Monday, November 23, 2009

Pushing Past Limiting Fears

I spent this weekend with my quilting friends in Vermont pushing back at "my gremlins," as master quilter Susan Damone Balch put it! As luck would have it, waiting in my in-box for posting on Craft to Heal was the wonderful essay below from fiber artist Brecia Kralovic-Logan. It seems that no matter what the creative endeavor, we all struggle with our fears, our limiting beliefs, our self-sabotaging thoughts.

Creative Knitting Pushing Past Limiting Fears
Nine knitters gathered at Anacapa Fine Yarns in Ventura to take my Creative Knitting workshop. As they introduced themselves they shared their excitement at being in a class that supported “out of the box” thinking. Some felt a little nervous, anticipating leaving their comfort zone, but hopeful that they too would be able to knit an original garment with the organic look of the sample that had enticed them.

The whole morning was spent doing exercises to explore their passions, to awaken their intuitive wisdom and to connect them with their natural authentic knowing. By lunch they were ready to think about knitting in a way that they had never done before.

Those knitters did in fact spend the rest of the day exploring and discovering ways to create original knits. But I’d like to tell you about another knitter, who did not take the workshop. She slowly slipped into the classroom at midday and shyly shared that she had absolutely fallen in love with the sweater that I had on display in the store as a sample for the class.

“I didn’t take the class because it seemed too scary,” she said. “I would like to know how to knit like that but I didn’t think I could do it.”

As she moved about the room, the class participants each assured her that she would be able to work in this new way. They shared their own fears with her and told her how liberated they felt by tapping into their inner creative spirit. They suggested that she come to the next workshop and as she left her body language seemed to convey that she had let go of her conviction that this was impossible. Hopefully, she realized that she was not alone in feeling afraid of stretching past her comfort zone.

Having the opportunity to share their thoughts with the visitor, the class seemed to exude new confidence. In their comments at the end of the day they shared that the class loosened them up, liberated them, gave them confidence, and expanded their horizons. Each one of them had taken a risk and entered into unknown territory. Although they already had the knitting skills they needed, feeling supported to work in a way that helped them to develop a creative frame of mind was a powerful experience.

Yes, being creative does involve risk. Taking a class to learn something new can be intimidating. However, pushing past the thoughts and beliefs that keep us in our comfort zone can be exhilarating. Taking the skills we have and using them in new ways is one way to express our unique individual spirit.
I just love this quote from Tom Robbins:

“Our individuality is all, all that we have. There are those who would barter
it for security, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures and rides it, in grace and love and wit.”

Brecia Kralovic-Logan is a fiber artist in Santa Barbara, CA where she teaches workshops, writes and offers Creativity Coaching. Visit her web site at


Susan Damone Balch said...

Thanks for this post. Thought I would just share this relevant quote from Erich Fromm: Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

Sheryl Kraft said...

Yes, moving outside your comfort zone is oh-so-scary, more so for some than others. But if we can get there, it's so nice to coast toward the finish line, whatever the outcome.

jenhaupt said...

This sweater is so beautiful, a work of art.

marthaandme said...

I love the photo of the sweater! I think it is wonderful that your classes focus on true creativity. I once signed up for a painting class and was excited at the thought of tapping into my own creativity. I was disappointed when the class focused only on copying another painting or photo. That wasn't my idea of creativity at all.

ruth pennebaker said...

What an incredible post this is. I love the picture of these women gathered together, creating and supporting one another.

Jennifer Margulis said...

It's so interesting to me that a creative activity can bring so much fear. I started to realize, just from being conscious of my breathing, how much anxiety *I* carry in my day to day life. Pushing past fear is so important for all of us.

Alexandra Grabbe said...

This class sounds so worthwhile! Wish someone was organizing one like it in my area.

Frugal Kiwi said...

I love asymmetrical clothing. And asymmetrical thinking!

Meredith Resnick - The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

That is a wonderful fits the process you are describing. I'd never heard it before and really like it. And the sweater is gorgeous.

Susan Johnston said...

My knitting has an organic, wildly creative look to it, but that's because I'm not very experienced yet and my rows are uneven, not because I'm uber-creative. :) In all seriousness, though, I can see how this willingness to experiment and let creativity flow would apply to other aspects of my life, namely my writing.

Stephanie - said...

I'm reading a great book called "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway." It's been so helpful to me!

Nancy Monson said...


Art and Fear is another great book. It's a short book, but I refer to it ALL the time when I'm feeling creatively, shall we say, challenged? Thanks all for posting!