At last, I am on my final Christmas scarf, believe it or not. I only started the weekend before Halloween, and I have lost count of how many scarves I have knitted during that time for friends and family.
I always like to make my Christmas presents whenever possible because I like to put my own energy into my gifts. I like to let the person I give the present to know that I was thinking of them specifically in a loving, thoughtful way for hours on end. I choose their colors, I choose their style, I choose their length. I think of what would bring out their individual inner beauty. And invariably, each person is delighted with what I create just for them.
Finally, after weeks of knitting, it worked out that I could go back to the Atlanta Soto Zen Center with my neighbor Steve Hart, who runs the Monday night meditation program.
I am not a member of the Zen Center, but I really appreciate being able to go with Steve to meditate in the group.
We do seated meditation for 25 minutes, then walking meditation for 5 minutes followed by another 25 minutes of seated meditation. Then we drink green tea and have a discussion for another hour.
I was happy because I could sit and meditate and then knit during the following discussion. For me, my needlework extended the period of my inner calmness.
Steve Hart told me afterwards that the Zen Center holds sewing and meditation retreats.
People meditate for two hours at a time and then sit and sew the garments that initiates wear. This is a very painstakingly precise process that requires great concentration. Even the men are required to make their own garments.
I appreciate that even Zen masters recognize the connection between meditation and needlework.