The power of ritual, or stitch by stitch


Ten minutes and I really mean it, two hours of reading ahead for a 10 am meeting I’m dreading, and I really don’t even want to get out of bed.

It’s the daily commitment that makes me do it, no big pie in the sky magic.

It’s the routine, a schedule I follow even if it extends at a snail’s pace throughout the entire day.

That is my Abracadabra.



Make the bed.


Write the list.

Paint four hours.

Ask, what is it for?

Be present.

Part of my daily routine is walking through the house and resetting the stage.

I work at home, painting on the dining room table.

As I begin, I walk through the house, clearing spaces.

I ask Marie Kondo’s question: does this spark joy?

And if not, it goes into the free box or trash.

The daily house walk-about is as much about tidying as it is about returning to the task, which is to create beauty.

Beauty on the canvas, beauty in the space.

I am returning to work now after two months traveling and other kinds of work and it feels like returning to a house I had boarded up and am now moving back into.

Like a sourdough starter put on ice for a long while. The yeast is alive, but dormant.

Every aspect of my intention is meant to create a culture that keeps the yeast alive.

Tom reminds me that “the bread is rising” was the secret password of the French Resistance during WWII, which makes me laugh.

Which makes me think of Madame Defarge and her knitting, stitch by stitch, row by row.

I’ve taken up the knitting again, a lateral work of color and intention that builds very slowly as I am working on very small needles right now, a practice in patience.

They say patience is its own reward, which took me into my fifties to understand.

Ah! I see.

Patience IS its own reward.

Knitting as we are flying or on a train or most recently driving three hours home from San Francisco, I drop a stitch and ten miles go by as I carefully pick it up again.

It has fallen down six rows, and carefully carefully …

the phone rings, the timer goes off, the day begins.

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