Last week I wrote a post on loneliness.
It got me thinking about what loneliness actually IS. I mean the feeling - how would you describe it? Is it simply a craving for company, or is it a craving for something else? A LACK of something - a lack of ENERGY, enthusiasm, inspiration, light-hearted-ness, for example?
Also, the times we crave solitude, what is it that we really want? Is that about energy too - wanting the kind of calming, soothing energy that comes from being quiet, and still? The inspirational, problem-solving energy that comes from getting in touch with one's deeper recesses?
A longing to express a part of ourselves that we are not expressing in our particular current state?
I am sadly not the genius who first put these ideas together. Carl Jung wrote about extroversion and introversion and the different requirements for energy. Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers expanded this understanding into the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) framework, and concepts of introversion and extroversion have become increasingly mainstream.
To summarise, briefly:
Extroverts are energized by the outer world of activity and people. They work things out by talking them through, they tend to have a wide range of friends and interests.
Introverts are energized by the inner world of their thoughts and feelings. They are REFLECTORS. They tend to think things out before speaking, and often like to go deep into a narrower range of activities, and value a smaller, close circle of friends.
We are all different, we are all the same.
For me: INSPIRATION is ENERGY; too much time alone in the house focusing on domestic chores is not energizing (for some people it would be).
My daughter was chatting to me at bedtime about the TOYS she wanted to take away with her for our New Year break/ holiday.
'What do you want to take with you?' she asked me.
What do I want to take? What do I WANT?
Her question got my lethargic brain cells firing. The answer came quickly:
I want to make a new quilt.
Jewel colours. Indian fabrics.
Designing a new quilt is ultimate inspiration for me.
First, there is COLLABORATION with textile designers and creators. I am not starting from scratch - I am building on other people's work and ideas.
Second, there is the external input of COLOUR, FORM and TEXTURE . Will I go for squares, circles, rectangles, triangles, hexagons? I didn't invent these shapes - they exist freely in nature (and school geometry lessons). But how will I use and manipulate them? Will I use patterned or solid fabrics, or a combination of both? What FEEL do I want the overall quilt to have - soothing, dazzling, cosy, nostalgic, modern? Something in-between?
Step one was to gather all possible contenders for the job from my - ahem - rather large fabric stash. (I went on a bit of an Etsy shopping spree when I was designing an hommage quilt for my mother - more on that another time. I've now got a self-imposed moratorium on fabric buying until I've used up my stash :)).
You can see the first selection laid out below:
Step two was to eliminate fabrics that stuck out or didn't quite go with the feel or theme I was after. Taking photos is very useful as you spot things in a photo that you don't see with your bare eyes.
Normally there are many more stages of culling, adding, figuring out the pattern and design, but since I wanted to take this on holiday with me, I just used this photo as the design prototype and began cutting strips.
Here are the strips assembled on the floor of our holiday chalet, as I am starting to piece them together. I am finding the slow hand sewing enjoyable after the frenetic pre-Christmas pace.
So - how about you? What energizes you? Do you crave creative work, like sewing, cooking, dancing, decorating or other things? Is there some project you've been wanting to start? Some new exercise regime you want to kick start, or a new eating regime you want motivation for?
What do YOU REALLY want?
You may be surprised how quickly an answer comes. Or it may take a while to become clear.
2016 may be the start of a beautiful new phase.
Wishing you jewel-coloured moments as 2015 reaches its warm and mild close,
Elizabeth, aka The Writing Parent