Observe this innocent-looking skein of yarn. It is beautiful. Organized. Holds promise. One day, it will be transformed into a an impressive, eye-catching, wearable, piece of art–the finest in all of Knitterdom. Before that can happen, however, it must be turned into a ball, somehow. That should be easy enough.

Or not. Or knot. Careful as I was, instant chaos ensued as soon as I loosed the holding strands. My first mistake was in trying to save a few pennies by winding this myself. I should have had the sense to pay the owner of the knit shop to use the (very cool) ball-winder. It might have taken all of three minutes. Probably why it is called a “Swift“. And yes, in case you are wondering, by this point, it was too late to ask. There are not enough dollars in a Swiss bank account to pay anyone to unravel someone else’s skewed skein of yarn.

I had a few conversations with that mess of string. I might have begged a few times. When that didn’t yield results, it is possible that I could have resorted to a wee bit of whining. I do not remember for sure.

Switching to an attitude of determination, and speaking directly to the wad of yarn, I set a clear boundary as to how much time it was allowed to snatch out of my day. I insisted on cooperation from said ball of yarn. She was not the least bit interested in what I had to say. After an hour of navigation through the treacherous labyrinth of string, I became frustrated and I (shall leave this part to your imagination).

In crisis and chaos, there comes a point where you need to make a choice. To be frank, there are really only two options. Work through it. Or don’t work through it. Stay in a muddled, disheartened and hopeless state, or take a chance in a forward direction.

I stopped fighting and settled in. Notice I did not say give in. I simply became a part of the process, without an agenda. For every section of knotted and twisted string I untangled, a new lump of chaos was created. Rather than letting that deter me, I focused only on the few inches I could see. It didn’t look or feel like progress at the moment, but I was in motion.

As I worked steadily while manipulating the string, I felt a calm sense of knowing I was doing exactly the thing I should be doing at that precise moment. As long as I was gentle, carefully stretching and pulling, back-weaving around and through, all was well. If I got in a hurry, the fabric would knot and I had to take extra, unnecessary time to address the situation. A certain rhythm ensued. Dare I say, a measure of enjoyment?

That nice, round ball of yarn I wanted and needed to begin my project was not foremost on my mind. In the beginning, being obsessed about the goal was not helping, but conversely, a detriment to reaching it. Goals are nothing but the cumulation of quality moments. Yes, I still wanted the same outcome, but I let go of my particular plan to get there. When advancement is the only goal to reach a goal, you might arrive, but something valuable is lost along the way.

Chaos forces us to rest and listen. When the mess is gargantuan, we might feel paralyzed and pathetic at the outset. Impossible circumstances choke us and make us feel vulnerable to disaster. So we have to think. We are forced to pay attention. We re-group and re-evaluate. The induced resting rate of our situation calls for us to stretch and bend. In that holding pattern, we discover something new. Something deeper. More important than a conclusion.

A gift.

Well, three great movies and random hours later, I have my beautiful ball of yarn. Next time, I am quite certain I will get my skein to the ball-winder,

but I will be



what I am missing.