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I recently returned home from The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) trade show in San Diego, California. This is always an amazing experience. It is a wholesale trade show where shopowners can view new products from every vendor imaginable. Attendees and retailers can take classes from the biggest names in the industry on topics ranging from how to effectively merchandise your shop and how to teach techniques to simply appreciating good customer relations.

The knitterati are there in full force. This year Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, Erika Knight, Amy Singer, Lily Chin, Teva Durham, Melissa Leapman, Leigh Radford, Suss Cousins, and so many more I can’t remember (but I remember that I was there). TNNA gives yarnies at all levels to interact and play – manufacturers, distributors, designers and shop owners – all of whom combined are ultimately responsible for making yarn and fiber goodies accessible to the general yarn buying public (otherwise known as all us fiber junkies).

Amazing products abound. At each show there is always something new and often something something show-stopping. Much to my excitement, I found many natural and organic-based products and had wonderful conversations with the people who so enthusiastically offer them, make them, hand dyed them and travel around the world to find them.

So suffice it to say it was quite a weekend. It was exhausting as much as it was fun. Several days later I get around to unloading my suitcase. I’m not someone who unpacks right way, never. It takes me a while – like until I realize I can’t find a shirt because it’s still in the suitcase. So, a few days after arriving home, I finally unpack, do the laundry and then press and fold things to put away.

Honestly, as much as I dislike (hate) housework (rather be knitting), I really do try to invoke the “chop wood, carry water” quality in the tasks required to upkeep my environment – slow it down, enjoy the process. So, as I’m neatly folding my assorted light delicate wash I notice that most of tees and tops have random spots on them, a smear here, something that looks like a chocolate stain there. And the first thing that goes through my mind is – how did that happen, I didn’t do it. It’s not my fault. It’s the kids, darn kids.” I rationalize – Someone (Zane/Jack) must have spilled something on me. Someone (Zane/Jack) with little chocolatey fingers obviously grabbed at me and left behind an indelible stain.

Then I stop myself and the flurry of my mind and I start to laugh. I apply Meditation in Action to the situation. Of course these things are not because of the children. (Mind you, there are plenty of other times when they are the culprits, but that’s for another time.) Of course it was me who spilled tea on the shirt. And as for the chocolate – yeah right, I’m the chocoholic of the universe – and I’m not a very tidy eater either. I continue to smile at my mind’s escapades.

But, next comes the inevitable self-blame (not about the laundry or the suitcase – them, I can live with) – about the fact that I would immediately, with first though, accuse my children.

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who could blame these adorable guys?

Eastern teachers often laugh, pretty loud, at the notion that the Western psyche is based on the concept that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. They tell us is not part of the makeup of the Eastern mind. Western mind starts from the basic point of view that states “I am basically a bad person.” From there, we do all sorts of things to further our worthlessness – like blaming little kids in a millisecond flash of thought or (fill in the blank ______________________).

How fun it must be to walk around without that little voice inside you somewhere telling you you’re basically not okay. Try for a moment – you can feel a simple, quiet and calm center to your existence.

My wakeup call was a spot on my shirt. It just goes to show how the littlest thing can flip over and remind you of how you treat yourself, and furthermore, to remind you that you are basically okay — there’s no need to try to put blame anywhere. Instead, simply fold the laundry and try to keep the kids hands clean.

Consider cultivating a method of spending some time in the quiet blameless space – use your needles to get there. Pick up your knitting and let everything else melt away. And if that little thing inside starts yelling, “Hey, you should be doing something else – isn’t there something more important, you are neglectful (etc),” just say” this is okay.” Gently ask the little inner critic voice to go someplace else for awhile and enjoy yourself. Meanwhile, I think I will go get myself some spot remover.

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