Today’s beautiful set of matching crochet mandalas come to us from Stacy of CrochetKitten, one of my personal favorite designers and bloggers ever since I first saw her set of Zodiac Kittens. She used three different mandala crochet patterns by Wink, tying them all together into a set through color selection.
Stacy beautifully wrote in her letter for this project:
“I crocheted these mandalas out of my love for my fellow humans. I tried so hard to make them perfect, but, like myself, they are imbedded with many imperfections. Some of them I was able to go back and fix; others I must live with. But with each mistake, I learned something new and was able to do better with the next project.
Life is like that. We spend so much time worrying about our flaws, and yet others would probably be strained to notice them. Don’t let that be your focus. Your life, like these mandalas, is interesting and beautiful.”
And in her own wonderful blog post about her work on this project, she shares in part:
“I went into this project thinking that I would just crochet a few mandalas to fulfill my duty as a friend and be done with it. But as Kathryn is quick to point out, crochet can be quite meditative, especially when working on a repetitive project such as a mandala, and as I was working on Wink’s mandalas, I had a growing feeling of sadness. And disappointment. And frustration. The woman who designed the mandalas I was crocheting was once someone who lived, smiled, and dreamed–things she would never do again, and I couldn’t help feeling that we failed her. We, as a society, failed her. We should’ve been there for her sooner.”
She isn’t pointing to any one specific person that failed Wink but rather that the way society is living as a whole right now is failing the many people who are suffering with issues like Wink was. There are some really smart thoughts in her post and I encourage you to read through it.
One of the things that Stacy notes in her blog post is that a common symptom of people with suicidal thoughts is a sense of isolation. PhD and author Stephen Ilardi says that social withdrawal is one of the most common symptoms of depression and the catch-22 is that depression makes you want to isolate and isolation makes you more depressed. He says, “Social withdrawal amplifies the brain’s stress response. Social contact helps put the brakes on it.”
As Stacy has pointed out, the way we live our modern lives is often increasingly isolated. More than half a dozen years ago, researchers at Duke found that there was a major decline in social connectedness over the previous two decades. “Remarkably, 25% of Americans have no meaningful social support at all – not a single person they can confide in. And over half of all Americans report having no close confidants or friends outside their immediate family.”
Many people turn to the Internet for connection. There are pros and cons to that. It’s not necessarily a substitute for close community. And yet if you don’t have close community and can’t make that happen for yourself right now, an online community can be a lifesaver. The most important thing is to get in tune with your own needs and determine how you truly feel when turning to your community and working to fill in any gaps that are leaving you feeling isolated.