My family and I are preparing for a big move—after 15 years of New York City living, we’re headed for Providence, Rhode Island in (gulp) 10 short days.
Which explains why most nights, after the kids are sleeping, find me rummaging through our drawers, sorting stuff in to move, sell, or give away piles. But there’s one particular pile I want to talk about today: stuff that needs fixing.
So far the pile has included one of my daughter’s favorite shirts—it has a picture of a girl wearing earmuffs, except the earmuffs are pom-poms. (Or, were pom-poms, until my daughter’s high-energy best friend yanked them off.) A pair of shorts with no button. A skirt with a ripped hem. A brand new tank top with mysterious holes. A baby pajama top with a tear in the sleeve.
At first, the pile taunted me. I couldn’t just make a decision about the items in it and move on. They needed attention. And tools. And time spent sitting still under a bright light. When were all those conditions going to be met?
Then one night I decided to dive in and dragged out my little bag of sewing stuff. It felt so good—so gosh darn wholesome—to transform these broken things into something useful. It’s like we all got some new clothes without spending a penny. I also got a real charge out of restoring things to their proper function. I’m helping items fulfill their destiny! How cool is that?
Granted, sitting on the couch with a needle and thread isn’t necessarily sexy. It’s not something you’re going to put on your calendar and get giddy about. But taking time to mend broken things has taught me that slowing down, focusing, and working with my hands all add up to something much greater: Complete and utter satisfaction. (Even if my handiwork is what you might lovingly call “organic.”)
What needs fixing in your life?
What’s languishing in a pile, shelf, or drawer in your house that you could mend easily if you simply took the time? I dare you to fix it! Leave a comment telling us what you’re going to bring back to life. I’ll choose someone at random to win a copy of my friend Judi Ketteler’s awesome book Sew Retro: A Stylish History of the Sewing Revolution. (Winner must live in the U.S.)
A couple of things I’ve been loving lately
(P.S. — nobody’s paying me to endorse these items – I’ve just been finding them incredibly useful and think you might too)
Elaine Petrone’s The Miracle Ball Method for Pregnancy
This tiny little book, that comes packaged with two grapefruit-sized purple balls, is one of the few places you’ll hear the message that there is immense power in doing less–which is a lesson most Moms really need. Elaine’s clear instructions, simple wisdom, and purple balls helped me finally (after 13 months) banish the hip pain and marshmallow abs that developed after having two babies in two years. It also helped me truly, madly, and deeply relax, which benefited everyone in my family. Thank you Elaine!
Rick Hanson’s Just One Thing email newsletter
Dr. Hanson is a neuropsychologist—meaning he studies the way our brain mechanics impact our emotional lives. And his weekly-ish newletter provides insights in to how simple mindfulness-based practices can have a big impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing. They are always inspiring. I read every single one of them and find myself thinking about them in the days after. You can check him out and sign up here.
Take care and keep breathing,