How ironic that I should choose a topic of STOPPING, RESTING, and LETTING GO as my focus for this month’s newsletter! Those are the exact opposite “action words” for what is currently happening at MillerQuilts, Inc. But perhaps it is the Stopping, Resting, and Letting Go that has enabled me to keep up my energy for a most productive period and two huge events!
The first is Quilting in the Garden at the Alden Lane Nursery, in Livermore, CA, Sept. 24-25. I invite you to join me there to see over 130 of my quilts on display throughout the nursery, and help celebrate the official launch of the AnglePlay™ Template starter sets and patterns, and my new book, AnglePlay™ Blocks. Quilts from all six of my books have been called in to display, and there are many brand new AnglePlay ones; so this will be a large and unique collection of “Miller-made” quilts.
A new AnglePlay™ quilt called “Northwest Flyway.” Pattern for this quilt is in Template Set Two, “Angles Up!”
The pattern for this AnglePlay™ quilt, “Caribbean Garden,” is in Template Set Two, “Angles Up!”. Both of these quilts were made using templates from AnglePlay™ Template Sets One (“Angles Aweigh!”)and Two.
Quilters come from all over the state, and even from across the country to attend this weekend event—a unique quilting adventure, to be sure! I will be doing a special lecture on Friday night, Sept. 23, and Alex Anderson will do a trunk show of her work on Saturday night. There will be periodic guided tours of the quilts throughout the 4-acre nursery, so I can share some of their stories.
Go to www.aldenlane.com for more specific information. If you are coming from out of town, there are hotels who give a “quilting discount”. Come see us in our new red MillerQuilts, Inc. shirts, which invite you to “Ask me about AnglePlay™ Templates” when we turn around!!
Preparing for this and Houston Quilt Market and Festival the end of October has meant a year that has been busier than usual. So it is a blessing that this is the year that I’ve chosen to work toward more balance in my life, and have glimpsed the virtues of STOPPING, RESTING, LETTING GO.
The pattern of most of my life has been going at a frantic pace, trying to do everything, working until my energy is spent. My brother Jim observed years ago that I had only two speeds in my life: Overdrive and Dead Stop. That thought gave me pause, but didn’t lead me to mend my ways.
Another reminder came when I attended a wonderful week long workshop a few years ago called “Healing Stitches: How your Art Influences your Life” (see www.haven.ca for a host of wonderful seminars on making the most of this life you’ve been given). In that workshop we worked on a quilt project during the week, but we were not allowed to work frantically and stay up til the wee hours pushing ourselves. We were allowed to work on it only a couple hours each afternoon—and it was refreshing how I looked forward to that time, savored the time I had to work on the project, but didn’t worry about how much progress I did or didn’t make on a given day. Pacing myself—having to stop instead of working to the burnout place—what a concept…
My quiltmaking and creative work has always been intertwined with my life. Up to now, my business has been run out of my home, and my creative work and personal life unfolds there too. But as my business grows, moving it out of my house is becoming imperative.
As I find more ways to savor my life’s journey through journaling, reading, and associating with other women who value deepening their spiritual understandings on the way to becoming their authentic selves, I sense a growing need to make my home a haven, a place of peace, rather than a place where there is an unending list of tasks to accomplish, deadlines to meet. I am getting better at the “Stopping” part; starting my day with quiet time and journaling, stopping at the end of the day to sit on the deck outside my bedroom to savor the sunset. Not listening to music, not reading, just sitting, letting my thoughts wander.
I have practiced the Letting Go of taking some time completely off, with surprising results. I find I need to commit to this time by putting it on the calendar well in advance—and then stick to my commitment. The temptation is great as the break time draws closer—I think about how much “work” I could accomplish with that day or two. But I am always glad I carry through my plan—because I always feel a release as I embark on the break time, and I often accomplish much more once I resume my work routine again. It took some practice to make myself NOT think about work or deadlines or worries about any number of possible future events.
Sometimes a “stopping” time is merely taking a different road to your destination. En route from Guymon, OK to Liberal, KS on a recent teaching trip, my hostess drove me by acres of sunflower fields. What a joy to photograph them! What an adventure, being the single “Northwest flower” among the blossoms…and the bees…
While on these break times, I’ve become conscious of what it means to Rest; to sleep at night, to just sit quietly during the day. Not reading or stitching or “doing”. Just recently, after a particularly stressful week, I was sitting in a “sky chair” (an enfolding, comforting, swinging canvas chair) on my friend’s deck on a Saturday afternoon. And I realized that, for the first time in my life, I was resting on purpose: and I was okay with that! I wasn’t resting because I was sick and trying to recuperate; I wasn’t resting to catch up on my sleep, or to generate a false burst of energy for more frantic tasks. I was resting, purposely, to gather my strength for the week ahead—and that was good.
I’ve noticed also that I’m more willing to Let Go; let go of those last few tasks on my to do list that was too long to begin with; let go of carrying around too many future deadlines and commitments all at once, all the time.
I’m trying to let go of worry more quickly than I have in the past. My current strategy is to not allow myself to dwell in worry; if there isn’t something I can do about the problem that very minute, I’m don’t allow that thought to stay in my mind. (This is especially helpful in the middle of the night!)
And so, the cycle continues: much to accomplish and rigorous work ahead over the next few weeks, but also a kind of peace of mind from stopping, resting, and letting go once in a while…