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I haven’t actually seen the movie Pay It Forward, in which a young boy comes up with a plan for direct action and encourages people to do 3 good things for other people, creating a “charity pyramid scheme,” but I’m intrigued by the concept. So when I saw that Eco Yogini was inviting readers to participate in a blog version of the pay it forward philosophy, of course I wanted to get involved. I love memes and virtual connectivity, and I love crafts and mail!

Here’s the lowdown:

  • I will make a handmade gift for the first three people who comment on this post.
  • I technically have 365 days to do this
  • What it will be and when it will arrive will be a total surprise

The catch for gift-receivers:

  • You must have a blog to participate
  • Before or after you comment here, you must do a write up of the pay it forward on your space and keep the “Good Karma” flowin’

You should know:

  • I love crafting! You will receive something unique and marvelous and most likely knitted!
  • I’m also a total procrastinator and leave everything til the last minute, so you might not receive it until November 2010

So if you want in, comment below! Be sure to include your email in the form (this will be private; only I, as the administrator, will have access to it) and I will follow up with a message.

These kinds of reciprocal actions are small, but I think they’re very powerful. Taking the time to make something and then mail it to somebody is a direct and active way to participate in the slow movement and craftivism. It’s also a way of engaging with “gift economy,” a grassroots alternative (based on social theories of traditional societies) to the dominant market economy where “valuable goods and services are regularly given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards” (hmmm… sounds a lot like karma yoga, n’est-ce pas?).

And just in case you need more inspiration, check out this TED Talk with Carl Honoré, journalist and author of In Praise of Slow.

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Okay, it’s Friday evening and I’ve got 3 social engagements to hit tonight, as well as laundry to fold, kitty litter to change, books to read… and my mind is racing with my weekend to-do list (prepare for interview, clean bathroom, read Bhagavad Gita, plan yoga class, buy groceries, go to goodbye party, decide between roller derby or slow dance party for Saturday evening entertainment) and even though none of it’s terribly important there’s this sense of urgency that I must do. it. all.

Or maybe not. Maybe I should just do… nothing. Which is what local yoga teacher Becky Todor is suggesting with her fun initiative, The Do Nothing Challenge. It’s simple: for the next month, between Nov 20 and Dec 20, Becky suggests that we schedule 20 minutes of nothing into our days. While I generally consider myself pretty lazy, I’m also really bad at doing nothing. So I had to ask Becky how do it.

What inspired you to initiate The Do Nothing Challenge?

Becky: After a busy fall, I decided to commit to doing a 20-minute savasana daily for 30 days. I wanted to share the idea with others because I find this is a time of year when we need to relax. Also, sometimes we just need someone to say it’s alright to do nothing!

What do you think it is about this time of year that causes people to overbook themselves/get too stressed out/do too much?

Becky: There’s a lot of momentum that happens in the fall. Even when you’re not in school, there’s that back-to-school feeling. New commitments are accepted – and then suddenly the holidays are here. Your calendar is stuffed with work commitments and parties. It’s all exciting and engaging, but at the same time nature is telling us to turn inward and prepare for winter hibernation. It’s easy to get carried away, but it’s a time of year when slowing down is the most nourishing.

What kind of “nothing” do you like to do? (It’s in quotations because it’s impossible to completely do nothing ~ we’re always breathing, thinking, digesting, etc.)

Becky: Restorative yoga – cozy blanket is a necessity. Riding the metro – instead of thinking about where I’m going, or things I have to do, I just enjoy the fact that I can’t “do” anything on the metro. Also, doing nothing while waiting in line at the grocery store; finding the patience to enjoy the wait. Staying in bed after waking up and savouring the warmth. Flopping over the edge of the couch. Drinking tea when my inbox is full – or a stack of dishes is waiting in the sink!

Whoa, that’s a lot of ways to do nothing! I did manage to do nothing on my metro ride this morning, and I stayed in bed after waking up (though that’s a long-standing habit of pure laziness, so I’m not sure if it counts ~ however, it is going to be my chosen practice for the next 30 days). I’m going to have to figure out how to set a goal for nothing into my day. As Becky reminds us, “Meeting your relaxation goal should not be stressful.” Indeed!

Now, I’m going to finish up my soba noodles and get dressed up for my night out on the town. I’ll do more nothing tomorrow, I promise!

Check out The Do Nothing Challenge Facebook event.

Well, after a week of sitting in my apartment with my computer writing, reading and thinking about community, I was more than happy to step outside and actually interact with my realworld community. And there’s no better place to do this than Montréal’s annual small press, comic and zine fair, Expozine. Every November, artists, writers, zinesters and eccentrics from Montréal and beyond gather to celebrate the creative and independent spirit. This time, for the 8th year in a row, over 300 exhibitors set up tables in the basement of the Église Saint-Enfant Jésus (that’s right – the Church of the Baby Jesus), and thousands more came to soak it all up.

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The view from the front entrance ~ somewhere in there are tables of art & literature!

Many of my favourite Montréal creators, zinemakers and publishers were there, including Conundrum Press, Matrix Magazine, Snare Books, Sherwin Tjia, Billy Mavreas/Monastiraki, Aimée van Drimmelen, Lickety Split, Todd Stewart and Drawn & Quarterly. While it was lovely to see all these familiar peeps, I also made some great new discoveries. And so I present my oddest and most yogic finds from Expozine 2009! Read the rest of this entry »

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Detail from a baby blanket (aka, the "gayby blanket") I knitted last spring.

A few weeks ago, I discovered the “Yoga for Crafters” series on the Crafting a Green World blog. Well, recently they posted their special Knit and Crochet Edition.

It’s a pretty good routine focused on wrists, fingers, necks and chests. Though I’ve got to send out a warning to all you yarn lovers out there: the second pose on this routine is Tolasana, a challenging arm balance. Before you go into it, be sure to warm up your hips and upper body ~ otherwise, you’ll get frustrated. And if you’re feeling any major crafting strain in your wrists and forearms, don’t do this pose because you’ll just aggravate things.

I find that after a long knitting session, nothing feels better than a few minutes in Downward Dog (which is basically a magic pose). Do any other knitter/crafters out there have any poses to recommend? What works out your crafting aches, pains and kinks?

Yoga stickers from Japan ~ maybe not crafty, but adorable & for sale on Etsy.

Yoga stickers from Japan ~ maybe not crafty, but adorable & for sale on Etsy.

How many of you crafters out there get all scrunched up and out of alignment because of the hours you spend hunched over a sewing machine or holding awkward needles? Oh, how we suffer for our craft! I’m well aware of this from the sore neck, shoulders and wrists I end up with from knitting. So I’m excited that this blogger on Crafting a Green World has started a “Yoga for Crafters” series. Today was the Seamstress Edition. I can’t wait for the Knitters Edition! I also can’t wait for knitting season to be upon us (though I’m sad that summer is almost over) and for the resurrection of Knittervention, my beloved knitting group.

Also, while navigating the internets in search of more yoga/crafting stuff I discovered a great blog: Yoga for Crafters (based in Austin, TX, of course). Yay!

Yoga for Crafters: The Seamstress Edition
Yoga for Crafters: The Jeweller’s Edition

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