Sunday, October 24, 2010

WIP: sleeves, plus a Rabbi-inspire ramble


These are my Julia sleeves, making progress. I am going to Omaha on the 1st to get our furniture out of our (sold!) house, and more to see my knitters, and I am feeling some pressure to finish this sweater due to a friendly email from one of my ladies:
So happy to hear that your house sold, Elise! I look forward to seeing you and please bring all the wonderful things you have knitted since we saw you last...

um....bring all the what? The only think I've actually "finished" is the Sweet Pea onesie, and that is no longer mine to bring to Nebraska to show off. Wonder if Joanna would let me borrow it... I left Nebraska three months ago and all I've really done is rip and re-knit the yolk of Owls and finish about 2/3 of Julia, and I have the strange feeling like I'm supposed to have something to show for myself when I show up at sit-n-knit at String of Purls. So, after some very sporadic progress over the last 90 days, I'll be pushing to finish the sleeves and making up of Julia, plus block and de-pit-hole Owls, by Monday night. Hm, this doesn't sound a lot like knitting for love. On the other hand, I heard on Being on my way home from work this morning
a discussion about motivation from this Rabbi Heschel passage from Between God and Man:

Deeds set upon ideal goals, deeds performed not with careless ease and routine but in exertion and submission to their ends are stronger than the surprise and attack of caprice. Serving sacred goals may change mean motives. For such deeds are exacting. Whatever our motive may have been prior to the act, the act itself demands undivided attention. Thus the desire for reward is not the driving force of the poet in his creative moments, and the pursuit of pleasure or profit is not the essence of a religious or moral act.

At the moment in which an artist is absorbed in playing a concerto the thought of applause, fame or remuneration is far from his mind. His complete attention, his whole being is involved in the music. Should any extraneous thought enter his mind, it would arrest his concentration and mar the purity of his playing. The reward may have been on his mind when he negotiated with his agent, but during the performance it is the music that claims his complete concentration.

Man’s situation in carrying out a religious or moral deed is similar. Left alone, the soul is subject to caprice. Yet there is power in the deed that purifies desires. It is the act, life itself, that educates the will. The good motive comes into being while doing the good.”

Even if we do a good deed to make ourselves feel good, or because someone is rewarding us or requiring us, the fact that we are doing good outweighs. To do a thing well, we must put our whole selves into it, which purifies the doing even if we started out with impure motives. Maybe the act of knitting so I can show off a sweater, or knitting because we have resolved to do a certain amount a day, or for any other reason, is fine, because once we are knitting we are in it, and knitting purifies our reasons like the concerto purifies the musician. Knitting has a way of putting me into a creative space that I need to be in right now, no matter my reasons for getting into it.

I love Being: it makes me feel all deep and soulful once a week after a long night at work. :)

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