I love bags. I also like starting knitting projects. Casting on something new is always a thrill and I go hard at it. Then I hit a point in the pattern that causes me to have to try something new or takes more concentration than I have in the moment and the project joins my other WIPS (works in progress) in a beautiful bag.
A friend, who is a professional organizer, suggested that I hang my beautiful bags in my sewing room instead of storing them in a closet. I bought some large hooks and hung up most of my bags. I love looking at them but after a few days I had no idea what was in them.
So I created an index in a notebook which has now disappeared in the depths of my sewing room. I still love the projects in the bag but whenever I took one down to work on it, I would get discouraged because I wasn’t sure where I had left off.
Out of sight, out of mind, they say.
I needed a strategy. I watched a lot of knitters talk about how to deal with their WIPS and the answer was pretty simple. Make a commitment to finish a project.
I choose a few projects (I’m not a monogamous knitter) and put them in plain sight. I thought about my original motivation for each project and I wrote it down. I made an easily attainable daily commitment to each project (like 5 rows a day) and I was off and running. I worked on each project consistently and my WIPS started turning into Finished Objects.
The spiritual life is about raising our level of awareness, putting stuff we need to work on in plain sight. We may have stuffed parts of ourselves in bags and attempted to ignore what’s inside. If we leave it in the bag, it will never change. We have to take out our WIPS of grief or betrayal or frustration and examine it, figure out where we left off and what we can do to stitch it together. It’s painful but necessary in order to make progress.
I recently took an old betrayal out of my emotional bag and started to untangle it. It was complicated like a colorwork sweater yoke. I knew I had to examine each piece of it and figure out how to make it into something I could wear. I looked at my disappointments in the relationship and thought about what I had learned. It’s still a work in process, but I’m committed to working through it.
I know I will always be a work in process, I just need to keep doing the work. I know from my knitting, that doing the work will create something beautiful and precious.