Exercising the body is a common (and noble) New Year’s Resolution. But what about mind and soul? Do you exercise your mind? Your soul? How do you go about doing that?
Thoughts on exercising the Mind:
Jane Dunnewold had a series of articles in Quilting Arts called ‘Unbound’. I particularly liked her ‘Thoughts on Making’ (June/July 2015 issue). She challenges her readers to make time for art. Slow down. Take time to play.
Do you find that scary? I do. I like a plan of action. I like to be productive. Considering my ‘to do’ list for 2016, it will be hard to slow down and just ‘play’. And the results might be a little scary!
Fortunately Jane gives us some ideas to get started. For example,
“…consider using your age. Find enough bit and pieces to add up to your age in whatever way it adds up for you.” Another idea: “Take 100 anything. Black beans, strips or paper or anything else. Glue, embed, string and/or combine them.”
Another author I find inspiring is Vikki Pignatelli. In her book Nurture Your Creative Spirit (2012), she says…
“When exploring your curiosity, keep in mind art forms and concepts have no boundaries and may overlap. As quilters, consider using your photography, beading, weaving, crochet, felting, drawing,etc. to enrich your work. As artists, you have no limitations and may intermix favorite crafts. Try everything. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain.” (pg 54)
Thoughts on exercising the Body:
I wear a pedometer. On days that I quilt, my pedometer registers between 2000 and 3000 steps. The recommendation is 10,000 steps a day, which is difficult to obtain even on days I exercise.
We love efficiency and we love what we do. So we set up our work space with our sewing machines, ironing and cutting surfaces all close together. The hours fly by and before you know it the day is over and we haven’t left the house.
Rather than reaching for a goal that is unobtainable, I want to simply increase the number of steps in an average day. Can we get to 5000 steps per day by the end of the year? I am not sure exactly how to get there. I suspect that moving the ironing board further away will only result in fewer trips to the ironing station. But I will let you know if I come up with any creative solutions…
Thoughts on exercising the Soul:
Souls are complex, and more than a touch nebulous. I will go out on a limb and say that to exercise our souls, we need to become more comfortable with who we are, more purposeful in our interactions with others, and more in tune with our spiritual being.
What does this have to do with quilting? I have come across a lot of literature which suggests that quilting is a spiritual exercise. For today, allow me to quote from Rev. Dr. Howard E. Friend Jr. in the Foreword of With Sacred Threads: Quilting and the Spiritual Life (2000). He states:
A quilter is a “psalmist.” When you can’t merely say it, when words fail, you sing it, dance it…quilt it. Joy or sadness, hope or despair, peace or anger, love or hate. Forthright, courageous, unapologetic. Boisterous and vivid, shy and muted. Halting and hesitant, persistent and bold. Gift from a psalmist, yet just as often gift to the psalmist. Cathartic. Cleansing. Renewing. A vigorous dance with the Divine. Wrestling. Contesting. Intimate. Life-giving.”
Exercise is about quality of life. Or, more specifically, extending our quality of life. My goals for 12016 will be modest:
- Look for art daily and participate in at least one artistic activity
- Increase the number of steps per day to an average of 5000/day
- Take one concept and create an art quilt based on that concept
Will you join me? Do you have other ideas you would like to share on how to move forward on these 3 fronts?