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A Bear’s Pursuit of Peace (Part 2)

It was a very strange week. I spent it rather quietly knitting up those white bears, pursuing in my actions some kind of meditation, some kind of answer to all the madness. And like “Eureka in the bathtub,” it smacked me upside the head. And don’t you love it when it’s so simple? I was knitting, being contemplative, trying to figure out how my actions could help obtain some peace…..Yeah, let it sit there for a moment🙂 It’s always in the simple actions, isn’t it? But, it has to go deeper, it has to be so ingrained in your habits that you never even realize you’re doing it. Not grand, Nobel Prize winning moments, just simple actions that run through your day.

IMG_2742I finished a couple of my white bears, along with some other bears that were back ordered, spending the entire time in a detached sense of bliss, comfort, and peace. I’m no longer sitting at my desk to knit. I’m knitting other places now. If you’d like one of these little white bears, click here. If I get them sold, I’ll be able to finish up getting the rent together, and we can move through August, get this crazy summer behind us, and begin enjoying the crisp comfort of Autumn.

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A Bear’s Pursuit of Peace

With all the madness in the world, I thought that I would reflect more on innocence and purity. It’s hard to pull your mind out the swirl of destruction that surrounds us, but it is possible to close the eyes, silence the mind, and cling to peace. It’s difficult, but not impossible.

Needing to work up some bears to get rent paid, I was looking at my stash and noticed how much white yarn I had (not TRUE white, but a nice fluffy, creamy white). The more I looked at it, the more I thought of the presence of peace and purity…..or actually, how much those virtues are missing these days, in not only action, but in thought. Grimness seems to pervade many of us lately, suspicions of each other, sneers of disapproval. So, painfully acting out violence isn’t the only harm we experience now. Hateful thoughts also continue to scar us emotionally, as they build in the mind, seep into the spirit and become an aspect of our selves; darkness becomes a poison that slowly ebbs the beauty of life.

IMG_2740So, I decided I was going to focus more on peace, instead of darkness, and all of that plush white in my stash was going to be a friendly reminder while I’m knitting to think kinder of myself and of the world, to forgive myself and the world, to feel more compassion for myself and for the world. Now, I won’t be doing these bears made to order, but when one is finished I’ll upload them throughout the week. I’ve started with this guy, made from Cascade yarns in a superwash wool. I have two of him. So, if you’d like to take him home, click here.

I’m hoping through this process that I’ll learn something about why the world is in so much pain…..

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I Named Him Rusty

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Obviously, because of his color. You’ll have to forgive the lighting. It’s about 5am and the only good lighting is in the bathroom🙂 I got up early this morning so I could finish him up. He’s really quite soft, made with a worsted wool from Germany. He’s a one of a kind, so be sure to snag him fast. If you’d like him, click here. 

I’ve been knitting a lot from bed lately, watching old movies (by old, I mean from the 80’s). It’s a different perspective than sitting at my desk working. I don’t look at my laptop, don’t stay tuned to the latest bad news on the radio, but rather, escape into more comforting perceptions of the world…..

Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday.

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Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Phillip and I finished watching “Stranger Things” on Netflix, which was actually quite enjoyable. It was a great homage to 80’s Stephen King and Wes Craven films, with a dollop of “Aliens,” a pinch of “Goonies,” and a tad “E.T.” We enjoyed it very much…..however, there was a moment where we saw the 13 year old boys riding around on their bicycles and I remarked, “Wow, you don’t see that anymore, do you?”

Oh, I fondly remember being a 13 year old boy, riding my bike joyously with my friends. My bike had a little shield on the front that mimicked “Knightrider,” and the reflector would light up as the peddles were spun….and I, in such beautiful imagery, would sound out, “wee woo….wee wooo” as though my bike had become Kitt. I remember it wasn’t unusual to ask your mom if your friend could stay for dinner. Never a problem. But, that world doesn’t exist anymore, does it? We no longer have boys that build forts, children that no longer walk themselves to school, and lemonade stands are now shut down by city councils for lack of “regulatory practices and lack of proper permitting.”

Where did it all go wrong? When did we stop spending time with our neighbors? When did schools start to look more like prisons, with fences, barbed wire, and metal detectors? When did we decide it was more acceptable to “friend” someone on Facebook, rather than look a stranger in the eye on the street and say, “Good morning,” and when did a smile become a moment of harassment? When did penmanship become a thing of the past? When did the smell of books become archaic? And when did being bitchy become fashionable, and kindness considered weakness?

Do you remember life before everything was streaming and hash tagged? When we all gathered as a family in front of the television to watch a program, because if you missed it, then you just simply missed it? Do you remember doing that with TV trays and spending time with your family, laughing and loving and talking? When did that end, and when did everyone in a home decide to start sitting in separate rooms on separate devices?

With all the madness in the world, I can only attest that it ended when boys no longer rode bikes in their neighborhoods, when we no longer spoke to each other, but began texting each other; when we decided it was better to spend hours on social media, rather than hours with friends; when we decided everyone was suspicious, including members of our family; when our accomplishments were measured by our “likes” on Facebook, rather than our charity.

I heard a gentleman remark once on the fall of the great societies of the past. When asked, “What do you think caused those civilizations to fail,” he responded, “They allowed their technology to exceed their morality.”

With all the madness in the world, and with what time I have in it, that will be my mission: that morality will always supersede this strange technology we live in. You, your feelings, your existence is more important than tweets.

