Healing Handcrafting

exploring process and healing through fiber arts and handcrafting

Handcrafting in Our Hurting World

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I’ve been quiet on this blog of late. This is for a few reasons, some to do with simply being very busy raising my two young children and working. Others to do with starting a new endeavor bringing fiber and handwork to kids. The big reason, though, the reason why it has been tough for me to just sit down to write about handcrafting and all of the joy it brings is simply being Overwhelmed by all that is happening in our world. I do not want to talk politics on this blog, so I’ll refrain from discussing who I want to be president and who I think should be quarantined on a very, very remote island with no internet or phone. I will say, though, that I am sickened by the vitriolic, violent, hate-mongering that is dancing around in full sunlight of late in the good ole USA. The underbelly of racism, fear and projection is turned up and rather than it shocking our country into peaceful and humble reflection and sorrow, it seems as if it’s actually opening the floodgates of racism, violence and rage.

I am feeling deep and untouchable powerlessness. As I raise my children in a comfortable home, with plenty of food and with all that I need, in a state where I feel safe and as though I fit and am accepted, I understand that I am in a privileged position. I am not fleeing a war zone with my children. I am also not profiled or targeted due to the color of my skin. When I am pulled over by the police, my heart beats faster and I am nervous because of course I am, but I’m not afraid I’m going to be treated unfairly or acted upon with violence. I don’t fear that my children are going to be treated unfairly or with suspicion because of the color of their skin. I do know that I have a responsibility to understand my place in this social story and that this work on myself has only just begun.

I do fear “active shooters” in my children’s school and in any school. I do fear “active shooters” in malls, movie theaters, doctor’s offices, mental health organizations and airports. I fear becoming too afraid, and I fear enjoying the comfy position I was by chance born into, forgetting to remember that it’s all a fluke, a luck of the draw and that we are all, all of us human beings, in this living our lives thing together.

Tonight I got angry as I was thinking about yet another mass shooting, and I got really angry when I thought about my daughter asking about whether or not a bad person will enter her school to try to hurt her and her classmates. This question came following an active shooter drill at school that day.  (Note: the school does not use that terminology when explaining the drill to children). I got angry when I realized that the assurances that I give my children about their safety are backed up in my mind by fear and doubt. As I thought about that, I thought about the brave mothers and fathers that travel by foot and over seas to bring their children out of war zones to a safer place, only to have borders closed.

I thought about how hard it is to do things I love to do when it’s not helping anyone, or contributing in any way to solving any of these problems.

And then I decided to think about love.

You know what happens when you google things like, “knitting for love”, “crochet for world peace”, or “knitting for healing”?

You find out that people all over the world are knitting and crocheting, quilting and felting, braiding and weaving to help people, and to bring people together. You find out that there is a lot of wonderful stuff going on out there that directly relates to a desire to foster peace and love between religions. You find out that you can participate in peaceful protest using yarn and fabric, and that there are women of all different colors, cultural backgrounds, religions and minds who have in common an idea that through gathering and creating for others items imbued with love and peaceful intention, that we can heal. You find out that there are numerous organizations that want and depend upon handmade gifts of love.

I think that as I organize myself around political figures and get behind movements, ideas and rallying cries for change and appropriate response to mass- and micro- violence, it will be important for me to be able to make something. It will make tangible the overwhelming, and bring feeling, longing and loving into an item meant to leave my hands and enter another’s who I likely will never know or meet.

And I must say this: to all of you who are activists and writers and artists, brave voices for those who are not heard or listened to, and creators of change that force us to look at the truth and honestly reflect on our own positions in life, thank you and keep it up. And to all of you who are teachers, who practice drills with children so that you can keep them safe in the event of violence, you are brave. Thank you for what you do. You have energy and vision and patience beyond measure.

More soon. I’m going to go crochet.







Author: healinghandcrafting

I am a psychologist and a fiber enthusiast. I have a deep interest in the healing effects of handcrafting, and its place in our common histories.

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