I’ve had the kind of week where nothing seems to go right. Events I expected to enjoy, I didn’t; things I thought would go well, didn’t work; old habits I thought I had cracked, came back to taunt me. I didn’t find as much time as I wanted to write, the allotment erupted in weeds after the heat – then the rain – and the dog rolled in something orangey-brown, smelling of regurgitated turds and extremely sticky. At least to dog fur.
You know what I love about life? You can start again. Every day, regardless of what happened yesterday, the sun comes up and invites you – as they say in the US – to ‘start over’.
I absolutely love that phrase. There is something all-encompassing about it. It acknowledges that something is amiss, something didn’t work out as it might have done, but it doesn’t in the slightest keep you stuck there. No moaning, no bewailing, blaming or self-pitying. Just a brief summation of events, an acceptance of one’s part in that, then off we go again. Let’s see what happens this time.
This is a strategy I have learned from watching the best tennis players. (Yes, I’m still enthusing – well, did you see our Davis Cup performance?!) They can play the most appalling set of tennis, their mind not on it, their timing ‘out’, their attitude all wrong. They lose, say, 6-1. Then the next set opens and they’re like a new player. They just make up their minds to do it differently, forget what just happened and do what they know they can. They seem to have the ability to leave behind any discouragement, humiliation or failure. As if it doesn’t matter.
And then, of course, it doesn’t. Precisely because they have left it behind, the abortive set has no influence whatsoever on the new one. It is, I think this ability to let go of what just happened, that distinguishes the most successful players from those lower down the rankings, rather than simply any innate tennis ability. What a wonderful skill to possess. What a brilliant attitude to life, if one can cultivate it.
I mentioned last week I might write a blog about a company I’ve come across whose motto is: Start At Love. They are a supreme example of starting over, and their philosophy of sheer joy about what they produce and then sharing that around, is one to aspire to for all companies. They are called Darn Good Yarn.
You need to understand – have I mentioned it before? – that in another part of my life, I’m a weaver, spinner, knitter, dyer. I love all things ‘woolly’ – sheep’s fleece, alpaca, cashmere… – and all those other things that come close – like cotton, linen, rose fibre (yes, there really is such a thing)… And , of course, the one fibre that might be considered to surpass all these completely – silk. (Once you’ve worked with silk, you might never be able to go back.)
So I’m a dead sucker for websites with pretty pictures of luscious yarns, and the Darn Good Yarn company certainly falls into that category. Tick number one.
What makes this company so special – aside from the inspiring story of how the owner set it up – is how they make their own yarn by utilising sari silk waste which would otherwise find its way into landfill. Tick number two.
Not only that but they employ three hundred women in Nepal and India – who have possibly no other opportunity to earn – to spin this waste up into exciting yarns, paying them a fairtrade rate to do so and enabling them to work in their homes so they can take care of their children as they work. Tick number three.
The founder, Nicole Snow, tells you on her website (www.darngoodyarn.com) how she has always loved yarn and always loved helping others (she’s a US Air Force Veteran). Her business, then, is a perfect fit. It is the ultimate story of building a success by starting at love – love of yarns, love of not wasting resources, love of people, love of new chances in life. An absolute ‘start over’ business.
As Nicole says, “when you start at love, amazing things can happen”. I want to add, that’s just as true when you ‘start over’ at love, too. You’ll have to excuse me now as I can feel a new chapter coming on …