A process not a project
Not too long ago, I started knitting a gift for a family member who is getting married next year. And I got about 1/10th of the way through (used 3 of the 30 balls of yarn I bought and spent several hours knitting it) and then I just sort of stopped working on it. And finally, after some time, I realized I wasn’t working on it because I didn’t like it. That I was unhappy with the design I chose. And I unraveled it and balled the yarn back up. (Thank heaven for my yarn winder so I didn’t have to wind the balls by hand!)
It is one of my favorite lessons from getting my eating under control. It does not matter how much work was done, how much time I spent, how much energy I expended. If I am unhappy, it is worth it to undo all of that progress and do it again.
And there is the other side of that same coin. That I can leave a mistake. That I don’t need to be perfect. That if I *don’t* want to unravel a project, I can leave a flaw right where it is. I can even call it a “design feature” if I’m feeling saucy.
Since getting my food taken care of, so much of the trajectory of my life has to do with the way I subconsciously act when I am actively working to take care of myself. When I first started to go to meetings, people would talk about “smart feet.” They didn’t *think about* getting to the meeting. They just let their bodies take them. They let the momentum of recovery guide them to the things that are best for them.
In the beginning of arresting my food addiction, sometimes something would go wrong with a meal. My scale would turn off in the middle of weighing my meal. Or I poured the oil too fast and too much came out on my food and I could not get enough off to fix it. And the answer was to throw the food away. Even when the ingredients were expensive. Even if I spent a long time making that meal. Even if it was the last of my favorite thing in the house and I had to have something I liked less. Even when there are children starving in the world!!! I learned that my commitment to myself was more important than anything else. And eventually I learned to 1) be more careful, and 2) throw it away without a second thought if it could not be salvaged.
Understanding how to let my life be a process and not a project or an object has let all the things I do be part of a process too. Progress is more important than perfection.
I could have struggled through the original blanket design. Maybe. But the truth is, I might not have. I might have ended up with over $200 in yarn and a twinge of guilt over knowing I bought it for a gift that never got made. All because I could not give up on the time I spent on my first design.
But now I can let things be what they are and make my own judgements about them, and take my own actions accordingly.