|Blue Flow wallpaper by Tactician|
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term "flow" to describe the state of being " fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity." "In flow, the emotions are positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand...with a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task." [Wikipedia, which I usually won't reference but this pretty much explains it for me.]
I really only have two pastimes where I consistently experience flow. Most often I find it in the garden. I frequently plan to go out for an hour, and end up crawling back into the house dehydrated and inexplicably ravenous only to realize that I've been out there for five hours. I completely lose track of time. My favorite thing to do - and my most productive mediation task - is pulling spring grass. Not the nasty Bermuda stuff, but the lovely, loose-rooted grass with the lovely fragrance of clean spring. I can't get enough of the flowers and the butterflies and my hands in the dirt.
Losing the sight in one eye made that task more difficult, but not impossible.
It did make my other flow pastime impossible.
I love all kinds of handwork, but counted cross stitch is my favorite and the only craft in which I experience flow. How it has hurt to not be able to see well enough to stitch!
Even though I am thrilled with the broad success of my surgery Tuesday, I've been very nervous about trying to stitch again. The retinopathy in September 2014 left me with a wrinkle - scar tissue on the retina - that has created an Alice in Wonderland effect in my world at large. Through my right eye I have no vertical or horizontal lines. Not straight ones, anyway. For my day-to-day life this isn't a serious issue. My left eye works in concert with the right now, well enough that I can do most things (like drive) safely. But I've been, frankly, terrified to see what a piece of cross stitch fabric looks like with this wavy line thing rocking my world.
|"Meadow Dance" Marjolein Bastin|
Tucked into my Dad's recliner with the natural light coming over my shoulder through the patio door, I first pulled out a #28 tapestry needle (the smallest made for this needle art). I pulled a double strand and straightened it, took a deep breath and attempted to thread the needle.
I nearly cried from relief when I was able to get the two threads through the eye on the second try.
The next test was to try to slide the thread under adjoining stitches next to the area where I wanted to work. No problem.
Finally, and the most challenging task, I reached behind the fabric to work the needle up through the tiny hole between adjoining stitches. And was successful. Again and again and again and again!
Five stitches. Five perfect little stitches.
See them? See that little green smudge just above the butterfly's head?
No glasses. No magnifying lens. I kept imagining they weren't correct, but each time I stated to pull one apart to fix it, I found that yes, it was a perfect little stitch.
I may not get to sleep tonight I'm so excited. Such an important door opened. I have dozens of projects I want to work on, a half dozen or more already started. I'm feeling very grateful that spring break will be here soon and I can devote several days to getting my studio whipped back into shape. Such a lovely space to be so abused by worry that I would not be able to enjoy the hobbies that I had planned to spend my time on in there.
Getting my life back together.
One stitch at a time.