Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What now?

I guess it was inevitable.  That change would come.
Maybe it's because I have had this headache for 10 months.  I have to tell you, constant pain changes your perception of a lot of things.  I never knew.

I have tried so many doctors, and so many things.  I have been tested, and poked, and examined.  I have MRIs, CT scans, Xrays, lab results.
I also still have this headache that apparently is determined to drive me crazy.

It has been slamming for three days, which is why you aren't getting any pictures.

I came home today at noon today, and cried all the way home.  No prayer, no argument, no promise will make it go away.
I admit it, I am near the end of my rope.

But for the last couple of months, something has been nibbling at the edges of my consciousness.  Random thoughts at first, then more persistent trains of thought.
Discontent.  Weariness.  The need to move on.
Like an old friend, one you haven't seen in a while, but one whose silhouette you would recognize anywhere.

When I first bought the old house that was the studio, 7 years ago, I had been weaving out of my home, with all my stuff crammed into a room about 12 x 18.   This 200 year old gem was the perfect place for me to spread out, and settle in to my weaving.  My intent was to have a place where there was no TV, no distraction, a place where I could explore my passion, express myself through it, and find peace and joy and serenity in my retirement.  It was actually meant to be in direct contrast to the 30 years of nursing, in a local emergency room, and 20 years in a maximum security prison.
In the beginning it was all that.  It was everything I wanted.
But my gene pool ran riot, and my workaholic nature took off.
Thanks, Dad.
And now, I have a full time business that takes two of us to stay on top of most days.  Sock monkeys, looper looms, kits, loopers, and sock rugs pumped out in production style.  Custom orders, students, weaving weekends, keeping up with inventory; stocking the shelves with placemats, blue jean rugs, lodge rugs, fabric rugs, scarves, dish towels, shawls, mug mats, table runners, Sweet Bottoms, and on and on and on. Shipping and accounting and marketing and advertising, web site maintenance, photo shoots, and what............???  no weaving???

And you know what?
It isn't what I wanted, not at all.

Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.
Martha BeckO Magazine, 

And now, this headache has brought me to my knees, and maybe that's where I need to be to figure this out.

The other day, I was rocking on the porch, because I couldn't apply myself to anything, being so distracted by the knife between my eyes.  And I asked myself:  what would you be doing right now, if you could be doing anything at all???

The answer was easy.

I would be in Maine......I would be spending most of the summer in Maine.  In a camper, in a rental, in a second home. Anywhere.  But I would be in Maine.
I would have a loom to play on, and I would read, and walk, and sit by the ocean.  I would kayak, and eat seafood, and say 'ayuh' a lot.
I would be in Maine.  Because it's been a dream of mine for 30 years, or more.
I would NOT be running a business that totally consumes my life.

I remember saying, a few years ago, that I couldn't wait until my 'business' got to the place where I could just weave whatever the BLANK I wanted to weave, put it on my web site, and if someone bought it, FANTASTIC, if not, not a problem.
No custom orders, no classes, no requirements.

But recently, I realized, what is stopping me from doing that right now???
And again, the answer is clear.  Nothing is stopping me, nothing at all.

So right now, I am debating all of this.
There are so many options.
I could sell the whole thing, lock, stock, and barrel.  Put Crazy as a Loom on the market.

I could downsize, sell most of the looms, and fabric stash, and keep my favorites.

I could just walk away for a while, and let L run it until I figure it out.

I could CUT out custom orders, weaving weekends, and whatever else I wanted to cut.

I can STOP being a production weaver.  No more PRODUCTION rugs.  Just one of a kind, just rugs I love.

So that, dear friends, is where I am today.......and I must tell you, I don't think this is a passing fancy.
It feels very real, very necessary.
I keep asking myself one really BIG question.

"If you don't do what you want to do, and live how you want to live, when you are SIXTY FIVE years old, just WHEN THE HELL are you going to do it?"


MarthaVA said...

