In the last few years, I've twice watched the documentary about Cat Stevens' conversion to Islam and his return to public life as Yusuf Islam. What interests me is the changes in his attitude towards his music in relation to living life with humility. After his conversion, he withdrew from music completely because he felt living a public life was the antithesis of the new life he wanted. No doubt his teachers saw his celebrity bankable; he was persuaded to use his talent in spreading Allah's teachings, and I presume he's reconciled his feeling on the issue.
This morning's post on compliments was quite spontaneous, but it relates to an issue I've had for a while.
In Japan, especially for girls in a Catholic convent school, humility goes a long way, and expressions of false modesty can be considered in good taste at times. Written in English, the previous sentence reads peculiar even to me, but one of the measure of maturity in that country is the ability to not only read, but to speak/write, between the lines.
In New Zealand, tall poppies other than athletes are often cut down promptly, but one is allowed to be quietly confident and go about doing one's thing quietly. And there's a line so fine between being confident and gloating that you can't really know when you've crossed it unless you grew up here, I think.
When I say I'm a newbie at this game of weaving, that's not false modesty; I base that first and foremost on my lack of knowledge of weave structures. I see myself as a kind of new breed of weavers; I have a nifty setup with a computer-controlled 16-shafter, and because I know how the software and loom work, I can weave stuff that looks good to me. But when I'm asked what the structure is, I'm often dumb-struck unless it's twill; often I have to show them the draft and let them figure it out. I didn't study structures the traditional way, I wove plain weave for five years without even getting into color-and-weave, and have been working with twill for the last eight. And I'm not done with either yet.
Beyond that, I don't know how to behave in relation to the stuff I make. I'm greedy about how I want to my stuff to turn out; I see a lot of things wrong with the pieces I weave, and I am never completely happy with my outcome. I don't consider myself a perfectionist; rather I see that so far I haven't lived up to my own standards. And, true, sometimes I am unable to enjoy the fruit of my labor, but only sometimes. On the other hand, I've put in a lot of work in the last few years, changing my life and the way I think and work, in effect the essence of the type of person I am. And in networking with weavers and other artists and arts organizations, and most wholeheartedly in exhibiting handweaving when and where I can.
I would like to be able to weave well and beautifully so I can take pride in every piece I weave; I would like to be quietly confident about my abilities and outcome, but remain realistic about my limitations and shortcomings, and I don't want to be arrogant or overconfident.
So, which self-help do I need for this??