One of my favorite lines in the Anne of Green Gables series is when Anne is walking home one day with a kind man carrying a lamp. She describes how the light created by the lamp makes the darkness feel like the enemy. The contrast between light and dark is stark, making it difficult to see things outside the little sphere of lamp light. When the lamp is blown out, however, the darkness seems as a friend. Your eyes adjust, and although dimly, you can actually see more of what is around you.
I often encounter a similar feeling with sewing. I’m so focused on what I feel I should be sewing that I lose sight of what is actually important to sew – things that bring joy. I’m so focused on the pressure of the next step that I lose sight of the whole path. I lose the big picture.
This winter I bought an old house. It has a beautiful staircase that has a 180 degree turn in the middle. You go up a few steps then turn and go up a few more steps to the top. Going down the stairs at night without a light, I still have apprehension. I don’t remember if the turn is a triangle half step, triangle half step, then whole step, or whole step, then half step, half step. It’s important to know because if you misjudge the size of the step you could go tumbling down.
Sometimes I use my phone screen to light the stairs as I step tentatively foot by foot. But what I realized (besides the fact that I should just memorize the stairs!) is if I turn my screen off and step intuitively by the dim light shining in the window, I feel more secure. Sometimes when you feel overwhelmed with pressure and have trouble seeing the bigger vision, the long-term path stretched out ahead, it’s time to do something “wrong.”
Take a nap when you feel you should be doing a project. Go on a long drive instead of doing whatever was on your list this evening. Take a day off to sleep in, watch movies during the day. Paint instead of sew. Write instead of read. Whatever you feel unhealthy pressure to do, do something else. Sometimes you have to turn out the light on the things right in front of you so you can see where you are actually going.
What are ways that you have found helpful to shut down unhealthy pressure in your life?