Hilary, this isn't the first time you've brought this up.
I agree, you need to do whatever makes you happy, and do it NOW - as someone that had a heart attack and actually died back in 2007 (they brought me back thank God), I can tell you. Life is too freaking short to not do what you love and what makes you happy.
I do think, however, that maybe you should do this one step at a time. You know the question, how do you eat an elephant? Answer, one bite at a time. Yes, do something to make your life easier and change it. Downsize, stop taking orders, stop inventing new things. Take 6 months, and do whatever you want. Get whatever orders are in the que, and get them done. Don't take new ones. You don't NEED that!
Talk to L. See what she thinks she'd like to take part in. Take it into consideration. Maybe she can just be there and do whatever makes her happy, you can do whatever makes you happy, and you can go to Maine for 6 months out of the year. Or maybe she's tired too!
Of course, your mother and your hubby are there.....what will you do with them?
If you went permanently, you might miss your grands. But they can always come visit.
Make changes, but give it a little time (not too much - time is not something to take lightly!).
If you give some of it up and it feels freeing, it makes you feel lighter, and less pressure and less stress, then keep going my friend!
Just don't give up blogging because it's the one I read with the most interest! :-) Ok, that was selfish.
I love Maine too - my whole family was born there, and I miss going. We have horses and no one to watch them (unless I leave hubby behind but he doesn't like that!) and I would go in a heartbeat if I had the chance. Buy an RV or a trailer you can haul, rent a cottage, or buy a home. Do SOMETHING to change where you're at.


thecrazysheeplady said...'d still weave and blog in Maine right? If so, then do it. It's really all about us ;-).

Seriously though...MarthVA has covered it.

You never know, it might make your headache go away. Maybe the physical pain is related to an internal mental/emotional issue. Since they can't figure anything else out...

Country Girl said...

I'm e-mailing you.

sandy said...

You deserve to be in Maine weaving to your hearts content....NOW!

Deb said...

Do what you love, Hilary and push everything else aside. If you want to see 95 you have to surround yourself NOW with only the people and things that make you happy. That's what 'growing older/getting wiser' is all about. Take your time but do it.

Mrs. Turkey said...

Hilary.....Maine has some good quiet resting spots. Sit on the shore and let your mind wander....restful, peaceful surroundings. Anything from extreme to the back of beyond spots....moose, loons, ocean.

Celia in Maine

Mrs. Turkey said...

Hilary.....Maine has some good quiet resting spots. Sit on the shore and let your mind wander....restful, peaceful surroundings. Anything from extreme to the back of beyond spots....moose, loons, ocean.

Celia in Maine

Jaimie said...

STop the custom orders....and maybe the production...take the summers off! or at least at weeks of it...slow down....but definitely only weave what you want! I think your headache is telling you something loud and clear...listen to it and it may go away?! At least I hope it does for you....

Friko said...

thank you, thank you, thank, thank you. And more of the same, Ad infinitum.

Because you wrote this post today, I suddenly realised, that I don't want to go on doing what I'm doing and as I am even older than you, when the xxxx am I going to start pleasing myself and do the things I have dreamt of doing for some time now?

All it needs is courage, right? Do you have it? Do I have it?

What's stopping you? What's stopping me?

I hope you'll be saying: watch this space!

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine the constant head ache pain you have to live with, I get migraines so I know pain, but don't have to live with that pain daily. I also know what desire is like. I'm in my mid-fifties (single) and have always dreamed of moving back to Cape Cod where I grew up. I have always had a vision of my retirement years living in a small cottage in Truro painting all the rest of my days. That's all I wanted. I tried twice to move back but could not work it out financially. Now I feel as though I have reached a point in my life that a move back east would be a financial mistake, it's too expensive. So I make my peace with living in the mid-west. I have Lake Superior near by but it's not the same as the ocean. Don't get me wrong I have a wonderful life but I miss the east coast. It's where my soul loves. I know my situation is not the same as yours but in a way it is, it's about what we desire, what feels true, and how we see our life being lived. I've followed your blog for a while now and have only commented a few times. I love the weaving you do and your cat posts are the best, especially the most recent one about Enough and Next. You have lots to think about but it sounds like you have a whole crew of folks supporting you. I wish you the best in your decisions and will continue to come read your blog.


