Thursday, January 20, 2005

Freedom to Stop

Today was Quilt Guild day, and a very good meeting too. Once a month, we have a guest speaker, and today's guest was Cara Gulati. She's a quilter from Marin County who has made some colorful 3-D effect quilts with great success. And she gave a delightful presentation, touring us through her progress as an art quilter.

Seeing the quilts was great fun, as it always is. And, for part of the time, I was one of the "quilt holders" so I got to see them up close and marvel over the clever quilting patterns. (Cara noted that she quilts on a Juki, like me!)

But here's the most important thing I came away with: it's okay not to finish a project.

Now, I know this. In my brain, I know that I can do whatever I want, and if I don't want to finish something, I don't need to. But in some corner of my mind, there's the 11 year old, hearing my mother scold me that I have to finish what I start. So, for each unfinished project I have, there's a bit of guilt floating around my brain.

C'mon, I'm a grown-up. I don't need someone to tell me that it's okay to stop doing something.... At least I didn't think I needed that. It's even what I'd say to anyone else: If you've gotten what you want to get out of a project, then that's it, you're done. No need to go further, if you don't want to. But, on some level, somewhere deep inside, I don't wholly feel that.

But how amazing it is to have someone tell you something OUTLOUD that you already know. (This reminds me vaguely of my experience in therapy! ) I was surprised at the "lightbulb: ON" feeling I had when Cara said, about various projects she held up, "I made this top and I didn't want to go any further, so it's done." What a simple concept, eh? Cara even added that she'd have thrown them or given them away, but they're useful in her lecture.

I thought of the stuff I have hanging around in the closet, mostly projects I started in workshops that I took to learn a particular technique. I've been ambivalent about them...I had a great time working on them, I liked working on a new technique, but I don't have any interest in working on those pieces. (In most cases, they're someone else's design or pattern.) But I've kept them, thinking I SHOULD finish them up.

Well, now I'm done with that. I learned what I wanted to learn from the process and it's okay to let them go. They're served their purpose. I'm done, and I'm free!

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