Monday, November 16, 2015

Quilting is my therapy...


I've said it so many times that I often use the phrase as joke now. But it's true. Quilting IS my therapy. When our lives are filled with unexpected grief, stress or anxiety...stitching provides such a calming an soothing effect on the soul.


I've always been too sensitive. It's in my nature to feel things deeply and carry burdens close. I don't choose to worry or feel sad. On the contrary, I make a conscious choice every day to be grateful. Living with gratitude is so much more beautiful than living with worry. Naming my blessings and being thankful daily really has changed my perspective on life. But sometimes bad things happen and all the gratitude in the world won't fix it.


Obviously the sad events in Paris this weekend have been heavy on all our hearts. So senseless and tragic. There is no good to be seen or purpose to be served. It's just sad. Everything about it. Sad for the victims, sad for their families, sad for the world we live in.


Closer to home, we had a health scare in our family. A week ago, my child developed symptoms identical to those she had three years ago when she was diagnosed with a tumor. Once you go through that journey with a child, you have a level of fear you never knew was possible. She received extraordinary care from the chief of the orthopedic oncology department at Emory right here in Atlanta. He actually developed the synthetic bone graft that helped rebuild her femur once the tumor was removed. She has been healthy and active since her recovery and I think our guard had slipped. When we got the good news that she is dealing with minor scar tissue issues and no signs of a new tumor, I sobbed. Literally sobbed the entire car ride home. I knew I had been stressed but the level of which I had not recognized.

So how does it work? How does stitching soothe my soul? It doesn't fix anything, it doesn't provide any solutions. But somehow, the familiar motion of pulling needle and thread through fabric gives my mind a place to slow down. Stitching allows my fingers stay busy so my heart can relax. It gives me a safe place to do something that is so familiar that I don't have to think about tying knots or threading needles, those motions are built into my muscle memory at this point. It gives me a task that I do have control over so I can focus on that rather than on the things I can't control. It allows me to surround myself with fabrics and threads that I love and simple tools that serve me well. It puts a small sense of order into the midst of chaos.


Maybe that's an over simplification of a much more complex idea. Maybe it sounds a bit naive. My words can't express all the things my heart feels obviously. But I think it's so vital that we recognize what our stitching gives us (besides beautiful quilts!) When we give our stitching the respect it deserves and recognize what it give us in return, we can let go of superficial excuses. We don't need to excuse our fabric addiction or our ufo's. We don't need to explain our time and resources spent on this 'hobby' of ours. We don't need to justify why we have threads on all our clothing.

Recognizing that this passion, this pastime of ours gives us more in return than words can identify and fills our lives with a kind of therapy that can't be found elsewhere, is important. It's important to remember that we are worthy of what quilting gives us. It's important to recognize that stitching isn't selfish or silly. It's important to remember that the quilts we create nurture us. The process is just as important to us as the resulting quilts are to those that receive them.

That's why quilting is my therapy.

Diane

18 comments:

  1. So grateful that your news was good. Amen and amen to quilt therapy, in the long run it is cheaper than "real" therapy ;0). Keep stitchin'

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    1. Thanks so much Jeanne. I'm not sure I even want to think about what life would be like without my quilting therapy! It's good to have friends who understand. Have a beautiful week.

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  2. Well said! I think you've defined our brand of therapy very well. And so happy to hear your good news!

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  3. Yes, needlework is also my therapy! So thankful your child is okay. Prayers for you and yours

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  4. Good news for you Diane ! We're addict to fabrics ? And what ? I'm sure it's better than to be addicted to alcohol or smoking !
    I vote for quilt therapy !

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  5. So funny how some of us react to good/ bad news. We had a long,ugly custody court battle. We were successful and I sobbed uncontrollably too. Not sure that there are really any winners, but child will get what she needs. I have never sewn as much as I have this past year- it takes me to a different place for a few hours of peace. I'm so happy you got good news about your daughter. I too have almost lost a child and that terror is always there. Best wishes!

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  6. So glad the health scare was just a scare and nothing more serious. I think as quilters, we understand the "quilting is my therapy" more than the general population.
    On my way back from Europe I took out my stitching and the funny Greek man next to me asked, "Does that help keep you calm?" LOL How did he know!?

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  7. Amen!! Quilting is my therapy too....Hey, what a delight that your baby is OK!! Hurrah!!

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  8. So beautifully said. Yes, quilting IS therapy! And now there's research to prove it's effects on the brain and emotional regulation. I'm so glad your daughter is alright. Thank you for sharing the sadness about the atrocities in Paris.

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  9. this doesn't sound naive at all--thank heavens your child is going to be alright--unimaginable worry and stress must have accompanied this. Stitching is my therapy and my "go to"w whenever i am feeling overwhelmed. the repetitive nature of the hand movements are just so soothing as in knitting and piano practice for me....hugs x2 Julierose

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  10. Thank you Diane for sharing your thoughts today. I know many of us feeling the same way about the positive aspects of quilting. I'm so glad your daughter's scan was okay. Our sadness over the terrorist attacks may result in a lot of quilting.

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  11. Too true! A soothing stitch does calm my mind and keeps my hands busy, just what's needed to destress.

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  12. Very well said! The attacks on Paris were just horrible and scary for the world for sure. So, so glad that your daughter is ok, I can only imagine the stress you went through. Hugs to you! Keep on stitching - some days that is all that keeps us sane!

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  13. You put it beautifully. In the light of the awful attacks in Paris it's also heartening to know that our creative pursuits provide personal therapy that must be a positive for the people around us too and certainly cause no harm.

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  14. I'm happy to hear your daughters scan was clear. The Paris attacks have been heartbreaking. I agree sewing is the best therapy!

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  15. I'm so thankful your news was good. This is the best post I've ever read on this subject. You truly have a way with words and I agree with you 100%. We are all blessed to have been captured by this obsession.

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  16. So glad you had good news! I so understand the stress and the need to stitch. When life is going crazy. it sometimes feels like the only thing that makes sense to me. It quiets my mind so I can begin to pray.

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