Hilary said...

If you can do it.. do it. I suspect there are barriers.. and I strongly suspect you can work those out. In fact, I'm pretty certain that you will.

Hilary said...

If you can do it.. do it. I suspect there are barriers.. and I strongly suspect you can work those out. In fact, I'm pretty certain that you will.

messymimi said...

Answer the call of your heart.

lcampana said...


I will miss you terribly if you go away completely. It's selfish of me but I hope you would continue to blog. Yours is the one blog I read everyday.

You have to do what is best for you. I'm afraid you have let the studio and all your wonderful ideas consume you. (I tend to be that way too.) What was the reason you started weaving in the first place? If you are like me it was because it was relaxing. Now it has become too much of a job. Martha has said it best of all. You need to scale back, downsize, eliminate custom orders. Weave what pleases you and not because you have to meet a deadline. If the doctors haven't found the source of your headache then it is very likely stress related. Start to de-stress. Go to Maine for a while. Get some rest and a plan and the right answer will come to you.

Hugs and best wishes,

Cindie said...

Do what you love Hilary....Do what fulfills you.....let the rest go...

Teri said...

I tried to think of ways to make my business smaller and it wasn't possible without losing money. Since it was taxes and accounting, I didn't trust anyone else to run the business while I took off, so I sold the business. Best thing I have ever done. I loved what I was doing - but the business grew too fast. I think if you can let L run it for you while you decide and heal it may your best choice. Go spend some time in Maine.

Die Fadenwirkerin said...

Dear Hilary,

do what your heart tells you to do. Slow down and enjoy life.
Go to Maine.


Anonymous said...

es ist berührend ,wie du schreibst..sorry my english is not good enough for a comment , so plase translate..

mache was du willst, warum gehst du nicht auf eine reise zu dir selbst, mit kanu...und wenig gepäck, wenn du zurückkommst,weißt du was du willst...und dann handle. gruß wiebke

jennie said...

if you downsize your buisness you could rent out rooms in your weavinghouse and include working on the house and moving the lawn in the rent. Like a little collective of studios!

One should always listen to your inner self, and go the way it speaks to you! Stress and bad sleep is not a good combo, even if you don´t think you have i t could be there.

Why not let L try running it for a while when you are doing your thinking!

The best of luck deciding!

Hope you never stop weave and blog!

xx Jennie

ain't for city gals said...

You are on the right track, I think. My favorite quote is from the great bullrider Ty Murray "You are never completely ready...sometimes it is just your turn"!..and like you say...if not now...when?

Valerie said...

I've sort of been wondering why you were always adding things.
Here are my suggestion:
1. Don't add anything new unless something else is dropped.
2. Turn over the monkey business to Amanda. (tee that "monkey business")
3. Place a hold on any new custom orders. (I've been weaving since 1980 and wouldn't ever consider a custom order from scratch....then again, I'm allergic to "people pleasing" behavior.)

4. Take a deep breath and remember, One Day At A Time.

All the best to you.

Daryl said...

I say follow your heart .. you've followed your head for all these years, now give your heart what it wants ...

Anonymous said...

HIlary, I read your post last night and thought I would sleep on my thoughts before responding. Here they are for better or worse.

Stop procrastinating and close up the shop, stop blogging, stop trying to be everything to everyone. Stress is eating you up and if you continue as you are I am terribly afraid you won't be here for much longer.

If Maine is your dream, do it now not tomorrow or someday - do it NOW. Your grandchildren can come and visit anytime, your children can visit anytime, you can visit your Mother a few times a year - she does not need to come and live with you.

