A couple of years ago I had to give up writing a book. In a line of work where publishing is necessary this was hard. In that moment of life though the letting go was necessary and needed. it will come as no surprise that this “failure” added to the list of “internal accusations” leading me to believe that leaving the quilting world is not only the right thing to do, but that it was the only thing to do.
I was wrong. So. So. WRONG.
My closer friends, who are aware of the crap going in inside my head, were telling me it’s not true. However, the accusations kept coming, often when I least expected it, and as I’ve shared on/off over the winter it’s been
kind of brutal. Some light started shining through just before Easter and shone brightly on the Quilt Market floor.
Thursday proved to be much more difficult than expected as I woke up with a migraine that lasted most of the day. While I was physically present I missed most of the keynote speaker covering my eyes and zoning out so I could function the rest of the day. Thankfully friends had acetaminophen to share with me, the stuff I usually carry safely at home in another bag I use.
Faith Lesson: friends are there for you when the pain is unbearable.
Friday morning I walked onto the Market show floor, breathed in deeply, thinking, “I’m home! This is where I belong!” Over the course of the day I had two conversations that filled the “You work HERE and will figure it out” cup to overflowing. One indicated that a relationship I thought was gone really wasn’t, and that’s what I can say here as the details don’t matter. What matters is sometimes in the dark of the night, when the ugly accusations are flying through your head, things are not what they seem. The second conversation with someone I’ve known and respected for a long time reminded me of WHY I want to be in the quilting industry in the first place: to build community, to build up others, and to give what I have to offer.
Faith Lesson: taking time to think, pray, and be is necessary. Listening to wise counsel is essential. We need both the internal and external conversations.
I am, without a doubt, an encourager. Yes, I just made that word up and added it to my personal dictionary. Encouraging others in the quilting community is part of what I do, it’s as easy as breathing. I stopped to tell someone I saw a video of them that morning and got the ice cream on the cake. I’d encouraged her the year before to keep going, to consider doing a couple of things. She took what I offered and is so glad she did, it’s working! I don’t care if quilters take what I offer, because ultimately they have to do what works for them. Perhaps what I offer is a definite, “No” but sparks the thinking in the right direction.
Faith Lesson: keep listening, hearing, sharing, offering. Being a sounding board for others is a gift, exercise it well.
Aurifil, a brand of thread I love as much for the thread as for how they reach out to the quilting community and are giving, won a booth award. I spoke with Brad, who designed the booth, about the overall look and feel, and why the company chose to go in that direction for Quilt Market. They spent quite a lot of time figuring out what Market is about for them, and ultimately what their business is about: it’s about the relationships built at Market, and continuing to build them. So the booth was set up with a spa like feel, with a few comfy chairs, coffee tables and decorated with a spa like feel. Spending the time with their customers, and building those relationships, in a relaxed, inviting environment. Oh how I wished to spend hours there.
Faith Lesson: nurturing relationships is fruitful in the long haul. Just like it takes a while to learn a new quilt skill, it takes time to build good relationships. Both are worthwhile.
In talking with a number of vendors there is stuff coming, that will help me rebuild, and figure out what I want to do with my quilt life. Yes, I’m rebuilding, with no idea what that means at the moment. I described what I’m feeling to a friend as having so many super balls bouncing around my head. I need to grab several of the balls, and learn to juggle a bit. This is an industry, a creative industry, where one creative skill leads to another, and we get to use all the skills to become our best Quilter Self. In another conversation a shop owner said, “change 10% of your business every year.” In other words take a look at what’s working, what’s not, what gives you life, what doesn’t and act accordingly.
Faith Lesson: growth happens. The more we’re open to growing, changing, maturing, the more opportunity we have. Be open to new opportunities, willing to revisit old opportunities. Prune! Grow! Water! Be watered!
It’s easy to suffer under the illusion that I’m the best thing since sliced cheese. I know I’m not. I’m rather well aware – from experience – that I’m not for everyone. I can be a diva. My actions are not always kind. Yes, it’s true (hello confessional). Heading to lunch with a mentor and friend I was reminded from a conversation she had that we need the Lights. She has a quilt on her wall featuring fabric from the designer we were speaking to, and she reminded the designer we need light fabrics. The lights round out any collection and give sparkle to our quilts, and other projects we make. Dark and light fabrics give our quilts depth, character, and interest.
Faith Lesson: acknowledge the dark, acknowledge the light and use them both to craft a life well lived.
Had I stayed home very little to none of this would have happened. These experiences shored me up, filled my cup, boosted waning confidence. I was able to approach several things with the confidence necessary to say, “Here I am, here’s what I’m doing, use me.” These are the relationships will help rebuild, shore up, fill up, and renew. This renewal will pour out, as it does.
Faith Lesson: When in doubt Show Up to do the work, and go to Market.