Blog #18: Sometimes You Need to Calm the Brain Down

Starting this new project gave me joy and was a great stress-reliever.

Blog #18: Sometimes You Need to Calm the Brain Down

A curious concatenation of circumstances combined that compelled me to craft in cross stitching on a fresh chart, rather than one of the projects I committed to complete by December 5th.  It was the healthy choice to make.

My mind and spirit were tired after a long afternoon unsuccessfully trying to edit a Zoom video, which resulted in me recreating the morning’s worship service so I could post it on my and the church I serves Facebook pages. Then it was off to pick up something I’d ordered online, and get cat treats after dropping off my recyclables at a municipal building, where I managed not to nterrogate someone who seemed to be putting trash in the contained clearly marked for Recyclables Only. Physically tired now, I became mentally weary after my computer refused to show the video I’d just bought and downloaded. Then one of my sister’s called as our brother  had taken a fall while visiting Washington DC and was on the way to the ER.  No-one could be in the ER with in due to greater restrictions in the hospital because of the uptick in Covid-19 cases.  So then came several hours of waiting to hear, something.

The sibling constellation texted amongst ourselves, and with my brother.  I called the hospital, using my years of finely-honed hospital visitation skills.  We hope he will be found to be fine, and then discharged to his hotel to rest and recuperate.  That now seems to be the plan.  

But in this evening block of time that seems well-suited to stitching my commitments into completetion, my brain was tired, and I chose something refreshing and restorative.  I pulled out a new project, that would require very little thinking and would allow me to just enjoy the colors of the threads, the feel of pulling a needle through fabric and the joy of a nicely-placed x. against the creamy color of the Aida cloth. So that’s what I did.

The bare minimum of the FlyLady steps was completed so I’ll have the pleasure of a clean sink and some clear surfaces to greet me in the morning. Those were easy, comforting and comfortable things to do. Sometimes you just have to do what gives you pleasure, feeds your spirit and helps you create a little peaceful bubble to calm your brain down.

I wish I could remember the context where it was said in Star Trek (the series): “the more complex the mind, the greater the need for simple play,”  It might have been the Tribble episode….  Regardless, it’s true.  The more complex the mind, the more concerns we are juggling, the greater our need is for a new cross stitch project, the aesthetic aromatherapy of baking cookies, brains candy TV shows like Hallmark movies, Murder She Wrote or Gravity Falls. Repetitive movements like knitting, sanding a boat by hand like Gibbs does on NCIS, juggling, or petting the dog can help your brain find a quiet place to stop spinning and give your spirit ease. Coloring, walking, centering prayer, breath prayer  and prayer beads: all ways to embody your prayers. When I prayer color, I choose a color to represent each person or concern for which I’m praying, and so my finished picture is a visual representation  of my prayers.

Find what works for you, what helps you calm the brain down when you’re weary and worried. I’m going to put a few more stitches into my new project, check my text messages to see what I can learn about my brother’s status, then lift him and others I know who are not feeling well up to God’s Light in prayer.  You do you, and as you do you, may you remember that God loves you!

Todays’ prayer poem is by Judy Brown, and was brought to my attention several years ago by a friend and colleague, the Rev. Dr. Elaine Besthorn.  It’s called “Fire”

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
grows
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Judy Brown, from The Sea Accepts All Rivers

Grace and peace to you!

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