I’m back home in New York from my 5-week, 7000-mile road trip across the USA (though only for a couple of days: this weekend — August 17-19, 2017 — I’ll be at World Quilt Festival in New Hampshire.) Journeys like this often become journeys of the soul as well. Sometimes we set out with a purpose in mind, other times the purpose becomes apparent to us during or after the trip. I’d like to share what came out of this journey for me in hopes that it will inspire you. And as I like to do, I’ll relate it to quilting.
One of the things I sometimes find intimidating about the actual quilting part of making a quilt is realizing that every part of the quilt has to be quilted. If I don’t know what to put in a space I can’t just skip it. I have to fill it with something.
On my trip, I realized that time is the same way. We can’t just skip time. Every moment of our lives has to be filled with something. And each of us has to decide how to fill that time.
I realized that in thinking about how to fill my life, I have often thought about what I don’t want. I haven’t always thought so clearly about what I do want. But I can’t think about what I don’t want and expect life to magically fill in something better, just as I can’t expect a quilt to magically decide how to quilt itself.
When check-out time was 11:00 a.m. and I had to pack up and go, I couldn’t think about what I didn’t want. I couldn’t just do nothing. I couldn’t just drive around in circles or park in a parking lot somewhere. I had to decide where to go and what to do. I had to imagine what would make that day beautiful or productive or enjoyable. And then I had to choose a destination, make a plan, start up the car and go.
So the message I got was this: As you live each day, just as you quilt, imagine how to fill the time and the space beautifully. Imagine each day as a work of art and then create it. Think about what you do want, and then make it happen. It may be hard at first, but it gets easier as your dreams become clearer and your faith in them grows.
And filling in the space on that quilt gets easier as you become more skilled, learn more patterns and get a wider vision of possibilities by observing what others have done.
On my trip I had a wonderful time teaching at the National Quilt Museum, visiting quilt shops to promote Free-Motion Mastery in a Month, seeing friends and making new ones, and visiting family. Along the way I also had opportunities to do some hiking, kayaking, camping, and backpacking and to explore some national parks. And I played the piano. It was fun to see people’s reactions when I told them I had a “grand piano” packed in the back of my van (a Yamaha P115 portable keyboard). It was wonderful to be able to play outdoors instead of shut in a practice room. One night I even gave a concert on a friend’s balcony overlooking the Rocky Mountains, a night I’ll never forget.
I wish for you your own beautiful journey through life and as always, happy quilting!