24 September 2007

Rainforest Jasper

I just purchased a pair of earrings. Not only are they pretty and inexpensive, but they feature a stone that is said to possess wondrous properties.

Rainforest Jasper (rhyolite) helps the reclusive by allowing others into her life, to listen without distorting the speaker's message, to balance emotions, and to free creativity.

If only! I do not, in fact, believe that stones possess anything but geologic history and beauty. They can take on meaning as personal touchstones, reminders of what you need, want, celebrate, and love, but they are, alas, quite inert.

Depression (like my own, bifurcated variety) is not inert. Depression plays many tricks, both overt and sly. Would that a bit of Rainforest Jasper had the power of pharmaceuticals, that I could wear more or less of it instead of submitting to chemical anodynes for my biochemical illness. I need so much that the stone could offer. I could be present to my family, friends, life without feeling toxic or inauthentic. I could accomplish --

Well. I know this begins to sound like "if I only had a brain." I do, in fact, have a brain, and I also have enough years of therapy packed into my life to have some semi-useful strategies - Rational-emotive techniques, for example, which a former therapist swore by (even as he drop-kicked me to the nearest M.D. shrink): redefine your beliefs, and control your emotional responses. (See below. I remain a skeptic because Ellis is a fanatic.)

All right, then. I believe in knitting. Last night, I continued to swatch lace patterns with my "Starry Night" yarn for a scarf. I tried at least 10 of Barbara Walker's designs - tilting blocks, various diamond patterns, spider lace - but they didn't do what I wanted, and they were way too fiddly. Finally, I decided on vine lace - simple to knit (and to tink), with enough movement to remind me of Van Gogh's roiling sky. I'll cast on tonight, and I will be soothed as the fabric grows. One Dali sock is almost finished, one hat for Caps for a Cure is almost finished, two Red Scarves are finished. These are small projects, good for me when my attention is shaky.

I have two new projects to begin, both challenges in their own way. I'll start the Clapotis when the yarn arrives, and I'll take comfort in the company and assistance of knitters at the knitalong site and Ravelry.

The other new project: mittens for the Anne of Green Gables knit/readalong. I've never made mittens, although I love them. Anna has signed on as my knitting guru. Although I aspire to making squirrel and acorn mittens like hers, and although my part-Latvian self longs to make these, I shall start with plain woolen mittens.

Rainforest Jasper also aids in regeneration. We'll see!

  • David Demchuck's article in Knitty is amazing.
  • I bought the earrings from Walnut Ridge Studio.
  • Albert Ellis: "When people keep challenging and questioning their self-disturbing core philosophies, after a while they tend to automatically, and even in advance, bring new, rational, self-helping attitudes to their life problems and thereby make themselves significantly less upsettable."


Anna said...

I believe in knitting too. The simple progress of one stitch after another - something working - is a great refuge.

That vine lace pattern is lovely.

Khadijha Caitlin said...

I can't wait to see Starry Night. I just bought myself a pair of earrings too. (We're so on the same level:)
mine are silver though and shaped like a leaf.

amy said...

I believe in knitting, too. For me, it is an outlet for all my anxiety, too. I am rarely still. Knitting helps still me. And I can't even describe how it helped while my mother was dying. It's not a cure-all, but I'd hate to think how I'd be without it.

Bridget said...

What would we do without knitting and (for me at least) tea?

I bought earrings today as well - at Ten Thousand Villages, which was on the way home from the dr's office. Tiny [real] acorns on a small, braided, dangling thread. I can't wait to wear them.

Every little thing helps, you know?

Jennifer said...

I know that knitting and spinning has saved me more times than I can count from my anxiety. There's something meditative and so present that really does help.

Donna Lee said...

Knitting has been a balm for me. I have uncomfortable anxiety attacks when I am sure there is not enough air and I will die (in an empty room, no less). The simple act of one stitch and one stitch and one stitch helps me ride the crowded train back and forth to work. Although, a little pharmaceutical help is not out of the question now and then.

KSD said...

Would that we could fashion knitting needles out of jasper.

Or valium.

Lots of us are hanging on by our fingernails just now. We'll each be OK, in our own time.

Paula said...

You just greatly helped me with this post today!

You need a Karma Fish too.

"...I must knit fish,..."

Dorothy said...

Rhyolite may not have the powers it puts forth, but the name, Rainforest Jasper sound pretty engough to imagine anything could be possible.

KnitNana said...

A touchstone is what your jasper will be! Ah, it's so hard sometimes, but then the world tilts and we're better able to deal, at least, that's my experience. Meds? Haven't had one in years I could tolerate. (sigh) Just went thru another one and gave up the battle. I'll knit, too.

My saving grace - along with all the friends I've made online as a result of sticks & string...

nonizamboni said...

Melanie--thanks for much for this post. Sigh: 'Would that a bit of Rainforest Jasper had the power of pharmaceuticals'. . .I know all too well. But my counselor once said that knitting is a great way to use the energy (in my case 'counting' that could run rampant right into OCD)and that 'projection' of anxiety that a)uses my hands and b) gives me something to show for it. Like you said, jasper can be a 'touchstone' reminder of where we've been and how far we've come.
Thanks for sharing with me.
Mary Ann

Carrie K said...

"Significantly less upsettable"? Is that a pychological diagnosis?

Oooh, I just cast on some Latvian mittens last night. A little late for the outdoor play, but I have GOT to have a pair.

Catherine said...

I've always wished I had learned to knit, when I was a girl around 8 or 9 my grandmother wanted to teach me to sit down ,be lady like,quite, and knit, but I was ever the tom boy!! So my therapy is digging ! Gardening actually!

The rainforest jasper is beautiful!
I enjoyed my first visit to your site!

pixie girl said...

I love knitting, but it holds no meditative or therapeutic qualities for me. It causes anxiety, but I love it and need it - odd, huh? But my real point is - you are neither toxic nor inauthentic to us.