Monday 4 January 2016

I've been stitching in one form or another for some time. I started with knitting squares just because it was easy and accessible. I was travelling a lot at the time and wanted something else to occupy me apart from my job - task lists, unfinished project,  texting and emailing.  I had no ambitions to create anything I just wanted to see if I could still knit squares. I discovered I could indeed knit simple squares. I also noticed that after a few rows I felt calmer and somehow more focussed - an interesting development and unexpected benefit.

Like most humans I get stressed and anxious and sometimes anxiety has been more dominant in my life than I would have liked. Anxiety has, I find, a language all of it's own. Sometimes I understand what it is telling me - slow down, change your approach, ask for help. The voice of anxiety can be helpful and almost gentle.  Other times I don't understand a word. It shouts and points the finger -why have you not done that, you messed up there. It's sharp, it cuts and it can lead to a paralysis - a stuck-ness. There is no reasoning with this state - any fighting can render me exhausted and so entangled.

I have tried all sorts of escape routes and sometimes I have escaped from it and not known how I got away. I have not known why the thoughts attached to anxiety have quietened or disappeared. For me that's the nature of it -whatever your it is. There is no quick fix. What worked before may or may not work again.

Stitching remains a constant for me. It involves physical movement with materials which can help put shape on what is indefinable. Stitching has a rhythm that connects me with body and mind - it pulls on the invisible, stretches the stuck-ness, unpicks and redefines. Stitching has has no concern about clean slates, new beginnings or resolutions. Stitching works in the present with the past and into the future.