Healing the Heart with Art
Susan Gordon Lydon’s book Knitting Heaven and Earth: Healing the Heart with Craft inspires us to ply our craft to heal our heart with art or whatever your passion might be. The repetitive rhythm of the knitting needles soothe Susan’s heart as she writes about recovery from addiction supported by the twelve-step program in the 1980s, her romantic breakup (it’s over, I know, and I must let it go), the death of her father (repairing, reknitting, overcoming what had been an unraveled relationship), and if that’s not enough, her diagnosis of aggressive breast cancer.
Returning to her knitting time and time again, fuels her fire to go on. Susan writes “so I travel through cancer one step after another, fashioning one stitch at a time. It reminds me of the joy I felt in coloring when I was very small. It takes my mind off my problems and calms my emotions. It pleases my eyes and soothes my spirit. I suppose that that ought to be reason enough to do it.” Those of us who knit on a regular basis find that we are more contented, less anxious, and happier than those who knit less often and I believe that practicing any craft will exhibit the same qualities and attributes.
In cognitive science, the brain discovers swiftly that a certain stimulus will result in a response. If darkness and despair are the stimulus; darkness and despair are the response. Our lives are not just stimulus-response because in that space between them, we can make powerful choices for change. There is no past, there is no future, there is only the here and now. What’s happening today in the moment is the only thing that’s real. Care partners must provide self-care in a world that is going to attempt to derail you, confuse you, and alter your course. Demystify catastrophic thinking. How does one do this? One act — one small act at a time. Susan goes on to explain that “everything changes moment by moment. I no longer ask myself why it is so absolutely soothing to me to ply a needle through fabric, in the same repetitive motion. It’s just what I do. I am comfortable with a needle and thread, needles and yarn, a pencil and a piece of paper. I’m most myself . . . with an item I hold in my hands.”
Self-care Ritual: We must do what we must to sustain ourselves through our journey as care partners. Through my journey, being forthright and honest with myself is the only way to inner peace. Find your path to your inner peace.