The fabric of my mindfulness

It is a sunny August day, the sun is shining and I am in my cold dark office writing a blog.

This has led to some sulking on my part – and a strong urge to escape into the garden with my crochet hook.

My office is also my craft room, and I have caught sight of some fabric I bought recently in a Bristol market. I didn’t, of course, need any more fabric. In fact, I am going through a ruthless fabric decluttering exercise. (OK, not really ruthless). But it is beautiful printed cotton – and at only £2 a metre, it would have been rude not to buy – or so I thought.

You may not have noticed, but just now I stopped writing this blog and got up to look at the fabric again. I mused on what I could make with it and what colours would blend to create something beautiful. I had a little rummage in a couple of boxes to see if I had anything in those colours. Then I footled around for a while laying them all out together and had a quick internet browse looking at Amish quilts. Again.

At some point, I recollected that I was actually in the middle of writing a blog. And I realised that here was a perfect example of the subject of mindfulness.

Some years ago I started practicing mindfulness and meditation to try and tame what you can see is a pretty unruly mind. For a long time – years in fact – I was frustrated by my head wanderings. I would sit angrily on my little meditation stool - which I must cover incidentally, I am thinking a hand-pieced quilted effort of maybe radiating diamonds....

As I was saying, I would sit on my little meditation stool shouting internally at myself: WHY AM I THINKING AND NOT CALM?

Then, I took a course, read lots of books and realised that actually the process of bringing my errant mind back to the present is meditation. It is a practice that takes a lot of practising. Bringing your mind gently back to the present, without judgement, is an awful lot of the point.

 There are tools to help in this; breath being the most portable and readily accessible. And just to prove that the world is benign, there is also rhythmic and repetitive activity, such as, oh, knitting or sewing, for instance.

 Activities that absorb our mind and focus are a form of meditation. When I get lost in my fabric or yarn stash – playing with colours against the light, feeling the texture of the material in my hands, smelling the yarn, absorbed in what I can create – I am deep in that particular moment.

The trick of life is just making sure that whatever we are absorbed in, is what we are meant to be doing at that time, such as writing blogs, instead of feeling up fabric.

That’s a practice too.