The world is nothing but my perception of it. I see only through myself. I hear only through the filter of my story. I will live by my own choices and consciousness. For then, my life is my own and I am truly free.
At times, I don’t see myself as much of a meditative person, especially since sitting around for long periods of time–focusing on mantra, image or contemplating spiritual concepts–seemed boring and useless to me. Under stress, my attention is immediately turned toward crafting (lately, it’s quilting/sewing.)
Within a few moments of stitching, the body’s relaxed. The mind is unfrazzled. Free-hand doodling (aka free-motion quilting) with needle and thread, in the home sewing machine, is liberating–perfect relief from stress, slowing down the pace of the modern life.
The effects of this practical turning of attention were more than I could have ever expected. “Cuz I experienced such relief from neck relaxation, naturally, my attention would turn to other areas of my body gradually, more and more over time–until I eventually began noticing subtle sensations at the soles of my feet and then the top of my head. Anything distracts me is balancing. When life is crazy, it’s good to take time to do something that relaxes me, finding a way of breathing artistic life into materials–whether it be yarn, roving, fabric, paper, paint, or pencil.
The more aware I became of the sensations in my body, the more life was working out for me. Such that the particulars of life were transpiring in ways that made me aware of possibilities that I never thought possible for me. Sounds weird?
It has everything to do with awareness of the sensations within the body structure–rather than imagining or focusing the mind on any thought, image or sound. As soon as I was sewing or knitting, my whole body rejoiced as I suddenly recognized that–not only was I already used to practicing meditation–it was taking me way deeper into that practice, through crafting.
I have become consciously aware of subtle sensations in my body. When an habitual thought occupies my mind, I can immediately recognize and experience its corresponding feeling. In that recognition, the habit dissolves (most of the time, anyway.)
Today, I went through a strong purification process. It felt as if my entire body was passing through a fire, and all the while, I smiled at the pain and tears as they arose and passed away. It was a great day–with an irresistible Absolute Bag, designed by Marilyn Ulrich of Quiltworks–added to my wardrobe necessity.
“Wow, you made that? How did you do that? Where did you get that pattern, design, tool…etc?” Is this something your hear a lot?
I consider myself blessed as I am surrounded by amazing textile artists, fabulous quilters who are very encouraging. (From left to right: June Jaeger, Laura Wasilowski, Jackie Gehring, and Rosalie Dace at Quilters Affair–Picnic in the Park with Jennifer Keltner)
Guild night was fantastic. I enjoy connecting with people and to learn skills passed down from other generations–skills my grandparents knew. Next year’s challenge is officially out. You will see a lot about that in coming months.
Crafting isn’t just good for the soul. It’s also good for the body and mind. Americans spend more than $29 billion a year on crafting—a figure that has remained pretty stable in spite of the wobbly economy. Craft making is on a pendulum, indeed. Do you have a crafting/meditation story to share?
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!
(still doesn’t do MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook, a smartphone, and a little bit of texting!)