Friday, March 27, 2009

Complex Abundance

Yesterday I led a meeting at church which meant that I got to choose the opening devotion. The item that I chose reflects my thinking on the previous post dealing with the issues of abundance and sharing. There are two specific warnings to myself which I've been contemplating:
  • Too much of anything is really not good for you.
  • Be careful of your attitude when passing things along. Just because you are donating something to someone in need does not raise you a notch on the hierarchy. Never assume that they don't have something you need. It may not be a can be an attitude, attribute, or some other intangible.
One of our pastors spent 18 months serving on a Navajo reservation in the southwest before he went to seminary. In the discussion about abundance, Pr. K. shared that during the time on the reservation he had exactly $6 per month left after his housing and food expenses were met. Being a remote location, there was no television reception and no money for satellite tv. He had exactly 10 videos to watch. When evening came as time to unwind, he would select one of the 10 videos and no matter how many times he had seen it before, it was just as enjoyable as the first time he'd seen it. He would laugh in anticipation of the punch lines and wait for the sight gags to appear.

During this time, he confessed that he also imagined and looked forward to the time when he was off the reservation and earning a real income. What videos he would purchase and enjoy then!

Fast forward through his time in seminary, his first call as a pastor, and life with an income that allowed more than $6 at the end of the month........He accumulated a library of 700 videos! One Sunday evening he realized that it had taken him 40 minutes (!?) to decide which video he would watch. At the same time he realized that not one of these 690 additional videos brought him the same amount of pleasure as those 10 videos during those 18 months on the reservation. Clearly the abundance of videos was not the pleasure he had dreamed of those many years before. Time to cull. He carted 60% of his video collection to the church rummage sale last fall.

Aside from learning that Pastor K. is as OCD as I thought he might be, I learned a little about myself.

Two days before the meeting at church, I had lunch with N. who was clearing out her weaving yarn stash. This is what I came home with:
That is my full set of dining room furniture behind the yarn. Those cones are really as big as they look. Now this stash enhancement is added to the 2 lbs. of very fine yarn from the previous all of the other stash accumulated upstairs.

As I selected these cones from N.'s stash, there was a vision for what each yarn could become, either combined with one another or some existing yarns in my stash. Look again....that is a lot of ideas.

Meanwhile, last weekend I took Robyn Spady's Pictures, Piles, Potpourri, and Perplexing Curiosities workshop. The 11 samples below are from that workshop:

Now who doesn't come home from a workshop full of ideas of what they want to try next?

In true Pastor K. fashion, I have spent hours dithering over which warp to wind next. And since there are three looms...which warp for which loom? Sometimes such dreams are productive planning times. But this really has been dithering rather than planning and has been much more than Pr. K's 40 minutes!

In the process of making idea lists and writing down inventory, I've decided to return to the path I was on before all of this yarn arrived:
I've wanted to experiment with differential shrinkage since coming home from Penland last summer. Several warps were planned with materials at hand. Above is the first one. The warp is Noro silk sock yarn and 2/8's merino wool. The weft is a raw silk Henry's Attic yarn (which came from N's stash). These are the samples. Before washing is on the left, after washing is on the right....40% shrinkage in length. There was only about 10% loss of width, but that might be small due to the small sample size. Notice that I tried twill treadling at the bottom of the samples.

Plain weave gives me the effect I was looking for and that 5 yd. warp has just one more yard to be woven.

So the challenge for me right now is to just focus on what's in front of me and not let the abundance get the best of me.

But I have to admit while weaving that boring plain weave last night, I spent more than a little time wondering just what 10 videos Pr. K had on that reservation.

Once again, Monkey Mind gets the upper hand.


  1. Thanks for the reflective post - good lessons all. I tried hard not to envy your access to such a stash sale, knowing that it would leave me in the same state as you and your pastor.

    Also enjoyed re-reading the 25 Things meme. I wasn't familiar to Monkey Mind until you introduced it. I say that there's a game of Pong going on in my head.

  2. An interesting post! Doing what is right in front of me is exactly how I approach my weaving. The result is I have very little stash. Though that happens because I use primarily undyed silk which I dye myself. I am, however, developing a larger stash of handspun than I need and my next handspun weaving project will be to use what I have.

  3. I heard (or read) an interview with David Milch (Deadwood, HBO) about the limitations of writing within the Western genre week after week. He felt the constraints were actually quite liberating: since he didn't have to think about the *structure* of the show, he was able to explore his themes in really interesting ways. His next show (John from Cincinnati) was not so constrained and it was a big mess.

    In the same way, choosing from 700 videos or 700 colors is *much* more difficult than choosing from 10.

  4. I gave you the Proximity award on my blog today, passed on from MiniKat. It just needed to be done :^)

  5. Anonymous7:11 AM

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tie in the loose ends...