Little Cabin Knits Episode 49: Compassion & Knits

Little Cabin Knits is a biweekly podcast all about knitting, mental health, advocacy, and life happenings here in the wilds of Alaska with a little bit of Hygge sprinkled throughout. I’m your host Emily. I am a knitter, crafter, mental health therapist, and explorer of my home state of Alaska

This week’s episode contains:

Admin

’raise a cuppa

On the Shelf

Personal Skill Set

Contemplations Corner


Admin:

  • Andersmillknits on IG and Ravelry

  • Between Knits and Purls on Youtube where you can view the recording of the wedding there! Make sure and press the “Live Chat Replay” on the upper right hand of your screen to see what everyone was saying!

  • You can find all the show notes on our website: https://andersmillknits.wixsite.com/website

  • If you have a question, comment, or would like to be a guest on Little Cabin Knits you can email me at littlecabinknitsAK@gmail.com

  • I’ve been thinking about making some swag for little cabin knits and between knits and purls. I was thinking of opening a t-shirt shop and maybe make some buttons here at home. Is that something ya’ll would be interested in? Please message me on IG to tell me your thoughts: Andersmillknits

  • We have a special event coming up: Knitty Pajama Party with Steph and I will be happening November 13th at 8:30 Eastern Standard Time, so set your calendars and bring popcorn and knitting! I’ve made a place holder for the live stream on Youtube, and I have made an announcement in the Ravelry Group of Between Knits and Purls, with the link to actually be on the show with us (as in you will be on camera)!!!

  • November is Wovember for all of us wool lovers!

During the month of November we celebrate everything we love about wool and the podcast “I Thought I Knew How” is hosting an event on her website but also a contest for those who participate in posting on IG daily using the hashtag #wovember and #ILoveWovember. Anne is partnering with a whole host of great woolist from around the world for this contest – to be entered to win you not only need to use the hashtag and follow the daily prompts, but also follow all of these wonderful creators. Please see her IG account @ithoughtiknewhow for all the details.

For me, I won’t really be entering in for the contest however, I thought it would be a wonderful way to ease into winter here in Alaska if I followed as many of the daily prompts as possible on my IG account which is @andersmillknits.




  • It’s official! We are having a knit along (KAL) in January that I am calling “Project Down Along” I had a great response from you all when I mentioned the idea last episode and not only that but a new friend to the podcast, one “knitterCat” on Ravelry has very generously started off the prize pool by gifting us 2 skeins from her stash!!!! Catt I can’t tell you how much your generosity means to me and all the participants of the PAL.

So, Come January 1st we will all be working on finishing all those languishing projects in the “project Down Along”

use the hashtag #projectdownalong2022 on IG and I’ll also open a FO thread in our Revelry group of Between Knits and Purls.

PAL (project Along) will run from January 1- March 31st

And if you know of anyone/maker or generous donor like Catt, who would like to contribute to the prize pool let me know!


Raise A Cuppa

Well, my knitty friends, Mr Radio and I are finally back in our house. Does this mean everything is honky dory then? Not by a long shot.


To begin with we spent the entire weekend cleaning out house because everything had at least a quarter inch of either dust, or literal mud caked to it. My front door, all my kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, and all my dishes which I had piled up in the living room were FILTHY!


I ran into a snag though when I tried to run the dishwasher. It just made very strange and creepy sounds. Mr. Radio called the workers and they said, “something went wrong but we aren’t allowed to fix it the muni has to we can’t touch it.” Well, I now know this was a bold faced lie because today I have had their construction crew traipsing in and out of my house all day fixing not only that but all the other plumbing that has not right.


For instance, after my shower this morning, the tub backed up again and flooded the hallway. When I attempted to run the washing machine water started leaking into the hallway. I heard strange gurgling sounds from our pipes throughout all this and even in the night when no water was running. We have been essentially without water, except they graciously allowed us to use our own toilet throughout the day as they worked on things, for the past 24 hours.


Have I mentioned just how unhappy I am with all this? The workers never communicate with us unless we track them down and corner them. And they repeatedly claim things are not their fault and I have to become a roaring lion to get them to fix things.


There was supposed to be one silver lining in all this though. We were told by the lead man that because of all the heartache they had caused that they would gladly install new countertops for us if we bought them. Mr Radio and I were so excited that last weekend we went out and bought our dream countertops: Butcher block in a beautiful chevron pattern. Boy they were expensive!


We brought them to the house, but then the next day the foreman called and said that his man lied and that if we wanted them to install the countertops, they would have to charge us an additional $600!!!! I was furious! However, I was teaching a class when they called, and Mr Radio dealt with them and so I was unable to vent my anger on the foreman. But I have been giving him dirty looks through my window all day since we have been home.


