Incremental Progress

The salvaged original work left unfinished on the loom.

About a year and a half ago I found an old loom at my local thrift store with an unfinished tapestry woven onto it. The warps (the strings that run vertically on the loom that provide a matrix on which to weave through) were made of wool but were very old and weak, yellowed and broken. The unfinished tapestry had thick, hand spun lengths of different colors of wool, twine, and wood layered upon each other to create a rich and rough piece of work. The spun wool had bits of vegetation and the hair of other animals interlocked in its fibers. The whole thing slumped against the wall among the wicker baskets, mismatched coffee mugs and tupperware that had been separated from their lids. The tools that accompanied the loom, carved from matching dark cherry wood, had additional lengths of wool wrapped around them. It was apparent to me that this weaver didn't feel like they were finished. They had  more work to do here, but for a reason I will never know, they abandoned their weaving. I speculated there in the store while my heart raced as I carried my new find to the register. 'THIS IS INCREDIBLE,' my heart sang. $12. I paid $12 for this treasure that would bring about a change in my life that I could never have anticipated as I gleefully threw a hot $20 down. 

This loom with it's unfinished work stood as a found piece of art work, decorating my house for the next year. People would visit and we would speculate on when and where it was woven, what happened to the weaver and what I intended to do with it. "Are you going to weave on this loom?" The inevitable question kept coming up. My silent answer was always something like, I would love to but would that disrespect the original weaver or ruin the beauty of the found piece? What if I am not good enough and I weave a piece of shit, then not only will I have dismantled something beautiful, I will have wasted and proven a secret desire I have to be a disaster. I carried some self doubt. 

Last spring, while I was in the process of disintegrating my vintage business and the blog here and all the middle man tasks I had been busying myself with for the previous year, I had this very compelling drive to MAKE something. Stop finding things others have made and selling them for a profit, MAKE something of your own and realize that the profit you gain is the cathartic act of creation. The peace that comes from the process. In order to begin making, I had some doubts to overcome. The well of ideas was overflowing but the cap of insecurity kept me from beginning for fear that I would expose myself to myself as a failure. I felt like I needed guidance. I needed tutelage, a teacher that would walk with me in those first steps and show me the slow but sure way to proceed. By August I finally asked the universe for a teacher. While I believe that asking for help is a huge important first step I am also well aware that help comes to those that help themselves, so I grabbed a community college schedule of classes and browsed the subjects. 

Ceramics? No. Painting? Hell no. What was I looking for? Come on come on, I knew it was there somewhere. Then, there in the community education section for the satellite campus in my town was a weaving class. The energy in my body about gave me a heart attack. THAT was what I was looking for! A Passionate Response! I wanted to feel my heart beat out of my chest and lose my breath with anticipation! The month waiting for the class to start was torture. At one point it was cancelled but the woman teaching it agreed to teach me in her home since she was happy to have at least one interested person. It was the first time she had offered her lessons through the college since she just felt like she needed to broaden her search for students. I was an eager and thankful pupil. 

She started me on a simple frame loom, essentially a frame with small brass nails hammered along the top and bottom on which the warp was strung. Her lesson was basic. String the yarn onto a weaving needle and weave in and out, alternating as you add layer upon layer. Basic weaving.  She said, "Experiment! Try different patterns, change colors!" By my third row I already felt it. The rhythm. The doing. The making. One row at a time. Incremental progress. Each layer builds upon the next and eventually a fabric is created. A flimsy string locked together with more flimsy strings within the boundaries of a defined matrix, created a square of strength. The pattern though was up to my imagination. I could create almost anything I wanted within the frame of my matrix. All I had to do was envision the goal and move forward with patience, focus, forgiveness, the willingness to unweave and make right any missed steps, and the drive to complete the process and see it to the end. Consistency in tension and pressure matter. Finding my own rhythm and staying in it matters. Breaking when I become fatigued matters. All of these lessons seemed to effortlessly download into my system. I would take deep breaths and hear the word YES. This is right. This is what I have been needing and looking for. 

My first finished piece.  

