Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Lifelines: Learning to Recognize Opportunities

Sometimes, it's a good thing to be strung along!

Lace knitters are familiar with lifelines, those bits of contrasting yarn we thread through our knitting to track patterns.  They mark a point in our knitting where we know our pattern and stitch count were correct, so that when mistakes happen, we can frog back to the lifeline, pick up the stitches and get knitting again.  You ignore a lifeline at your peril-refusing to use them may mean that an error in a project requires completely reknitting the project.  At the very least, it can mean you have some slow, laborious tinking (knitting back) to do.

There are lifelines in other events, too, although they may not be so obvious and may have a different purpose.  In times of crisis, when you're at a crossroad and unsure of the next step, lifelines are there to guide you, if you're ready to pay attention.

When I talk about lifelines, people often think that I'm going all "mystical moments" and "New Age-y," but lifelines are practical and usually come from very grounded sources. Friends and strangers  will reach out with opportunities for healing; you have only to accept their offerings. Lifelines differ from advice; people don't tell you what to do.  Rather, they will tell a story, perhaps without knowing that you are facing challenges, and you'll recognize yourself or your problem in the story.  They'll hand you a card to a place or an event which helped them or they'll speak of others who have successfully manoeuvred similar issues.  Sometimes, the lifeline is indirect, in the form of a poster you see on the street or an invitation on Facebook. 

I have to wait a while before I can take formal yoga teacher training, which left me wondering what to do in order to get a head start on the programme.  I'm taking several yoga classes, studying anatomy for hatha yoga, volunteer teaching on occasion, but I wasn't satisfied that I was on the right path.  Then the yoga studio posted an invitation to Colin's university class on yoga texts, teachers, and techniques.  There you have it-a lifeline.

I could have ignored the post.  I'd been away from school for decades.  The class is expensive; it involves a lot of reading, writing and learning to navigate formal education again.  Because it was offered outside of where I expected my training to occur, I could have missed the signal. Years of being open to signs and signals along my life path helped me to recognize an opportunity to grow and learn.  I grabbed the lifeline and away I went, into a class that's given me a philosophical grounding for my yoga practice and taught me just how little I actually know about yoga.

The wonderful thing about lifelines is that you don't have to do anything to find them.  You simply have to be open to possibilities in what is happening now.  We have to add lifelines to our knitting, but daily lifelines tend to be intuitive-you know them when you see them.  Once you learn to recognize them, they are everywhere.

The next time you think about ignoring a lifeline in that fancy lace shawl, think again.  Using a lifeline can't hurt and may save you from knitting calamity.  The next time an opportunity wanders across your path, wake up and pay attention.  It just might be the very thing you need to seize, the line that will guide you to the next step.


My shawl is finished: hand spun organic, natural coloured cotton in simple garter stitch with a lace edging.


  1. What a inspiring and useful post. Your shawl is simply beautiful.

    1. Thank you. The shawl will be perfect for an upcoming trip down south.
      Those lifelines really do come along when you need them.

  2. Such a wonderful perspective. I know exactly what you mean too, we can all benefit from being more receptive to opportunities no matter how small. Thank you for the wonderful reminder! Also, I cannot believe how beautiful that shawl turned out, congratulations, you have achieved something wonderful.

    1. Thank you. I'm slowing working through the hand spun stash.