At times the best picture of my life is a ball of wool made of all kinds of yarns, wonderful threads or lints from my sewing room floor, all mixed together like if my dog had played with it. If I want to finish my project I have to know which thread I am looking for, and slowly untangle and ease it from the rest.
The day I started the untangling tens project was the day I was told that we did not have enough work for everybody. After a day of ups and downs, of doing my chores like a sleepwalker, of walking the dog for hours, I found myself with a list. It was almost finished before I reflected on what I was doing. I studied it closer, as I realized that this was my preferred tool to sort my tangles.
The next thought was of course, if this is what I do, what do others do? Which is the content of this blog series. Some of us do everything, others have a favorite method. When I asked, these are the most popular tools we use to untangle our tangles: to do nothing, to walk, to sleep, to eat, to light a candle, to give thanks, to make a list, to organize, to call a friend, to start.
Seems I am first of all a listmaker. We do different lists though, my go-to-tool is my list of me. I realized I have been doing that at every crossroad.
On that day, I did not list the bills that were due, or the jobs I could apply for. I listed all the words that I know to be true when I am at my best. At times like this, I look back and search for the days when I have felt energy and joy pulling back my shoulders, lifting my chin and filling my chest. One of my moments is the strength I felt when I knew I had won a design contest. Another is when I facilitated the solution of a conflict and succeeded where everyone else had given in. Another is skiing into the woods, standing on a hilltop and watching the sun set. Another is the glimpse of understanding when praying with a friend. They are not hard-sell skills, they are who I am.
I also list the words that tell me of situations I hated. Where someone was unjust, when someone left me with responsibility I was not able to handle, all the days where what I did, did not add up to what I want to be.
These moments help me see what to avoid, and what my values are.
These lists are not orderly, there are flowers and clouds, boxes and sentences all over the page. In between I put some words that comes to my mind. Like color, snow, ocean, church.
When I feel there is something to work on, I take a look on my list, adding, underlining and connecting. A list like this is not a to-do list, it is a to-be list. It is my tool to remind me what I need to have present in my life. It is not a tool that makes my tangle less, it is the key that helps me know what to look for, what to keep and what to add. It is not the finished project, not even the start of the project itself. It is getting to know the quality and the color of the yarn I want to keep to start knitting, and then the work may begin.
In November I take part in the NaBloPoMo, in the BlogHer network. I post every day on “The Untangling Tens” what women do when life gets tangled. These are the ten tools that worked for those I have asked, what are yours?
All pictures in this blog are taken by me, Solveig Mjolsnes.