IMG_1234Set your device down, build a fort in the living room with pillows, watch a movie, and share a meal with your family. Say “Good morning,” to the next person you pass on the street, and smile at the next possible opportunity for any reason whatsoever. This life is short. Don’t live it online. Live it in real time, with other people. Spend your best moments in the real world. Though we have connected with each other on the internet, we should never forget, that our feelings for each other rests deeply in the real world. And I’m so grateful to be a part of your lives. I have this one bear holding a heart, ready to ship. I think he says so much. If you’d like to take him home, click here.

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Blue Moonshine

IMG_2722This bear is made with the last of that amazing yarn from Juniper Moon. There is just a pinch left, so I thought I’d save it for a bear wearing a mock hat and sweater. But for now, he’s the only one. And what a great color of blue. I love that color. He’s made of a mix of wool, alpaca and silk and is ready to ship with a signed card by me. If you’d like to have him, click here.

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Grandma Cheap Cheap

vlcsnap-2016-07-16-12h22m19s892When in pain, I demand distraction. And I often don’t have to look very far. I came across Grandma Cheap Cheap’s Youtube channel about a year ago and I was instantly drawn in. She loves vintage cooking, delivers her recipes with no solid production (just her and a camera), which makes them more authentic. She tells stories about her life while she’s cooking. You feel invited into her home, you feel warmed in the heart. And all of her videos made me feel so much better. I felt I was in the hands of care, in the presence of kindness. She had a noticeable absence from Youtube for quite some time, so when she reappeared, I had to send her a little note saying, “I’m so glad you’re back. Whenever I don’t feel well, watching your videos always makes me feel so much better.” To which she replied, “I could just hug you.” And that, I think is why I loved watching her so much. It felt like sitting on a bar stool at her kitchen counter and being taken care of, made you feel as if the pain of the world, or the pain in your heart, body and soul is always beautifully dismissed with kind actions, with cooking, with sharing a dish.

Now, she doesn’t know me from Adam, and has no idea I’m writing this post about her. But, that is what the brilliance of connection is all about. Something, or someone, so far away, can make your day brighter, if you just look for it. You don’t need grand declarations….just a simple smile and kind heart wanting to share with you.

Be sure to check out her videos. I think you’ll agree, she has a certain presence that lends itself to warmth.🙂

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I’m So Sorry, but I Just Cannot Apologize

“If you are promoting “Black Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter” then I think you’re missing the point behind proactive, peaceful dialogue. Simply put, you’re still being divisive. I understand a retaliatory need to have your voice heard….but, “us vs. them” discussions will only promote more division. And no one will win. NO ONE. Sorry to be so harsh. We, as a country, as a people, will forever remember these moments where we either blamed each other….or sympathized with each other.”

Apparently, I got into a little bit of trouble for posting that on Facebook. And a few days ago, I received a comment from someone saying that people were “unliking” my page in droves because of my “rants.” She’s right, though. I have seen a huge decrease in numbers of people that follow this blog, and people that “like” my Facebook page. And I imagine this is where someone with a livelihood dependent on an internet presence would take the public relations playbook and apologize.

However, I just cannot bring myself to do that. I will forever promote the concepts of hope, optimism, self responsibility, and peaceful accord found by casting off dangerously labeled attachments. I will not apologize for promoting peace through unity. I will not apologize for allowing one group to win over another in the social media war.

Apparently, I screwed things up because I didn’t pick a side to fight for, but instead, suggested that I’m not playing this game where we are being lured into these socially correct sides. I’m not apologizing for promoting open discussion and a dismissal of labels. I am not apologizing for taking your cause as truth.

So, to those of you who linger on whether or not you should still follow me because of my idealized notion that you should just cut this crap out, act sensibly and start formulating your concepts on the precipices of actual, individual encounters with other individuals, then perhaps I’m not the guy for you. If you tend to think that vast majority of any group defines the individual, then I’m not the guy for you. I am not the guy for you. And I understand. I truly do. You will try to convince me of disparity, and I will try to convince you that hashtags are not the best resolution for grievances. You will try and convince me that America is a rotten place full of hatred and racism, and I will tell you that the beautiful statement you just said was made possible (without political repercussion) because you live in America. You are ALLOWED to say you hate it here. And I’m allowed to say, “I disagree.”

The other part of this, which I find strange, is that I should only write about knitting, leave the politics out. I don’t think that you understand that these divisions we face right now are not political. They are actually becoming social. The intense amount of pressure we’re put under SOCIALLY to take sides is causing a distance between us. I don’t care for that. I won’t be poisoned by it.

And in terms of knitting? Well, what do you think happens when you knit for long hours? It is a contemplative thing, an action of repetition that allows the mind to hear itself for a moment, rather than be bombarded with the noise outside. You are allowed to process thoughts, to courageously enter silence, to hear the humming of life, as opposed to the shriek of the ego’s demands. When knitting, you get a chance to sit alone, to rest the mind and allow the soul to whisper. So, don’t give me this, “Just shut up about politics and knit business.” For if you truly find yourself in volatile moments in world history, the worst thing you could do is just shut up and knit. You should DO something, SAY something, ACTIVELY promote something. But, that something for me is the pursuance of peace and hope. NOT the promotion of one side over another.

Alas, these things are no longer fashionable. Being rebellious and angry are trendy. Being divisive and retaliatory is more “liked” than being passive and dismissive of differences.

If you don’t like that I promote peace, rather than support your separatist hashtags and causes, then I’m not the guy for you. But, if you agree that we can do something far more challenging, and against the greater idea of normal, and push away the concepts of division, then I’m here for you. I will fight with you to prove that separatism will never lead to equality, that your idea of “self” is no more valuable, nor as less worthy as mine, as long as we both agree that we are both valid. We have to begin there…..here….where we decide that you and I are not members of opposing factions, but united in something greater: the pursuit of peace….. and yes, while knitting.

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