Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weaving for therapy

After years of weaving for income, for intellectual stimulation and physical activity, weaving has now become part of my therapy.

Exercise is a very important part of my life - always has been - but now I also need to exercise in order to keep my heart as healthy as can be. All the recommendations are for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. I'm used to doing 3 to 4 hours of aerobic exercise daily, but the medications I'm on prevent my heart rate from increasing, so I've had to radically change the way I weave.

Instead of weaving for 45 to 60 minutes and taking a break, I now weave for 4-5 minutes, stop to rest and let my heart catch up to my need for oxygen. It is contrary to all the stories I ever told about myself, and it has been hard to accept that I can no longer weave as I used to do.

On the other hand, I can still weave! Not only can I weave, but I now must weave every day - or do some other physical activity, and weaving is sooooo much more enjoyable than spending 30 minutes on a tread mill or exercise bike!!!!

After years of concentrating on issues of efficiency, I find that during those 5 or so minute blocks of weaving, I can actually get quite a bit done. And so I have come to the point of surrendering - of accepting what is - instead of wishing for what cannot be. I still spend about 30-40 minutes at the loom, 2 to 4 times a day, although my productivity is reduced. But that's okay - it's better than not being able to weave at all.

I've also had to learn patience - not something I've ever been very good at!

From time to time I've used a heart motif for various woven textiles. This January I worked on this motif once again, never dreaming how significant the symbol would be.
Using the above draft, I wove tea towels during the days after my brother died. They were therapy of a different sort, because I didn't yet know I also was having problems with genetic Coronary Artery Disease. After the angio, I gave two of the heart towels to my internist, as thanks for believing that I had a problem, and moving swiftly to get it fixed.
The towels were woven from 2/20 mercerized cotton for warp, and a singles 16 red linen for weft, at 36 epi/ppi.


Peg in South Carolina said...

How interesting! You must have some serious cardiac issues, for which I am sorry. I am so glad that you can (and indeed MUST!) continue weaving. Your life is obviously changing (as has mine as I have grown older) and you are adapting well. Congratulations!

Jane said...

Having broken my back several years ago, I had to learn an entirely new way of being in the world. Not so easy for someone who lived her life at 150 miles an hour.

I, too, learned to focus upon all the things I still *can* do rather on all the things that will never again be part of my life.

Enter -- s l o w living and s l o w weaving. Within the slow down, for me came a newfound appreciation of time and of the joy of doing something simply because I can. No more taking for granted something as simple as stepping on a treadle.

The Universe keeps everything in Divine Order, and you will likely find that your place in it has become enhanced rather than diminished.

Bless your heart. Literally.

Weave on, Laura!

neki desu said...

You've said so many inspiring things in your post! And i'm grateful that you have.
Thank you and as Tom B says keep those beaters moving...

neki desu