On a happier note, we really enjoyed our time up at the in-laws house, having all that space to spread out in, me having a home office that I didn’t have to share with Mr. Radio, and Watson loved exploring the back yard every day. In fact, it was often hard to get him to come inside, but we always had to keep an eye on him because he had a UTI, and we were seeing pretty big bear tracks through the yard each day. The last thing I wanted was for my dog to be eaten by a bear!


Honestly I would have preferred to stay up at the in-laws until the work was positively completely done, however, if we had done that then I wouldn’t have discovered all the plumbing problems and then where would we be???!!!





On the Shelf:

· Spring Thing

o If you joined us for the live Birthday Celebration on YouTube you will know that Stephanie (Farmsteadknits) and I cast this shawl on in honor of her birthday and our friendship.

o Yarn is by a very good friend, Lauren, of Granite State Yarn in the colorway “Treasured Friends’ with a mini skein of “Raspberry” for the edging and fringe.

o This colorway is very special to Steph and I as Lauren dyed up this colorway in homage to our Between Knits and Purls Logo. It is absolutely stunning! A speckly yarn with a background of greyish white and flecks of pink and gold throughout. I loved it in the skein, but I squeal when I see it knit up!

o The pattern, like I said is Spring Thing, which is a free pattern on Ravelry from the very talented team at Espace Tricot I couldn’t find any of their patterns on their website

o This pattern is so easy and yet so gratifying! I had it memorized withing ohhhh 8 rows.

o To be fair I’m not completely done with the shawl as I want to add in all the tassels however, I got so excited about my next finished object that I honestly completely forgot about all that until I was writing up my show notes! I must get on that lol.


· Socks for Mr. Radio

o Yarn: Two Sisters Yarn Co. Purchased at the Yarn Bar in Billings Montana on our honeymoon road trip. The colorway is Yarn Bar as it is dyed up in self stripping to match their logo.

o I used the Fish Lips Kiss Heel for his socks as I have that completely memorized, and I did increase by 4 stitches in prep for that heal. I think I would like to do a heel flap next time and keep the increases I did for the heel as his feet are pretty wide and, well, large.

o Mr. Radio has been wearing these socks around the house since they’ve been done and that’s made me one happy knitter wife.



· Tweed Boomerang by Lauren Parker

o Yarn: Mountain Colors in her Tweed base. Main colorway is Bridger Teal, and the variegated that came in the kit did not have a colorway tag attached but it appears to be the same DK Tweed base as the main colorway.

o I also bought this kit while at the Yarn Bar in Billings (let’s just say I had a GREAT time there lol).

o The pattern is $5.00 on Ravelry and while it is a simplistic boomerang shawl pattern (so far at least I haven’t gotten to the lace section yet) I still think this would be a great buy for a beginner knitter, or an experienced one wanting a larger shawl with a lot of squish while also being a mindless knit.



· Chevron Baby Blanket by Espace Tricot

o Yarn used in order of use in the blanket all of which are from the Brown Sheep Company and are pretty affordable yarns. I would put then just above Michaels or Joanne Fabrics quality of yarn.

§ Serendipity Tweed in the ST12 or Water Lily Leaves colorway (green)

§ Cotton Fleece in the CW-690 or Alpine Lilac colorway (lilac)

§ Cotton Fleece in the CW- Silver Berry colorway (purple)

§ Serendipity Tweed in the ST64 or Cherry Blossom colorway (pink)

§ Serendipity Tweed in the ST24 or Morning Glory colorway (blue)

o I did indeed cast this one within a day of my last episode and I am

o done! It is such as easy pattern, and I am surprised at how much I enjoy the colors blending together.



Personal Skill Set

Compassion. It’s a word we may bandy about however do we really know what it means? Do we know what it means when we say, “I have compassion for those poor people” or when Mrs. Bennet says in Pride and Prejudice “Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.”


People define compassion in different ways.


Some believe that showing caring, kindness, or a willingness to help others is compassion.

Others believe caring about another person’s happiness like it was your own is the definition of compassion.


Websters Dictionary defines it as:

Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.


Others define it as “to suffer together.”


Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.


Compassion is actually two words in Latin. Passion means “to suffer”, and com means “with”, so the literal translation of the word compassion means “to suffer with.”


Think for a minute about your friends. When they come to you with troubled minds and hearts, you sit with them, listen to their troubles and fears, and try to alleviate some of their suffering. In this way you are showing compassion to your friend. You are suffering with them in that moment.


Let’s take a moment to distinguish compassion from a few other words that are closely linked to it. Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.


