“Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” Eph 4:32
The biggest lessons that the world of quilting teaches is kindness and compassion. These are, without a doubt, the most difficult things ever, and I’m still learning what these mean, and how to live them daily.
Finding our direction in quilt making is something of a crap shoot. We’ve got to try a lot of stuff, make a lot of mistakes, try again, make more and different mistakes. This is good. And it’s not because we frequently focus on the mistakes in a way that causes us to focus on the problems in a way that often causes us shame, pointing out all the flaws. This often stops us from taking steps to remedy these. We become paralyzed in the “this is crap” thinking and turn it inward believing that “I am crap”. I know this cycle of thinking and it’s brutal, and more importantly it’s a LIE.
Kindness and compassion towards our self in the learning process makes all the difference in how we relate to quilting and to others, to our self. Questions like, “how can I fix this?” or “how can this be done differently?” or “is there another way of approaching (insert technique here)?” will allow quilters and teachers to offer some possible solutions to try on the next quilt. These questions open us to the learning process in a way that sees solutions in the faults. It also allows us to receive compliments on our work. The compliments are as necessary as being open to learning new technique.
These questions opening us to the learning process is an act of kindness to our self, and to others. We’re accepting of the areas in quilting (and in life) that we have an opportunity to grow and change, we get to allow others the growth of sharing knowledge and teaching from their experience. We get to express the compassion of knowing that mistakes happen allowing us to say to a quilter, “yeah this sucks for the moment.”
Through all this we learn forgiveness. Forgiving other quilters who sometimes make comments that are less than charitable or are downright mean. We learn to forgive our self for making those stupid comments to other quilters. Forgiving opens the door to compassion understanding that the other person is struggling just as much as we are, they may be mired in the same self-doubt that bubbles up to the surface in unpleasant ways. We can learn to let forgiveness lead, guiding us right to the heart of compassion. This is the place where we begin to appreciate the gift of the other persons struggle for where they are in their quilting/life journey.
In my own quilting journey there is great struggle, mixed with some really amazing experiences, mixed with some things I’m not so proud of, mixed with the gratitude that I’ve walked with some in their quilting journey. I am still learning kindness and compassion and forgiveness. I’m still learning how to quilt, twenty six years and there’s still so much to explore, places to grow, quilts to make, and quilters to walk with.
Check out this beautiful newsletter from Hallie Lord.
Check out what Leticia O Adams has to say here.