When I brought my first finished piece into class the next week, my teacher could hardly contain herself. "This Is amazing! Superb! I just can't believe it!" She asked if I had any previous experience weaving. No. She explained that the feathering I had created in my angles was very desirable and difficult to do and that she wanted me to come to her Navajo weaving class to show them how I did it. This made me feel UNCOMFORTABLE. For one thing, I felt immediately my ego filling up with hot air, a feeling I am very conscious of and actually DESPISE in myself. Additionally, I don't really know HOW I did it. I just did it. When I was figuring it all out I was in the zone. It just happened. I felt awkward taking credit for that, but then my ego stepped in, "Oh sure! It was easy! I would love to come to the Navaho class and show them how I did it!" chest puffed out jaw jutted, hands in loose fists on my hips. 

At that point the pressure was on. I had to make another equally amazing piece. SCREW THAT! It had to be better than the one before it! More technical, incorporating complicated interlocking techniques and an even cooler pattern! I took a book home and skipped to the good parts because I didn't need the introduction, I was a freaking natural.  Let's effing do this thing!

This time the weaving was long and tedious. It was frustrating and ugly to me. Nothing seemed to be going right. I kept making mistakes and resented going back to fix them. I had wanted to make it as symmetrical as the last one but miscounted the warps for my brown sections and inadvertently created a mess. As I got nearer to completion I just gave up on the pattern all together and filled the center with half hearted lines. I disdained the finished product. 

 My ego driven piece. 

Before I even arrived at the Navajo class I was a humbled lump. The other attendees were all expecting this special girl to come waltzing in, their eyes filled with the promises my teacher had made about my brilliance. I muttered a weak and shy hello to each of them before pulling out my two pieces. As they looked at them I watched as they quickly grabbed the first piece and maybe without even realizing it, covered the second with it. One of them said specifically, disregarding #2 all together, "This is a beautiful sample." Ok. Thank you. My interaction was them was meek and controlled. 

This is getting long. I will resume with the second half of this story later.  Thank you for reading. 


Read, Weave, Run, Write

Aside from the day to day family household things, I spend all of my waking moments doing one of these four activities. It sounds rather boring actually if I put it that way. And if you take these things at face value it would be pretty boring. The great thing is, I believe that there is a spectrum for the way we can perceive life- at one end, you see everything for exactly what it appears to be, face value, and at the other end you understand that everything you can see with your eyes is merely a shadow of what the thing really is. A reflection. I have spent time sitting in a reality where there is nothing beyond the visible real. Its fine. There are nice things about that type of living. I am far more interested in sitting in the other end of the spectrum though. I love to imagine that what we see (and measure with all of our external sensors) is only half of our true reality. That visible reality is very well documented through science. What if every object, activity, and physical sense you have is mirrored by, in equal proportion, an unseen reality.

1) Read
It was important for me to give a summery of the seasons in my last post so that I could use them as a reference point for where I am right now. I spent the summer in the world of the physical real, but about a month ago, I full on stepped into to other side, just to see what I could see. I have been reading like crazy. Reading books that entertain alternative points of view. After I physically read the words, I read the meaning of them against my inner voice (We all have an inner voice right? Im not talking about monkey chatter in your brain but a clam, grounded, inner voice? I might have two actually, but I am pretty sure I am not schizophrenic) to see what I really think about what I just read. I talked to people about my findings and my new (new to me) ideas to read what they thought of it all (hmmm, mixed reviews). I am continuing to read more. Here are some books that have sent me reeling so far:

Indigo Adults, by Kabir Jaffe and Ritama Davidson: You know how I said I went to that Chakras class two Fridays ago? Well at the end of class I was talking to the teacher for a while and I told her some things. CRAZY things that I have not really ever talked about with any one outside of my safe circle. She did not seem surprised by my crazy shit. Instead she smiled at me and told me to look up Indigo people. She was very nonchalant about it. "Just look it up on the internet or get a book about being an indigo and see if anything makes sense to you. Call me when you are ready to know more," she said.  If anything I have ever said has resonated with you, maybe check this one out. If you feel like you are supposed to be doing something more, or if you suspect that there is a much larger plan in play, or if you just feel strange and different and maybe a little bit off from the majority of people around you, investigate this for yourself.

The Secret History of the World, by Mark Booth: I am nearing the end of this one. If you found the above book interesting, this one is like a handbook for the imaginatively aroused. Blowing my effing mind.

