inadvertent summer vacation

If I can't paddle on the lake, and least I can knit there!

If I can't paddle on the lake, and least I can knit there!

Well howdy! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (6.5 weeks, yikes!) Seeing that it’s summer, lets call that my inadvertent summer vacation. I truly had no intention to be away from it for so long. I missed it, and thought of it often, but the actual act of sitting down and writing never transpired. 

Does that ever happen to you?

I mean with anything - do you ever feel like you're going along swimmingly with an activity and then you miss a day (a week, a month) and suddenly you realize there was this thing you used to do that you never actually wanted to stop doing, and so you hop back into it? It happens to me quite regularly. (I take a lot of “vacations”!) 

During this blogging vacay, I’ve actually had quite a bit going on - Dylan and I had a ‘staycation’ weekend at our home where we disconnected from the outside world and reconnected as a family unit; my sister’s kiddos came up to visit which brought daily trips to the lake and park; I went to Florida to work for two weeks and gather as a family to celebrate my dad’s upcoming 70th birthday. Not quite the tropical, sit by the beach with a fruity drink in hand kind of vacation (I could never do that for 6.5 weeks straight anyway), but a break away from the norm nonetheless.

Stitch Frenzy

One could probably believe (and even assume) that I’d slow down with knitting, or take a break completely, with the summer heat that we’ve been having. Oddly, this is the one practice that I’ve consistently kept up with the past several weeks. I had four wips at one time - that’s a record for me! 

Typically, when I'm on a real vacation, I rarely knit more than a couple of rows (even though I always bring multiple projects to work on!) But during this 'vacation,' I had some driving motivations to keep me stitching. Two of the projects I was working on were part of a knit-along, and another project was a sample knit for Echoview. (The fourth project is a scarf that I’ve been knitting on for a long time, and I usually reserve it for craft nights because I don’t have to think when I’m knitting it!) What was really fun about having that many knits going  at one time was that they were all different - from colorwork mitts on US1 needles, to an elongated stitch patterned sweater on US3, to a bulky brioche cowl on US10.5, to a holey scarf knit flat on US11. I could basically pick the project I wanted to work on depending on my mood. 

I’m really grateful for the constant inspiration from knitting these past weeks. Taking out my needles and creating was both rewarding and relaxing. I’ve been in a knitting rut before - where I didn’t really want to work on anything - but this has been the complete opposite. I want to work on everything (all the time). I know to be grateful for this knitting frenzy while it’s here, because I know it’s not always the case to be constantly motivated.

Stretch Break

Like with yoga. During my blogging holiday, I’ve gone from keeping my biweekly studio practices to stopping yoga entirely, to doing some short easy practices when I have time, to starting back my studio practices. While motivation (or lack thereof) has certainly been a factor in the spottiness of my practice, the main reason for my altered practice has been an injury. 

Summer round here involves outside fun like playing tennis and kayaking around the lake. Unfortunately, those two activities wreaked havoc on my shoulder (it’s an injury I get every now and then). So I went from doing all the activities, yoga included, to not being able to do any of them because of the injury. 

Okay - not entirely true - I actually took the time away from my regular practice to do some healing yoga, which helped a lot. I am not back to slamming the tennis ball or paddling around the lake, but I have been able to take it slow at my regular studio class this past week. 

Some things I’ve noticed since being away from my regular studio practice: it only takes a couple of weeks for the body to lose strength and stamina; man, hot yoga is really freaking hot in the summer; yoga is more about just the movements - for me it’s about the ritual of waking early, the focused breathing, the moving in community, the challenge to stay present, the permission to modify, and the assurance that no matter how long I’ve been away, my mat will always welcome me back. 

The Vacation Lesson

We all need a break from time to time. Whether the break is an hour of free time during a demanding day, a week’s holiday from the normal routine, or a month away from a regular practice. Breaks can refresh our minds, renew our souls, and reveal what’s important to us. During my break from blogging, I realized that I missed it and I wanted to get back into my weekly posting. The same goes for my yoga practice- I knew I’d return, but I allowed myself the time away to heal and take it easy. I guess all the time I freed up from blogging and yoga allowed me to get more stitching done, which was a welcome and engaging change of pace.

If you’re facing a creative rut, a lack of motivation for physical movement, no energy to put pen to paper, know that you’re not alone. It happens to all of us. My advice? Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to take a ‘vacation.’ Know that your practice will always be there for you when you’re ready. When the time comes that you feel inspired to get back into it, you’ll be coming at it from a place of enthusiasm, refreshment, understanding, and ease. And if the vacation becomes more permanent, and you decide that your interests have changed, that’s okay too.