In the throes of spring cleaning fever, I am noticing the disheveled state of most of my dishcloths at the hearth: a little grey, kinda holey… definitely not up to the task of having the Queen in for tea. But they still have lots of life, and so to the rag bag they graduate on their humble journey of service towards freedom and enlightenment.
In true synchronicity with my “sad cloth” observation, a friend brought out some extra sets of knitting needles and some yarn for people to play with at a gathering I attended this past weekend, and I found myself recalling the ability to make a simple dishcloth. Knitting is a skill my Granny shared with me in my youth, before she joined the ancestors– and one I haven’t done a lick of since childhood.
I’ve now spent about 2 hours creating something that I’ll use in the kitchen to wash dishes, wipe the table and clean my children’s sticky fingers (hopefully before they manage to spread the love all over the chairs, walls, etc.). Ideally, I could do with three or four of these to cycle through.
So, here I am at a lovely moment of pause, as I recognize the opportunity to make a choice.
I could go to the store and buy a new set of wash cloths – maybe spending $6 on a set of three. Here I gain instant gratification, my life can continue in a forward momentum without much delay. Heck, if they’re on sale I might just pick up a whole bunch to stash away.
Or, I could commit to knitting the other three that I need.
This would mean about 8 hours of my time, and maybe $10-12 in materials costs. It means my fingers will get a little stiff and sore, and maybe I’ll even develop a blister on the pointer-tip that pushes down the needle with every stitch. The task may cause strain on my eyes, as I’m not practiced enough in the art of knitting to manage more than a glance up every now and then.
This also means my children get to see me creating something with my own hands.
It means they become interested, ask questions, and reach out to wrap yarn around their own fingers, learning its feel.
It gives me the opportunity to remember and to tell them about my Granny, her amazing skills with needles… and the lovely woman that she was.
It means that as I grow a new skill set, I am honouring my Grandmother by keeping alive the valuable knowledge she passed down.
It means that with every stitch I have the opportunity to infuse that cloth with loving intention towards health and happiness for my family– I will be tending my kitchen with little works of art that were created in prayer.
It will support my practice of slowing down, remembering what’s simple and real, using my hands and quieting my mind. It means a deeper shift into the understanding of true abundance, of “less-is-more”.
I will likely take better care of these washcloths, because so much of my energy has gone into them. They are made better, from eco-friendlier materials, and will last longer (and in this one small way, I won’t be contributing to a non-regenerative, unsustainable industry that creates cheaply “made-for-the-dump” products, in abuse of the earth).
How could I pass up so much opportunity for growth and beauty?
While I understand that living in the west means that taking the time required to knit our own dishcloths is not always practical, a part of me is even more driven to suggest that this kind of shift is exactly what we all need. To prioritize the small things that keep us grounded and give us the opportunity to remember the sacred in the every day. How good would it feel to just… reduce a little bit, as in turn down the volume dial of “western world expectations”? Reduce our need to keep up with the unnatural pace of the story we tell ourselves is true– that this is how society needs to function. Reduce the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves. Reduce our constant need for more.
Tending divinity in the every day is constantly available to us– it’s an ever-present choice.
I’m grateful for that.