In this age of social media devices gobbling up every spare nanosecond of our down time our brain is starved of time to disconnect and travel the realms of our imagination. These journeys are essential for our personal well-being and sparking our creative receptors that generate unique ideas.
Disconnecting to reconnect…
Since deciding to get serious about blogging I’m finding it hard to step away from my iPhone and MacBook Air. My new thirty-minute commute is lost inside a small white screen instead of musing on the still slightly spooky winter landscapes of the city streets and Auckland Domain.
Last month I left my laptop at home, packed my sewing and embroidery kit and with a friend headed to Taupo to reconnect with a social activity straight out of Jane Austin’s world, stitching in the company of women.
Sample Gathering, Taupo…
This gathering is held every two years; I have been to three. I was initially invited by a girlfriend and thought it would be a fun girls weekend away. And it was. It was though much more.
There is such a rich feminine tradition with samplers, that stitching motifs, some newly designed others centuries old, becomes a connection to a time when women not only used needlework skills to assist with running the family household but also to learn. From the 1700s women stitched samplers using the alphabet and numerals, education disguised as learning a skill. By the late 1700s and early1800s the samplers became more involved and decorative, elevating the status of samplers to works of art to be displayed and admired.
It had been many, many years since I last embroidered so I had no idea that this tradition continued to thrive. And thrive it does. We have in our midst some wonderfully talented embroiders who not only stitch but design and teach this skill to yet another generation of females.
I think back to some of Jane Austin books, scenes set in country manor houses, where life was lived at a very different pace. Somehow through the simple acts of stitching and talking we created that energy of warmth and camaraderie, which emanated from the pages of Austin’s books.
Meditation in Cross-stitch…
I am very much a novice embroider however, I can say with great clarity that cross-stitch (counted thread embroidery) is my preferred stitch. As there is a beauty to creating a uniform X, which becomes rhythmic and therefore, lulling me into a meditative state of mind.
For those who need silence to meditate it might seem strange that my mind can happily wander off into a Zen state of being well my hands are at work and my ears are aware of the dulcet tones of female voices regal tales of everyday lives. Yet I mentally disconnect and recharge.
My eyes, despite using a magnify glass, felt the strained at the end of the day.
Reconnecting to Thrive…
Social networking along with our modern work force is fast-paced, unrelenting and unforgiving. To survive and to continue to thrive we need to step away from the digital devices and give our minds time to reconnect to our imagination or inner being.
Perhaps one of the loudest and best known voices on thriving is Arianna Huffington. While I’m learning to take time out to sit in the sun and embroider Arianna is learning to rejuvenate through sleep. This quote from her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being Wisdom, and Wonder will hopefully inspire you also to take a little time-out to disconnect.
“It is very telling what we don’t hear in eulogies. We almost never hear things like: “The crowning achievement of his life was when he made senior vice president.” Or: “He increased market share for his company multiple times during his tenure.” Or: “She never stopped working. She ate lunch at her desk. Every day.” Or: “He never made it to his kid’s Little League games because he always had to go over those figures one more time.” Or: “While she didn’t have any real friends, she had six hundred Facebook friends, and she dealt with every email in her in-box every night.” Or: “His PowerPoint slides were always meticulously prepared.” Our eulogies are always about the other stuff: what we gave, how we connected, how much we meant to our family and friends, small kindnesses, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.”