From as far back as I can remember, I have been drawn to patterns. The reassurance in the repetition of a design. A sequence that keeps repeating itself is somehow comforting – unbroken, ‘safe’. The familiar track laid down like a visual mantra, creating a sense of calm through the frenetic and ever changing busyness of life.
I was one of those children who shrunk away from too much sensory stimulation , it was overwhelming and confusing for me. I preferred a quiet and familiar environment in which to daydream and explore my creative nature.
Of course as one grows up, the busy responsibility of adulthood shapes you and one learns to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Becoming a parent adds a whole new dimension to the toughening up process, whether you like it or not.
I still like patterns though.
When choosing fabrics for my ‘Nyoni art’ range of bags , fabric buckets and cushion covers, I inevitably choose our South African ‘Shwe shwe’ cotton prints. The designs are repetitive – which I like, and the colors have now been extended . From the traditional blue, red and brown shades, one can now choose from luscious pinks, lime greens, vibrant turquoises and sunshine yellows to name but a few. Something for everyone.
Whilst working on my ‘Nyoni’ range in preparation for a Christmas market these past few weeks, I have been thinking about the ‘patterns’ in my life. Not just the visual and physical patterns that I can see and touch, but also the deep rooted patterns that have become embedded in my life. Patterns that have perhaps been passed down through generations. Habits, personality traits and also choices. Choices so ingrained by the implicit bias of genetics, cultural heritage and experience, that they have become a subconscious automation.
Ingrained patterns of behavior that have influenced not only the way I think and behave, but also important life choices that I make. Choosing a potential life partner for example. What starts out as feeling right for me has often been the habit of choosing what has become familiar to me, not necessarily right for me. So the old patterns have been repeated, subconsciously even, until eventually of course the relationship does not/ cannot work, and I am left wondering why I am alone and heart broken once again.
Sometimes though, just sometimes, if you are lucky, you may chance to turn your head just a few degrees, and out of the corner of your eye someone has attracted your attention in their gentle and unassuming way. Here quite suddenly is a new pattern that intrigues and beckons. A new choice, a new chance at something better.
You are surprised and delighted and amazed, for here is a pattern that is familiar in a new way. This time however the familiarity is because there is a parallel thread in values, beliefs, interests and in depth. A familiar rhythm, one that is harmonious and in tune with yours. A synchronicity that flows naturally because it is a good fit.
And so I am learning that patterns can be changed. That thinking in a new way can open doors into wonderful new chapters, and if these are only the beginning, I cannot wait to fall into the rest of the story…