Monday, March 31, 2008

Good or Great?

***Warning- Philosophical Ramblings Ahead***

So I was listening to NPR (pretty much the only station I listen to) and I heard this question...

"What do you value and why?"

Such an important question and I had not really given it much consideration! I've asked myself "what do I want?" and "what do I believe?" and "what do I want to eat now?", but this question of value seems so basic and so important.

I think I could write a whole essay on this subject, but this is a knitting journal - I will explore the question in relationship to knitting. I bet I'll find that it all relates to life in general!

So, what do I value? To answer that question I think you should see the progress I've made on the Textured Tank.
On first glance I think it is turning out quite well. I've tried it on numerous times and it fits, but, brother, you don't want to see me in this thing with out the proper undergarments!!!!

On closer look, however, there is a big problem. You see, since I am designing this tank, essentially from scratch, I want this to turn out the way I want it to turn out. The armholes scoop in too much, which means the boat neck will not be as wide as I wanted. (And I spent all that time on the math. grrrr).

So here is where the question of value comes up. What do I value about my knitting? Is it the end product? Is it the experience? Is it the kudos of fellow knitters and friends? Do I value the time invested vs other things I could be doing? How about the time invested vs actual output? In other words, should I frog back to the armhole bind off (about 8 hrs of work) and make it right or should I leave it be? It's pretty nice the way it is!

On reflection, I think I value the experience of knitting. Not the individual stitches but the learning that comes with the combination of those stitches. This is why I love to fix mistakes and why I choose patterns based on what I can learn from them (Venezia? That's right. I'm talkin' 'bout you, girl). I believe, though, that this is a surface answer. I think what I really love is the reality that I can be truly great at this craft. I think it is authentic to believe in my potential. (Getting there is a whole 'nuther essay. One thing at a time!). If I am truly great, or striving for greatness, then the answer is clear- rippit, rippet, rippet!

Why do I value being great? Ah, this is the meat and potato of the question. Why, indeed? Virginia Wolfe once said that every person (she might have actually said every woman) secretly harbors the belief that she is special. Many are desperate for others to recognize this specialness and remark upon it, but are too hung up or insecure to shout it out to the world. I, on the other hand, take to heart the words of another great woman, Marianne Williamson.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Right ON!! Why do I want to be great? Because I honestly don't know how else to be. Don't get me wrong, I suck at most everything. But I am really good at a few things. I could just accept good - I get lots of kudos for good, but this is essentially hollow. I want to be great and that means being bold in my choices of projects, ceaseless persuit of great results (not perfect - that's crazy making and impossible) and a constant eye toward hallmarks of greatness in knitting (Eunny? Jared? I'm looking at you right now!).

The value in these musings is that I think, as usual, that this is an apt metaphor for the rest of my life. As much as I would find it easy to just be good, great is where life actually happens.