I just finished reading a book by Susan Gordon Lydon called The Knitting Sutra: Craft as Spiritual Practice.It was an interesting read and overall I liked the book. Lydon, a recovering drug addict, writer and master knitter, details how through her knitting she was able to heal herself and find her way spiritually. She tells of how she jumped from one religious practice to another trying to find her true path. Somehow, the act of knitting led her to the conclusion that her own path was something she alone could articulate and find. While reading the book though, I worried that her obsessive knitting was actually just a replacement for her drug addiction. Sometimes I felt that way but other times, I really did see how the absolute concentration of doing intricate knitting work could just be that absorbing.
Well, it's a funny thing . . . I was looking for a book to detail just how (i.e. the steps by which) we may turn crafting into prayer. Lydon does a good job of explaining how in many indigenous cultures, that's what it is but it is certainly not a blueprint for doing so in your own crafting. Still, this book re-inspired me to pick up my needles and I started a new project--a soaker--probably the last one I will ever need to knit. I also realized that for the time being, I am going to stick to small, simple projects to reduce the frustration and increase the enjoyment. As the kids get older, though, I'm determined to become a better, more advanced crafter (sewing, knitting and crochet).
I have to admit, though. It's a little off-putting (just a smidge) all this new age-y type books (check out on Amazon.com all the suggested related titles to Lydon's book) that place emphasis on both knitting and meditating, two things which are now ultra-chic but which the ancients have been doing since, well, ancient times. It feels like folks are trying to make a profit from something that should be obvious, that should have been passed down but somehow wasn't, something that wound up lost but really isn't. But I believe that if knitting/crafting and meditating or knitting/crafting as meditating can be reintroduced to us to bring more peace to our lives, bring us back to our roots, and reconnect us to the Earth and to each other, then it's really all good.
So, when you craft (cook, knit, sew, crochet) is your work a meditation? Or are you more focused on the finished product? I tend to be outcome oriented but after reading this book, I'm once again inspired to find "the stillness within, a way to contact the soul" through my work.