Offer the business to L if she is not interested, sell the darn thing. It is only a business, you have satisfied that part of your personality.

Keep one loom, keep the cats, sell everything that is not nailed down, down size and move to Maine. You and the hubs will be happy, healthy and live a lot longer if you get rid of the stress now.

Hilary I wish you peace and hope you find it soon.

KarenInTheWoods said...

From someone who stood on the precipice this month and "took the leap" into a new change of life, I hear you!

Everyone clammored "HOW COULD YOU SELL OFF YOUR LOOMS?" But I did. kept only 1 table loom and 1 floor loom. For fun.

They clammored "WHAT ABOUT YOUR GREAT LOOM ROOM STUDIO?" But I did. And I didn't cry when I left it for the last time either.

They clammored: "WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRETTY LOG HOUSE IN THE WOODS?" But I was relieved to be out from under mortgage, taxes, insurance, heat and light bills that we threatening to pull us under.

And now I feel such a sense of calm and serenity, living my life with my hubby in our motorhome, wherever it might take us. My life may be short or long. Goodness knows I have had enough health challenges to make it clear that life CAN be TOO SHORT....

and now I feel better.

I hope you do too.

Karen and Steve
(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

bspinner said...

You go girl! What ever makes you happy. I would love to be living in Maine. My husband and I have often talked about. In the woods for him to hunt me near the water to watch the waves come in. We still have his mom and he's an only child so probably won't happen to soon.

If you do make the move please do not stop blogging. I enjoy reading yours so much.

The Village Queen said...

I found your blog through Deb's Just Cats and it was so interesting that I went back to the beginning and read the whole thing. Youre an amazingly strong woman and you do so much it makes me tired just to read about it.
I have a few thoughts after reading todays post, from a perspective that doesnt really know you, just the sense of you from your writing.
The whole work thing... we are who we are to an extent, but there is no rule that says we cant change. Just because your father was a work-aholic doesnt mean you have to continue to be. Your life is your choice. And thats a huge thing you have that 90% of us dont. You have a choice. You dont have to do the weaving business to put a roof over your head, money equals freedom of choice and you dont know how lucky you are. It may not feel like it but you can walk away from the studio and not end up on the street. Im sure there are many options and opinions of what you can or should do but you have to do what works for you.
One thought I have is you havent mentioned if you have a therapist, the good old fashioned someone trained to talk to. A person who you can really tell your truth to about all the things from your past that may still be influencing you. After reading the whole blog I see patterns of things that you do that bother you but you dont seem to be able to change them even though you say you want to. Sometimes a outside person can really help. And you need support for dealing with your mom, dont discount how distressing and painful that situation is on ones mental state. When the doctors cant find anything causing such pain, you have to look deeper in other areas.
And as the teachings of many camps say, dont make big leaps when you are in pain and under stress. Step away for a break and reasses. The summer is winding down and I bet there are lots of vacation rentals that will come available mid Aug. Take a month, go sit by the shore, find care givers for your mother, thats such a huge stress there being pulled between the love, obligation, anoyances and burdons. I feel for you there as Im not quite in a simular situation but probably will be soon. Dont do anything (like sell the studio house) you may regret by acting hastily. But the business is a two sided edge, so many with no work or interest in their business would kill to be in your position, and the stress a growing business puts on you.
Remember everyone can be replaced. If you want the business to be there to support you finanially in the future, find people to run it and do the work. Take the profits and weave in Maine. Youll never get back $ wise what you put into it all if you try to sell it now. The economy is not doing any big turn around soon. And you love that house, just a few pages back you were talking about fixing up another part of it and the basement...
Oh I do wish I had good answers for you and could fix your poor head. Its been hard just to read about it and hope the next post would have some medical reason that can be addressed and for so long none. I think you are on the right track with it being more emotional. Some things in our lives take a long time to manifest and show up when we acutally have the time to deal with them. So maybe nows the time.
I hope I dont sound like a jerk, Ive been thinking about you for a while, sure there are parts of your life I would love to have, others not so much! But you know you are blessed in many ways and challenged in others and I hope you find the answers for yourself in a way that works for you and all your family too. But as others have said, life is short and its ok to put yourself first. Take care of you, I wish you the best and sure wish I could go hang in Maine, Ill be with you in spirit. Hopeing you find what you need, Kate

Loomatic said...

