Like a mosaic, broken and bound to create a meaningful and colorful masterpiece—my studio is a collection of tiny pieces of myself. I created it with colors, objects and textures that feed my senses. It is a place to feast my eyes on my creations—a basket woven with disregarded rope, a box painted in hues of blues, the first blanket I made draped over my chair and another being knitted on the table.
My studio is a place to strike a match and inhale the essence of jungle gardenia, as well as, a space to turn the volume up and let the music flow through me like yarn through my fingers. My studio is an Elysian space—a magical invitation to knit and purl several skeins of yarn into a wholesome, luxurious blanket. My studio serves as my breathing and healing space. At the mere thought of opening its door, I fill my sternum with the wonder of breath. Breathing centers me and so does something as simple as the eucalyptus and mint soap I use to wash my hands before I touch the yarn. The process of knitting, the stirring of my heart and the movement of my hands is my meditation. It is also a prayer, with a twist. Only after I’ve been knitting for a while, after intentional silence, do I utter words from my lips. Sometimes, the silence whispers a new pattern and in response, I say, “Ah! Wow! OK,” which is my version of Amen.
“To you the earth yields her fruit, and you shall not want if you but know how to fill your hands.” – Khalil Gibran
I pray because a few years ago, after suffering from chronic pain for over 10 years, I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis and adenomyosis. As a result, I had a hysterectomy at the age of 33. During this time, with the sweetest intent, people asked what they could do to help, but their questions left me weary, with additional things to think and worry about. When a friend simply offered to knit me a prayer shawl, I was relieved. The idea of someone intentionally praying and sending out positive thoughts while they knitted me a gift appealed to my sentimental side; wearing a shawl, however, didn’t and instead, I asked my friend to knit me a pair of prayer socks. A few weeks after surgery, she gifted me a fine pair of hand-knitted red socks with three buttons on the side. I LOVED them!
I returned to my routine slowly, and the first day back to church, instead of meeting with my regular Sunday school class, I walked in the direction of the older women knitting in the parlor. They welcomed me, taught me how to select yarn and hold my needle. They taught me how to knit, purl and pray. It’s been five years since my first lesson, and I am still knitting, and I still have my prayer socks. They have a few holes with varying colors of threads from my stitching them together, but they continue to keep my feet warm. They remind me of a time someone intentionally prayed for me—for my surgeon, my children, my husband, my health and recovery.
Mindfulness means calling myself back from pesky thoughts of the past and out from the illusions of the future. I call myself back to this moment.