Committing, Working, Learning — Coming Alive & Giving Thanks

I’m sure many of you have encountered the creative-confidence prompt that asks you to confront all the negative voices in your past. Yesterday I heard someone asking about all the kind voices that we have heard. I am fortunate that there have been many of those throughout my life — though, at the time, I lacked the secure sense of self needed to take them seriously, often experiencing them as pressure (which may have been true of some, but not all). However, when I heard the question about kind voices yesterday, the first thing that popped into my mind was all of you. Thank you so much for your encouragement and, most of all, your companionship on the way.


Lat week, when I made a commitment to the current mask, it didn’t mean I’d adopted a plan or a map. After all, the way changes as we walk. Neither was it an act of determination and will-power — a promise to plunge ahead no matter what. It was something much lighter — simply an agreement to spend time in deep conversation with the materials that are showing me how to create the mask & with the spirit that is seeking to emerge. And since conversation is a co-operative process (not “all on me”), it was enjoyable — not a duty but a privilege. Learning, and learning again!

As so often, I tended to over-complicate things & my conversation partners chuckles as they reminded me of the rule of KISS (keep it simple, sweetie).

For example, after all my fussing, fretting, and late-night spinning to make a warp that could turn into glorious hair for the mask, she told me, “No hair.” This is not the first time I’ve confronted a mask’s resistance to some Great Idea of mine — and all I can do is laugh!

Because I used a wool/silk mixture for several layers of the felted context, it turned out thinner than I’d expected, which — combined with its irregular shape — will make hanging it a challenge. I’ve got some ideas & am curious to see how it goes.

I haven’t yet sewn the mask onto (into?) its context. There are still details to work out. But here’s the way she looks at the moment, perched on the felt in what may or may not be her final place. It’s all an adventure! Working with her has made me come alive. I am grateful to her.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. 
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. 
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman 

The yellow-crowned night-heron continues to make visits to the pond. Five deer in our yard this morning. Finches, cardinals, and what I think is a hairy woodpecker (maybe a downy?) at the feeder today…. These creatures are definitely alive! And to witness them wakes me up. Their lively presence is a gift of enlivenment for me too. Every day I give thanks for their being.

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life 
is thank you, 
it is enough.

                                          -- Meister Eckhardt

6 thoughts on “Committing, Working, Learning — Coming Alive & Giving Thanks

  1. For so long when I began sticking a thumb into the dye pot, I dyed and dyed and hung out my cloths, sharing photos with a few dear friends and family…kindness abounded, encouragement was present but still, that nagging inner voice said, “Why are you doing this? Are you wanting to keep up with your friends? How audacious to think you can create on cloth?…yada, yada, yada! Why cloth when you prefer to use words to create, you prefer to use language to tell stories…”

    After a time, a rhythm to my foraging, dyeing, experimenting and stitching on cloth, developed and I slowly came to the understanding that this endeavor was important to me. The connection from foraging for materials caused me to look deeply at my surroundings, becoming aware of the beauty in the most ordinary, stilling myself to slow down my breathing and SEE-ing with all of my senses. The result was the realization that the gifts of the land were freely there for all who could take the time, to stoop, sniff, touch, see and acknowledge. Along with this light bulb moment was the belief that simply, this was another way of sharing, of connecting and that the negative thoughts were of my own making. Most profoundly, and probably obvious to many but it took me a while to get there, what I do with cloth is another way of “talking” Story.

    In this time of Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the words of Alicia Bay Laurel, artist, songwriter, poet, storyteller, (Living on the Earth) gentle and inspiring woman who I was privileged to meet when we lived in Maui. (She officiated at my daughters wedding in Hawaii) Alicia called this time, the time of thanks and giving…I give thanks to the land for inspiriting me by giving me the chance to use her treasures. I give thanks to you Margery for creating this place, where conversations, thoughts, and knowledge, from the mind, heart and soul, are so readily found.


    • Yes — there are endless ways to embody Story — each with its own strengths & unique challenges. And the gift of each way (writing, telling, music, weaving, dancing, dyeing, stitching, weaving…) is, as you say, a deepening engagement with & participation in the world, using All your senses. When I was writing a lot of poetry, I remember thinking my eyes had been newly washed & my ears opened as I experienced the world in-front-of/ around/ within me in much greater detail & luminosity.
      You do have a wonderful way with words, Marti, so I hope you are continuing to write as well.


  2. She’s really coming alive. I hear those voices too and KISS will be on my mind! Been so long since I dipped in felt. I knit wool yarn purses to wet into smoothness and shrinkage and made many needled felted creatures all gifted to others. Never went as far as you but it does inspire with all its beauty. We all need plenty of kindness no mater how hard we may not equally see or often feel.


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