I am torn...I hate to know you are so stressed, but I love reading about your weaving, cats, daytrips and grandkids.

I ran a business for many years and for many years it ran me. I had to take stock of what I could do and what was driving me crazy and taking up too much time. Some things had to go and I adopted the philosophy "when something new came along, something old had to go" to keep a balance.

You could mentor someone like "L" to run your business and set some reasonable work/life balance time.

I did what you wish and moved to a small rural town by the sea and loved it for about 6 months of the year...the 3 in late winter early spring when everything was greening up and the weather was nice...but when the tourists came it was a whole different place. Fall was lovely and the weather and pace of life was perfect. ..until winter when everyone left for warmer climates and it became a dead quiet town.

The move was stressful, packing & purging my things, only to have to unpack them again. Moving to change your life and eliminate stress sounds like fun and a bit scary. I would speak to a counselor as others have suggested and know your real motivation. Escape to paradise doesn't mean escape your follows you and it is best to know your reasons before drastic decisions are made.

I wish we could give you the perfect answer :-)

amyfibre said...

What they all said. Follow your heart...and I hope you continue to take us along on your journey. I came to your blog because of the fiber; I stay because of you. Your approach to life is inspiring, even when you're fighting the horrific headache. And I hope that thecrazysheeplady is right and changes bring pain relief as well. Sometimes physical pain is the only way our body knows to get our attention.

MimiG said...

My first thought after reading your latest blog entry was "Amen". I think your headache is trying to tell you something, "do ya think?" I have been reading your blog faithfully for quite awhile and your thoughts often eerily parallel my own. I don't have a business enterprise like you do, but a few weeks ago it suddenly hit me like a sledgehammer, that if I don't do what I want now, at age 60, when will I? My whole life has been spent in service to others and my dream of returning to live in the country has sustained me through many trials. But time is running out for us both to act! I say we need to "go for it" without delay!

rosek1870 said...

Go for it!!! Go to Maine and enjoy the rest of your life. Who knows maybe your headache will even go away. Stress does terrible things to our bodies.

claudia w said...

Bless you whatever you decide to do.

Karen Driscoll said...

You are a gem. we all love following you and your creations and the cats. Follow your heart, Life is to short, go to Maine.
Breathe in deeply and there you will find the answers.
Find Peace and do what you want forget the rest.
Karen in California, Missing upstate New York.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Hilary, there are some very wise words in these comments, a real outpouring of empathy for you, and such a strong theme of following your heart, listening to what your soul, your inner life wants. I can't find much to add except to say that you are a wonderful person and those of us who have read your blog for a while care deeply for you. I agree that your body may desperately be trying to get your attention through HH. I have admired all you do. I'm 55 and you run circles around me. But maybe your body is begging you to slow down. Seems you have a lot going for you in having good health and financial means. I would really encourage you to pursue your heart/soul's desire. Therapy is a wonderful way to explore what matters and get perspective; I've been at it for 7 years because of a difficult family/past and it is producing wonderful changes in my life. We all wish you the very best and stand by to support you through blogland. Becky

Gayle said...

We very selfishly do not want you to leave us but it is truly the best idea. There is nothing more wonderful than Maine. Having been there many times, I agree, it is the best place for you to be. I wish you the best of the best.

Karen said...

Go to maine. It's crystal clear. Just do it. I highly doubt you will feel any regret whatsoever. Maybe your headache is the tension in your body built up to THERE, because you're working against what you really want to be doing.

JUST... DO IT. Why ever not?

elizabethrugweaver said...

