A few months ago, I knitted scarves for all the ladies in my yoga teacher training.
This may have been about 15 scarves.
Then I emailed Lillah Schwarz, head yoga teacher at Lighten Up Yoga in Asheville.
I asked Lillah how many ladies would be coming to the next yoga teacher training because I wanted to make them all earrings.
“Catherine,” Lillah responded.
“I love you. Aren’t you being a bit obsessive?”
Without doubt. Being creative is an obsessive state.
As in, I can’t stop knitting.
I bring my knitting with me everywhere I think I might have to be waiting.
If I think I am going to be done with a project very soon, I find myself running off to the nearest yarn store to stock up so I have supplies ready to go, so I won’t be without.
Like I look at my credit card bills and shake my head at how much money I spend on yarn.
I am happy when I have cash to spend because then I can’t chide myself on my expenditure.
Over the past few years, at various lectures I have attended, I have asked different experts how they believe that knitting heals us.
Dr. Daniel Amen, the brain expert, told me that knitting stimulates the cerebellum. The cerebellum is involved in motor learning, so when we knit while listening to a lecture, as I often do, I remember what I hear better.
Allison Armstrong, founder of PAX, told me that she believes that knitting helps women release oxytocin. Oxytocin is the bonding hormone. Women also release oxytocin when we talk and when we have sex, so releases oxytocin helps us to feel connected to other people.
And from what I learned years ago in Brain Gym, knitting activated both of our brain hemispheres, so it helps to integrate our brain and access our full brain potential. Many schools have students knit while learning.
I have about 10 large boxes of beads at the moment, plus a few small ones, and countless round canisters of what they call seed beads.
I have an entire cabinet in my home devoted to my beading supplies.
I have set my limit that I can only keep as many beads and jewelry making items as will fit in my cabinet.
The cabinet is currently at its limit, even though I recently made well over 30 pairs of earrings.
I have another chest that is full of yarn, knitting needles, a few crochet hooks and a piece of cardboard that I use for measuring fringe.
Several bags of my yarn are piled up at a friend’s house.
I am using my yarn about as fast as I purchase it, but sometimes you finish a project and you have leftovers. This is called stash. I have a drawer full of stash.
At first, I heeded Lillah’s admonition that I was indeed being too obsessive by wanting to make something beautiful for all the ladies in my yoga teacher training.
But then I reconsidered and made earrings for everybody anyway.
I feel so fortunate to be able to make jewelry, scarves and shawls.
I can wear old clothes and nobody ever notices because they are all too busy envying my jewelry, scarves and shawls.
I can wear the simplest jeans and white shirt, but who ever notices that?
I also love to give.
My thought is that if and when the day comes that I have my funeral, I would like all the ladies who come to my funeral to wear all the items that I have given them over the years. Of course, you can only usually wear one pair of earrings, maybe a few bracelets and usually only one necklace, one scarf and/or one shawl at a time. So when that day comes, they will have to pick.
Many of my dearest friends have at least 10 necklaces that I have made for them, multiple scarves, earrings, bracelets, etc.
So this would be my request, to have everybody wear the jewelry I gave at my funeral.
I love making other people feel beautiful.
I am also very good at looking at a person and just knowing what colors will look great on them, what kind of jewelry, scarf or shawl will bring out their own natural gorgeousness.
I am being pickier about giving away my shawls, however, because not everybody wears shawls.
Ever since I have been in menopause, I have been a big fan of shawls.
You are hot, you are cold, you’re not sure. It all happens without any thinking. It’s not under your control. It’s too cumbersome to have sweaters that you take on and off. Having a shawl makes you feel slightly less insane.
I have an entire drawer full of shawls in almost every color you can imagine. Silk ones, cotton ones, wool ones.
Now I am making my own shawls. I made a purple one, a turquoise one, a brown and gold one, a hot pink one, a tomato red one, a silvery green one, a soft rose one. I have another hot pink one in the works and I am finishing a peach-colored shawl, although I am thinking about giving that away as a birthday present.
Nothing makes me feel better than to be swathed in energy of my own making.
That’s how I feel when I wear my shawls, that I am wearing my own energy, writ large.
Does meditation make a person intuitive?
I don’t really think so. Although I truly believe that ALL people have intuitive gifts, some are more naturally gifted than others. Just like I was not born to a basketball player, but I was born to be an intuitive.
Does meditation make it possible for a person to access the intuitive gifts they do have? Yes, absolutely.
To access your intuitive gifts, you have to get your rational, “logical,” intellectual mind out of the way. This could involve moving major pieces of furniture that have collected dust for many years.
I am personally very highly trained in what I do. My resume is so long I can’t even remember it all. It bores me if someone asks me to recite it.
Although I understand that some people only value what can be measured, seen, lab tested and the like, I find that approach slightly irritating, as it is obvious to me that the most important things in life, such as love, vitality and chi, can not be measured, seen or lab tested.
So, to my way of thinking, the intellect is an obstacle to be overcome.
It is a barrier of great pretense that must be set aside in order to see the world as it actually is, not as we have been trained to see, as we have been educated to see or as we project our emotions outside ourselves to be.
Our Western society places great importance on the intellect.
And science has been indeed of great value.
But even science concedes that the known universe is only about 5 percent of reality.
So when we meditate, I think we are able to set this intellect of great psychological defense aside, even for a few moments, and we are able to leap beyond all that we think we know into the great void of actuality.
In this gap, what we really need to know can drop in.
In this break in the mental action, what we need to see can appear before us like a gift.
In this pause, we can feel the energy of what is truly happening, even if we don’t immediately understand it all at the moment.
I was Phi Beta Kappa at Brown University. I am still to this day very proud of that accomplishment. I gave the Phi Beta Kappa speech when I graduated.
Check. Been there, done that.
I can give myself permission to move on into the great unknown.
And to me, that is exciting and fun and boundless and promising.
The value of meditation to me is self evident.
One time, maybe about a year ago, a long time client of mine was coming to me for a healing.
She had been having trouble falling for no apparent reason.
Sometimes when we have known a person for a long time we make this mistake of thinking we know everything about them.
I meditated for an entire hour before she got to my office.
After I meditated, I received guidance that the reason she was falling had to do with what happened to her when she was in the womb.
I got the guidance that she had contracted polio in the womb and that her vestibular system, as a result, had not developed properly.
When she arrived at my office, I discussed the guidance that I had received.
At the time, I had known this person for over 10 years.
We had never ever discussed anything about polio. It had never come up in any of our initial paperwork or any of our previous sessions. I had no way of knowing other than the guidance I had received after meditating.
“Oh yes,” she said to me. “My mother said I had a mild case of polio as a child!”
If you are puzzled by a question, go into meditation first.
Allow yourself to clear away the mental debris of what you think you know and what you think you don’t know.
Stop being impressed by your supposed buildup of knowledge and realize that it is what it is, just mental plaque, like hardening of the arteries that prevent optimal circulation.
Let it go. Pretend you know absolutely nothing, and then ask for guidance.
I remember about two years ago, during a time of great personal distress, I said to a dear friend of mine, in a deep state of desperation, “I feel like I don’t know anything any more!”
“Congratulations,” he said to me. “That is a sign of deep spiritual growth.”
If you read the great sages, what is true at one level of consciousness doesn’t even make sense at another level of consciousness.
In order to grow spiritually, sometimes what we need to do is undo our belief systems.
That means we need to set aside everything we think we know in order to actually learn.
This requires humility.
Although I am a very curious person and I love to learn, periodically I give away entire book shelves as I realize I no longer need to know that information any longer.
I find it much more efficient to simply pray and ask for guidance.
What do I need to know in this moment?
What does this client need to hear right now?
What piece of information is this individual capable of wrapping their head around, taking action on?
What is it that they are not yet ready to hear?
There’s no instruction manual for this level of operation.
But you can get all the answers you need if you first stop to meditate.