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Archive for February 18th, 2005

I’m Not in Charge

Friday, February 18th, 2005

I’m practicing powerlessness these days. Let’s face it, some things we just do not have control over. It’s the essence of the serenity prayer (God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference). (Note: I typed this incorrectly when I posted it earlier… when I had not had a cup of tea yet. Corrections have been made now that I’m actually awake.)

It changed my life once, when I was in a very unhappy relationship and I learned that the serenity prayer could give me permission to let go of things I couldn’t control anyway. These days I am more in balance over my relationships and I’m in a great marriage, but I still have to remember what things I can not control and not obsess over them.

When I was in Africa, I had a mantra to get through times when I needed to wait for someone, when I couldn’t understand the conversations around me, when I did not know how long this or that would take. I kept repeating “I’m not in charge.” It kept things in perspective.

When we were in the back seat of just plain terrifying Cairo traffic, we had hired someone else to navigate for us, and we were not in charge. We needed to let the guy we hired do his job and not tell him what to do. When we were climbing dirty mountains in the northern historical area of Ethiopia (and I really don’t like getting dirty), I had signed up for the trek and I needed to do what our guide suggested.

When we went calling (visiting) on a family who had lost a family member, and I was the only one there who did not understand the language being spoken, I drank the soda pop they brought me, very slowly, because I could be there for a long time and I was not in charge.

When I needed to get money changed in Ethiopia and had to go with a relative on his dozen errands, one of which was going to the bank for me, it took however long it took and I was not in charge. In that last case, it turned out just wonderful because we got a long time to chat and get to know one another, and he took me to tea, and as long as I didn’t worry how long it would take, all was quite well.

I’m a funny girl. Often I end up in charge of something. I don’t really *like* being in charge, but I have a strong distaste for chaos when it comes to groups of people. When it looks like it’s time to try to “herd cats,” so to speak, and nobody in the room seems ready to create order, I find myself becoming “alpha chick” and doing my best to bring sanity to the room. I’m comfortable at the front of the room, especially in a teaching environment, but I’m just as happy to let someone else do the job.

So… in January I worked 3 weeks out of 4, because I was in Africa for that first week. Then I came home, and there were all sorts of classes I offered at several different locations. And the classes filled like crazy and I had a wonderful, busy month.

But February has been a different thing. Mind you, I thrive on teaching. There is an electric feeling in a room when people are learning new things! I adore teaching. Well, I’m teaching a series of computer courses for retirees, and those three classes have worked out fine. But I have offered seven knitting-related classes in four different yarn shops, and only one has been a “go” (with a very low enrollment). Again, I’m not in charge.

The good thing is that I have been able to spend time working on this new bag pattern. It is amazing how many hours it takes to put together a pattern. I don’t want to think about pay per hour when I do this part of my job, but it’s really important to support the other things I do. And when it’s all done, and people buy my patterns, and when people send me photos of their projects… well, I get ready to go and do it all over again!!

Cyndy just wrote me that she is tackling my Turkish Toe-Up pattern (which of course starts at the toe, the most challenging part of the whole pattern). It took her a few tries to get it started but she’s on a roll now. It makes me happy to see that folks are actually knitting my designs!!! I do my best to post photos here when I get the opportunity, so we will hope Cyndy posts her results when they are complete.

Well, officially Fridays are my day off, although I’d scheduled wristwarmers for 3 hours at Threadbear tonight. I just found out that the class is cancelled, with just one person signed up. This afternoon I will spend time with my friend Christie who is a very creative seamstress/tailor. I’m looking forward to that. I thought I’d have to run away from that meeting fast, so that I could prepare for class, but now we can spend leisurely time discussing anything we want!

Tomorrow is Spinners’ Flock (the spinning guild) Fleece Fair. It’s a huge sale of fleece and roving and all sorts of fiber-related stuff. I usually go and buy one little bump of fiber since I don’t spin too much, but it’s fun to go and see all the other folks, many of whom I know. Tony and I will have another excuse to pile in the car and bomb around Michigan. I really like talking to Tony, and a car ride is the perfect excuse to talk for literally hours! Should be great fun. His birthday is Monday so I might take him to lunch. Then back home to dye wool, I’m preparing for Bloomiefest (a small fiber retreat in Bloomington/Normal Illinois on March 12/13, if anyone is interested). I have to dye a lot of yarn between now and then! Never a dull moment, as they say!

Photos today: 1) Garter-stitch wristwarmer in bulky thick/thin handpainted yarn. Super-fast, super-warm, super fun! 2) Garter-stitch wristwarmer in two strands of Koigu PPPM yarn (this thing is so dense and so soft, it’s really warm, and the color will cheer anyone on gloomy days). These both are super easy and very effective at keeping the cold out. I still hold out faith that I’ll have a wristwarmer class that actually is a go, one of these times!!! For now, I will keep on knitting samples.