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Safety and Surprises

I’ll start by saying that knitting is where I’ve always felt safe enough to readily embrace the unexpected.

I have come to realize the importance of safety in creativity, resourcefulness, passion, and love in all areas of my life. These are all forms of vulnerability at their core. This ties back to my last post about letting go and unravelling. When I’m not afraid of ‘wasting’ anything by trying, I’m free to try. I’ll get it wrong, learn, change, and grow from my last (mis)step.

When I'm not feeling safe, I’m usually hung up by fear. Fear demands a prescribed outcome. Or that a given outcome will be disastrous. More importantly, fear demands that I know and control the outcome in every situation; that I change the course of the inevitable because the inevitable is unacceptable. I’ve never had much success in controlling many things in my world. And yet, fear keeps my trying to control everything.

Safety allows me to embrace the unexpected, trusting that things are exactly as they should be and that I’ll always get what I need (not to be confused with what I want). Safety tells me that I will survive any situation and allows me to feel pleasantly surprised by the unexpected. When I feel safe, I’m able try without the notion that I need to have control over anything more than my part in any situation.

The perceptions of what is necessary, or which outcomes are completely unacceptable come both internally and externally. And I can also remind myself that internal expectation is shaped so much by my understanding of the world around me. This also ties back to my post about the limitations of expectations in patterns. It doesn't matter if my perceived lack of safety is a result of reality or a misconception. The result is the same internally. In effect, my emotional state is the same if I'm feeling unsafe while engaging in something inherently dangerous, or if I'm emotionally unsafe because of a lack of support or coping strategies.

So when I’m feeling stifled in life, I check for fear. Fear robs me of faith in future-me’s ability to cope through the unexpected. I doubt my ability to make the hard choices, assert my needs or us my talents. And believe that the universe will suddenly stop providing what I need, despite a lifetime of experience indicating that I usually have no idea what I need. Fear and safety don’t play well together. I reach for safety by identifying that I feel fear. Then I identify where the fear is coming from. And then I sit with it long enough to work through it. Fear thrives in the dark, in secret. When I feel fear, the solution is to get to safety. Lean in, pull my fear out into the open and practice reminding myself that I am safe. Bring fear and safety into the same room and one will leave.

One way to build safety in my life is to engage in pursuits where I feel completely safe. This helps me practice letting go of perceived fear. Marvel at the unexpected. So… I knit. When I’m afraid, I knit. When I’m feeling stuck with a problem, I knit. When I need to let go, I knit. When my heart is grieving, I knit. When I need to remember that my creativity is important, I knit. And then, I can feel safe enough to reach for safety in other areas of my life. Call a friend, look the problem in the eye, try the scary new thing. Knitting is the birthplace for much safety in my life. It brings me into a slow and quiet place long enough to remember that nothing is too much to bear. And that the world is full of beautiful surprises. Often found in the scariest places. Surprises aren’t opportunities when I’m fearful, disconnected, and inflexible. Safety allows surprises to blossom into opportunity.

Stay safe, friends! Amanda

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Aug 15, 2021

I love your posts because you're always writing with hope and thinking about positive outcomes.

Fear is, truly, the most toxic emotion, but by not allowing it to breathe into our heads we gift ourselves with the happiness we deserve.

Knitting frees us in so many ways. It is a true healing tonic.

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