I guess it's time for some of us to come out of the shadows where we have been steadfast readers. There are so many accomplishments that you have made that you don't even know about. I have spent hours studying everything about your weaving business: your technique, which looms you use, rug styles, how to price, how to use a creel, how to sew ends of fabric strips together, what the rugs look like in a shipping box, how to expand my line of weaving, how to sew the straps on a market tote bag. Yep, you have been my number one teacher. How often have I said to myself "what would Hilary do?" I talk about you so much even my husband knows who I am talking about when I start sentences with "Hilary ..." To be honest, Hilary, it's wearing me out just trying to follow in your path. When I get a headache I wonder is it from my posture while weaving? Is this what Hilary is going through? I can't thank you enough for everything you've done. You deserve rest and happiness, whatever that is for you. The next step isn't the end of Crazy as a Loom because you are a creator, you will continue recreate in a way that satifies your soul. Trust your heart.

Connie in Hartwood said...

There must be something in the air, because I have been having the same feelings about my own business ... which also started as a hobby that I love, and took on a life of its own and began to control my life.

I love the passion you have for your family, your weaving, and for you animals. Visiting here is a highlight of my blogging time ... just thought you should know.

deb said...

Hilary, after a life changing farm accident my husband had in January we are now spending time in an rv on a beautiful lake , and believe it or not, kayaking around!!! Before his 2nd chance at life we were working 24 hours a day 365 days a year, year in year out!! Do want you dream of do,, do what you need to do whatever it may be, where ever it takes you! I am 61 and my husband is 71, if we don't do it now, when do you think we will do it,, when we are in a nursing home!! I love you blog, i love your work and have been priviledged to have met you earlier this year,,, do what you have to and don't look back. It will all work out or not,, but i suspect it will all be wonderful!!
hugs from Cobleskill, Deb

Franny V said...

You have been my weaving mentor since I discovered your blog when I looked up "clasped weft" on Google. When I turn on my computer, I make a beeline for Crazy as a Loom. As much as I'd miss you, I say go for it, Hilary! I've always done what I "should" do and not what I wanted to do. Now I realize that what I wanted to do is what I should have done. Now I'm pushing 70 and am on a fixed income and somewhat temporarily disabled. I can't fix all of it, but I'm working on what I can. Please don't make my mistakes. GO!!!! Have fun! Enjoy Maine. Blog if you want to. Weave when you feel like it. Take Roy on long walks in the woods. I'll miss you, but I've learned so much from you and will never forget you.

Need A Latte Mom said...

Hey lady...
Walk away for a month.
Don't weave. Don't sew.
Stay out of the "office" and see if that is what is making you sick.
Stay out and let L run things.
Clear your head and get a better perspective on what you want to do.
Really wish we could solve the puzzle but I do agree, time to bring i the big guns.

Cait Throop said...

Oh Hilary...I just read your posts and have to say "YES" to Maine...omg what are we waiting for?? Life has come and hit us upside the head and we are still trying to do the same things that brought us to this point??!!! I am working at downsizing, weaving less and weaving when I want to. I'm also scheduling a trip every year because that is what I want with or without my husband (who usually has to work and/or take care of the animals). Next spring Italy! Oh that damn headache of yours! I think of you often and hope you find the balance you need...meanwhile I'm sending you thoughts of ocean breezes and peace. xo

Cupcake Murphy said...

I wish I knew you. I wish I could come visit you and have tea with you and listen to your nurse tales (OF COURSE you were a nurse!) I wish I could cook you a nice dinner and talk about how impossible it feels sometimes to do what you want to do. I wish I could sit on your porch and cheer you on and have you cheer me on. I wish I could tell you how happy I am that I stumbled upon your site and that --- in the whole wide world --- I've made a connection with someone I'll probably never meet but who feels so kindred. You'll figure it out. You ARE figuring it out. Like Pema Chodron says, The path is the goal. Keep going.

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts