Purls of wisdom

September 10, 2009

Thank you for "Stitches through time" ( August). The image of knitting as "integral" to Sara Schley's life rang very true. But more than this biographical lesson in "connections", knitting is also an important therapeutic metaphor for mental wellbeing.

William Shakespeare used the metaphor of the "innocent sleep" that "knits up the ravell'd sleave of care", but more recently, knitting is central to Boris Cyrulnik's model of resilience in individuals and communities.

In Penguin's 2009 translation of Resilience, this is Cyrulnik's introduction of knitting: "In that sense, resilience is a natural process: what we are at any given moment obliges us to use our ecological, emotional and verbal environments to 'knit' ourselves. We might feel that, if a single stitch is dropped, everything will unravel, but in fact, if just one stitch holds, we can start all over again."

Of course, involvement in education is a rich yarn from which to "knit" ourselves!

Woody Caan, Editor, Journal of Public Mental Health.

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