Monday, December 12, 2011

So you think your life is complicated?

It is holiday time and for many of us, the holidays mean we have more than our usual list of things to accomplish. When you begin to experience a slight feeling of overwhelm, it always helps to develop some perspective.

In aikido, we have a simple ki exercise that we do to develop our awareness of balance. It is called, ude furi undo. It is a simple turn with arms extended so you are facing 180 degrees from where you started. We often do a series of turns back and forth as part of our warm-up exercises at the start of a class. To complicate matters, the instructor can call for one turn at a time or two or three turns. The more turns, the more the challenge to maintain balance. My friend, Tom Crum, often uses this exercise in workshops. People find the initial exercise of one turn a bit challenging. Once we ask them to do two, three, four turns, and then return to one turn, they find one turn easy. Tom's usually then offers a metaphor for life. If you think your life is complicated, take on something bigger like world hunger, your issues will seem much smaller.

In a similar vein, if you are experiencing the feeling of overwhelm with the holiday, I thought you would enjoy a recent post by a friend of mine,  Dena Crain. She is a wonderful art quilter and instructor who happens to live in Kenya. In the post, Dena describes a recent day in her life. And, she also offers a similar metaphor to Tom's in her description. Enjoy!

PS. Dena has a great design class, Goodbye to the Grid, starting in late January on Quilt University. I have taken it twice and am planning to take it again. She is a wonderfully challenging teacher who really makes you stretch!


  1. I 'met' Dena in Calgary at Quilt Canada 2010, when I took in her evening lecture and slide show. Remarkable! Alas, I was bored to tears by her "Math for Quilters" course...maybe I'll try a different topic and enjoy it more. I must say I am intrigued by her 'crystal' quilts...

  2. The Math for Quilters is 'dry' because it is math. Her design courses are amazing. Making a crystal quilt is great fun.