Taking it slowly...

the Thinking Gate…

the Thinking Gate…

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that creativity comes in waves, or perhaps in cycles - let’s not get too worried about the metaphor - sometimes you’re riding high on the crest of a wave, carried along by it’s strength, it’s purpose and it’s movement. These are the good times, when you feel as if you’re in control, you’re driven, you have found your mojo…

And then of course there’s the other phase of the cycle. The urge leaves you, your energy is low, you wonder where your inspiration went, dare I say it, you feel bored, irritable, missing something.

I’ve been running with these cycles now for long enough to understand them, to realise that they’re happening and I’m beginning to let them be, without getting too uptight about it, beginning to trust that eventually the curve will turn again.

Which is a convoluted way of saying that I’ve hit a down patch.

It’s been a strange few months. In many ways absolutely wonderful. I’ve travelled, I’ve stitched, I’ve taken a million photos (possibly a slight exaggeration). I’ve enjoyed the heat of our remarkable summer (something I’d never have thought possible) and I’ve watched as my daughters transform into real adults, which is perhaps the most beautiful experience imaginable.

And then, something happened that I didn’t see coming, something which has knocked me off my feet for a while. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but just to say, that since the beginning of August, most of my hair has fallen out. Don’t worry, I’ve had tests and apparently apart from low stored iron levels, I’m fit and well. It seems that this is a not uncommon occurrence, triggered by a variety of things, of which low iron is thought to be one. Apparently this is a phase and it is most likely that eventually my hair will start to grow again.

So, as with the creative urge, it seems I will have to accept that I’m very physically part of a cycle of comings and goings. I can tell you that watching the leaves begin to turn yellow this autumn has a special poignancy - I truly feel like a tree that’s lost it’s leaves and will have to wait patiently for the spring to roll round again.

I’m well aware that compared with so many awful things that happen every day to ordinary people, this is nothing, and I’m grateful to be otherwise healthy. In fact I wasn’t going to mention it at all. But the truth is, I’d be lying if I said it hadn’t had any impact on me. It has been quite a blow to my self-confidence. I hadn’t appreciated how much of my identity was tied to my appearance. It has felt very much like a bereavement, a feeling that the person I once was has gone. I’m not sure that I recognise myself any more.

So, while I’m going through this phase of the cycle, I’m going to be going slowly (three goings! ha!).

I apologise for the delays in working on the workshop. It’s still something I very much want to do, but at the moment I need to give myself time to use stitch purely as a personal therapy, helping me to find calm and courage. I trust that eventually I’ll be back in the mental place where I can devote proper energy to it again. I’m sure my friends you’ll understand.

Likewise, I apologise for a total lack of Loose Threads.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. I do believe that whatever life throws at us, it’s a good idea to look for the positives and this is certainly a lesson in making that happen. So, I’ve been having a think and this is what I’ve come up with…

For a while I’m going to…

  • read more of whatever I want, without feeling at all guilty.

  • rest more often.

  • meditate daily.

  • go with the flow.

  • take gratitude seriously.

  • set myself some gentle creative goals to give me more structure.

And meanwhile, autumn is setting in. I like this time of year. Autumn suits me.

Thank you for bearing with me.

Happy stitching!

Anny x

Detail from the West door at Leominster Priory, Herefordshire.

Detail from the West door at Leominster Priory, Herefordshire.