May 29, 2022

Mindful Sewing: Wonder

Have you ever watched children play? Not in a creepy way, but children you know: your kids, nieces, nephews, family friends. And have you ever noticed how they never cease to be amazed by things?

When my nephew was maybe 18 months old, I watched him for a full hour put a ball into a mini basketball hoop. Instead of doing it, getting a sense of completion and moving on, he just kept picking up the ball, banging it through the basket, and giggling like it was the best thing to ever happen in the world. On the one hand, I personally found this hour quite dull. But also, it was fascinating to watch his little mind work in real time. Sometimes I wish I could be just like him and approach the world with his beginner mind. 

This past month was Me Made May and part of the challenge is to take a look at your handmade wardrobe to see what you have, what you need, and what you can get rid of. Looking through my wardrobe, I was struck by how many items I love and wear constantly were from my first year of sewing. And how, looking back on them, I had no business making them in my first year. 

I made six-piece gore skirt dresses, jeans, and wool-lined dresses when I probably should've been focusing on box tops and skirts. I dove into projects well beyond my actual skill with a beginner mind just to see if I could do it, to see what would happen. With my beginner's mind, I was like my nephew, not worried about the end result, but filled with wonder at the process.

Nowadays, I reach for certainty in my sewing. I want to know if what I'm doing will turn out wearable. I also don't have the same sense of wonder at the process. It doesn't amaze me anymore that I can sew a dress, and so I make one, get my small hit of accomplishment, and move on. I've lost the thrill of making things that I once had.

But, here's the thing: it's still freaking amazing that I can make things! It's not something everyone can do. I can take a piece of fabric and turn it into something truly unique and handmade. So this June, I'm trying to remind myself of this fact. I'm trying to maintain a sense of wonder in my creativity and creation. I'm trying to approach my sewing with a beginner's mind so that I dive into a project without any pressure on the end result.

For this month, I'm trying to look at my sewing as the best thing ever to happen in the world. Because in that very moment, who's to say it isn't?

Until next time. . . 

Happy sewing, 
Mary


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