The Buddhist Roshi Joan Halifax described compassion in her TED talk. “Compassion and the True Meaning of Empathy”


We can ask: What is compassion comprised of? And there are various facets. And there's referential and non-referential compassion. But first, compassion is comprised of that capacity to see clearly into the nature of suffering. It is that ability to really stand strong and to recognize also that I'm not separate from this suffering. But that is not enough, because compassion, which activates the motor cortex, means that we aspire, we actually aspire to transform suffering. And if we're so blessed, we engage in activities that transform suffering. But compassion has another component, and that component is really essential. That component is that we cannot be attached to outcome.”


What Roshi Halifax is stating here is that in essence when we feel compassion we are moved to transform, or relieve that suffering, but she also makes it clear that as the compassionate one we must separate ourselves from the outcome, or we will be the one in need of compassion. Why is that? Well, if you are attached to the need to relief your friends suffering, however, nothing you do or say makes a dent in that suffering, you will soon feel inadequate, or that something is wrong with you that you couldn’t solve this problem or heal their emotional wounds.


When you detach yourself from the outcome by saying, “I will give my all, but it is out of my control what the outcome is.” You are in a healthy state of compassion.


At times it is easier to define something by explaining what something is not. For me, the concept of compassion lies in that realm. So let us review for a moment what compassion is not.


WHAT COMPASSION IS NOT

Compassion is neither empathy nor sympathy but requires both. Empathy involves responding to another person's emotions with emotions that are similar. Sympathy entails feeling regret for another person's suffering. Compassion, on the other hand, is caring about another person's happiness as if it were your own. The challenge with this definition, however, is how easily it causes us to mistakenly infer that compassion therefore means:


Now onto my personal favorite component of Compassion, Self-Compassion. Honestly speaking compassion and self-compassion are the same, only one is pointed towards others and the other is pointed inwardly to the self.


Self-Compassion

Dr. Kristin Neff, a well-known researcher on the topic of self-compassion, described the beauty and struggle of self-compassion (all of the articles and quotes are linked on my blog post under references as well):


Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. “There but for fortune go I.”


Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now,” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?


Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?


You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.


Self-compassion is not denial, it is acknowledging our mistakes, challenges, failures, however, instead of addressing them with self-judgement, we do so with the kindness of constructive feedback for the future.


Dr. Neff has defined self-compassion as having three elements.

1. Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment.

2. Common humanity vs. Isolation.

3. Mindfulness vs. Over-identification.


Dr. Neff, also described What Self Compassion is not. I would highly recommend reading her full article linked in my blog post. I also highly recommend obtaining copies of her books:

1. Self-Compassion

2. Fierce Self-Compassion which I am currently reading and finding fascinating as she wrote it in response to the “me too” movement.


Dr. Neff Hour long talk about Self Compassion on Youtube:

https://youtu.be/rUMF5R7DoOA


Dr. Neff’s short version speaking on her 3 elements of self-compassion:

https://youtu.be/11U0h0DPu7k


There is so much to talk about in regards to compassion and self-compassion that I cannot do it justice here. Please continue this conversation with yourself by obtaining these books, or having an open dialogue with friends and family about the topic.



References

Halifax, J (2010) Compassion and the true meaning of empathy. [Video Post TED] Retrieved from Joan Halifax: Compassion and the true meaning of empathy | TED Talk

Neff, K (2013) the five myths of self-compassion [web log] retrieved from What Self-Compassion is Not: self-esteem, self-pity, indulgence

Neff, K (2013) the three elements of self-compassion [web log] retrieved from Definition and Three Elements of Self Compassion | Kristin Neff (self-compassion.org)




A time for Hygge

Mindfulness Self Compassion Break:

This exercise comes from Dr. Kristen Neff

Think of a situation in your life that is difficult, that is causing you stress. Call the situation to mind and see if you can actually feel the stress and emotional discomfort in your body.

Now, say to yourself:

1. This is a moment of suffering

That’s mindfulness. Other options include:

• This hurts.

• Ouch.

• This is stress.


2. Suffering in a part of life

That’s common humanity. Other options include:

• Other people feel this way.

• I’m not alone.

• We all struggle in our lives.


Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest.

Or adopt the soothing touch you discovered felt right for you.

Say to yourself:

3. May I be kind to myself

You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:

• May I give myself the compassion that I need

• May I accept myself as I am

• May I learn to accept myself as I am

• May I forgive myself.

• May I be strong.

• May I be patient


This practice can be used any time of day or night, and will help you remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion when you need it most


Contemplation Corner:

What is this self inside us, this silent observer,

Severe and speechless critic, who can terrorize us

And urge us on to futile activity

And in the end, judge us still more severely

For the errors into which his own reproaches drove us?

-T.S. Elliot, The Elder Statesman


“When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”

-Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are

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