Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sacred Stitching

For whatever reason I sometimes have what I consider a build-up of vast quantities of explosive energy that creates an implosion in my thinking and then my body. These past 16 months have been the first time in my life since I got into energy work back in November 2000 when I have had absolutely no massage, energy therapy, regular yoga, and extensive meditation. Oh, and I'm surprised that I've got pent-up energy???

So, last week when I could feel the excessively whirling vortex of energy that consumed me, I knew I had to go within. I can blame the people I live with, associate with, the town where I occupy space, etc., but it always boils down to the fact that my problems come from within.

I went to my bedroom with a linen napkin that Dan had tie-dyed and some embroidery floss that he'd splashed with some dye too. I sat in a yoga pose, breathed deeply, and let my thoughts go before putting the threaded needle to the fabric. As I stitched, I returned to a peaceful place. When I was done with the first piece, I put it in front of me while meditating, staring at it, relaxing my eyes, and allowing my vision to dance upon the sacred cloth. It changed me. It calmed me.

the first sacred stitching
I discovered that it wasn't finishing the piece and then meditating that altered me, but the process of stitching it and letting go of my thoughts, the not knowing what I was going to do on the cloth until I did it. It was the surrendering of the process and allowing what felt right to be the whole purpose of the stitching.

The stitching became the meditation.

I do not have a background of hand sewing or embroidery. I've mastered the sewing machine and have taught thread painting for decades, so for me to pick up a needle, thread it, and hand stitch is just absurd. I've spent most my adult life going full speed ahead, my foot flat on the sewing machine pedal and my hands pushing the fabric under the needle as fast as I could. Speed, productivity... more, more, more...

The first week I bought into a quilt shop back in the 1980s, I had 10 commissioned pieces to make or finish. When it comes to fabric and thread a sewing machine has always been involved -- until now.

It took me days to finish the above piece because I took it slow. I breathed slowly. I stitched slowly. I put the needle into the fabric where it felt it needed to be, and I didn't contemplate whether or not it was pleasing to my eye. I just let it be. What I discovered later when it was finished, and I used it as a focal point in my meditation, I could relax my vision and the stitches along with the designs in the fabric became mobile. There were reasons for each stitch to be exactly where it was. Go figure...

I'm now in the middle of the second sacred stitching. Dan dyed new floss for me to try out, and I just pick up what instinctively feels right, and make a stitch where I feel it. The artist in me sure jumps out every now and then criticizing my work. However, I know the real purpose of these pieces has nothing to do with the finished product being aesthetically pleasing as much as a powerful meditative tool.

This one is still a work in progress. I feel I'll be stitching on it for days to come yet. Because of this process I've centered myself, breathed easier, and have been more creatively inspired and have initiated many new opportunities for myself. This process will be a class I'll be offering in Oswego soon. Stay posted...

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