How Can I Find Clarity When I Can’t Even Focus?
One of the biggest changes I’ve experienced since becoming a mom is how difficult I find it to concentrate. My mind races pretty much all the time now, and in any given moment I’m thinking about at least 30 things (although it feels like a million). I think about my kids, my wife, my extended family, money, to do lists, unfulfilled dreams, fears, hopes, wishes, goals…I think about how much I think…then I start a running list again and think some more…
Being the self help junkie I’ve been for most of my life, I am aware that meditation is like a magic pill. By just being still and quieting your mind you can get clarity, focus, and energy. I’ve done it and I know first hand it works. But recently, I’ve found meditation a bit more challenging. It’s been so hard to shut off the distracting thoughts and sit still. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a hidden gem – meditative practices.
A meditative practice is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. (Wikipedia)
Since I couldn’t just sit and take breaths the way I had in the past, I decided to turn to an interest of mine – crafting, for a possible solution. Similarly to the breathe in, breath out repetitious practice that comes with meditation, knitting involves repetitious hand movements. You have to focus on each stitch, and the more complex the pattern, the more concentration is applied and the deeper the meditative state. However, it’s been a while since I’ve knitted a project, so i wanted to so something simple. I bought 3 balls of loop yarn and decided to make a baby blanket. If you’re not familiar with it, loop yarn is literally what it sounds like – a ball of yarn that’s already been made into little loops. Because of the way the yarn is made, you can complete projects completely by hand without the use of any knitting or crochet needles. I found a simple pattern online (the woman posting it said her 5 year old can do it so that gave me an added layer of confidence), and got started.
Even with the simple project, just by focusing on what I was doing, and making sure I didn’t miss a loop, I was able to maintain a level of focus and concentration that kept me present. I was doing a form of meditation!
If like me, you’re trying to include more mindfulness in your life, but you don’t currently have the focus (or maybe even interest) in meditation, try out a knitting project. It’s such a great way to quieten your mind, get some clarity and experience a beautiful state of emotional serenity.