sustain a practice. It helps us notice when we begin to lose focus or get off track. Sometimes trackers can be the exact motivation we need. How many of us jumped through hoops to walk the 10,000 steps when our Fitbit or walking app reminded us that we were at 9500 steps for the day? I had a friend who paced back and forth in her tiny New York City apartment each night just to hit her step goal. (I know, who wants to be controlled by an app! I promise I did not turn the car around on the way to the gym when I forgot my watch.)
There are many different ways you can choose to track your progress during the next forty days. It could be as simple as checking off a box on your to do list or making a mark (or use a sticker) on your calendar. You could decide to text a friend each day to let them know you finished your practice. You could track the measurements of your project using progress keepers. Progress keepers are similar to stitch markers but can open and close like a safety pin so they can be easily moved.
Tracking our commitment is not meant to create anxiety or guilt. It’s meant to help us learn about ourselves. Getting off track is not a failure it’s an opportunity. It’s helpful to have an attitude of curiosity as we approach starting a new practice. Each day, week, and month we can reflect back on what has happened in our practice. Maybe we skipped three days because a family member was sick, or we were too tired, or we were too discouraged. This is valuable information. It means we need to spend some time reflecting on what is going on in our lives and figure out what we need to do differently. What would motivate us to restart? Can we put our restart plan into place? https://contemplativeknitting.com/2021/01/20/sustaining-your-knitting-practice/
Maybe we spent more time or knit more rows or did twelve inches in the first day. We may need to rethink what we are doing before we experience a hand injury. What’s happening in our lives that is causing us to spend too much time on our knitting practice? Are we avoiding something?
We could decide that this type of spiritual practice is not for us. Let me just get back to knitting! That’s ok too! There are many ways to pray and deepen our relationship with God.
How will we track our progress? How will we restart? How will we all support each other?