The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird: So my husband goes into Vitamin World to get some fish oil or something and and the guy behind the counter acts stunned and says "Whoa! I was just thinking about you! That was so random!" Then he launches into this whole conversation about how our energies move at a much higher and faster frequency than our bodies and that if we are sensitive enough we can have experiences where we can sense things blablablabla . . .  and on and on and then he brings up this book and says that back in the 70's, this guy hooked lie detector machines up to plants and say that they responded to very specific phenomenon that lead the guy to do all these studies and find that plants communicate with each other and this that and the next thing . . . my husband was like, "ok dude. cool. can I buy this fish oil?" But he came home and told me about it since I am in to that kind of thing, and I bought it and read part of it and freaked out. This book was maybe the catalyst for my new abstract, looking glass state of mind.

Boy, this is already getting long. How about I talk about the weaving tomorrow. or later today. I need to get some food. Oh, and I responded to your comments in the comments section that you left them in. I will continue to do so , but please know that I am not like sitting here EXPECTING you to comment. If you want to chat that's great but I will not be upset if you just want to read and be entertained or bored or whatever you are doing here. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts but I hope you just do what feels compelling for you. And I just looked up the word compelling because I wanted to be sure my heart chose that word correctly and it did, but I want you to comment only if your heart feels compelled to do so, not out of some other perceived obligation. ok.


cross the bridge

Yesterday when I was checking my blog settings and clearing my dash and other internet spaces I was reminded of a blog I started a couple of years ago called 5ifty2. I didn't include a link but the premise of it was that there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 playing cards in a deck, coincidentally, and that I had at least 52 people in my life that I needed to communicate with so by writing their names on the face of each card and drawing a card a week, I could eventually reconnect and or finalize or provide closure to a number of loose end relationships that were weighing on my conscience. The plan failed after about 3 weeks. Some chapters are best left closed. This whole concept and memory flashed through my head quicker than it took you to read the word "Yesterday" in this blog post but it seems that it was not an accident that I was reminded of this concept of 52.

Each morning that I run I always break to do walking lunges across a bridge on our property. I have only just begun to be able to complete the entire length without stopping. I have never counted my steps before but for some reason today I did. As my steps grew harder my counting grew louder and more pronounced to help remind me that I could do it one step at a time, until I reached the end at 52. 52!  I smiled to myself. How coincidental! But my mind couldn't let it go. I went along running and thinking about this coincidence.

"52 lunges across the bridge, 52 weeks in the year, 52 playing cards, 4 suits in a deck, 4 seasons in a year, 4 symbols.  If I was to lay a card on each week I would give each suit a season, laying the aces on each equinox and solstice. What suit would I give each season? Well, obviously spring would be hearts, summer clubs, fall spades, and winter diamonds. Whoa. Why do I say obviously?"  . . .  and the conversation continued in my head as ran:

Well lets start with winter and diamonds. What does winter represent to me? A time of the mind, introversion, a drawing in, snow flakes, crystals, a mind like a diamond, the third eye, the star on my christmas tree, cold, purity, first day of the year, one, singularity, thinking. . .

Winter leads to spring and hearts. Hearts in spring= New buds on trees, rejoicing, new life, cell division at conception, love birds, joining, waking up, transition, change, preparation . . .

Clubs in the summer = clubs are like feet or paws, hiking, activity, physical activity and matters of the body, behaving like animals, being outside, swimming, camping, laughing, fruits and veggies, more raw foods, gardening, resting of the mind, a more physical existence . . .

And finally spades in the fall = leaves fall like spades, harvest, call a spade a spade, reaping what was sown, grieving the end of summer's bounty and the death and drawing in of nature, spades are upside down hearts, swords, the opposite of spring, a time to take inventory, move inward, digging in, collect your bounty. . .

This free association thinking lead me to myself. My body. . .  My body is like the earth. I have seas of water, soil growing new tissue, an atmosphere that renews and cleanses itself, my cells perform a form of photosynthesis, and I have seasons. Last spring, the time of the heart, I was sad. Lonely. I longed for more human connections. I felt the need and urges to ground myself after a long, intense winter of the mind. As I moved into summer I essentially shut my mind off and lived fully in my body. I ran and played and drank lots of beer and sang and laughed, behaved like an animal doing just whatever I felt like, grazing as I wished, storing up vitamin D in my skin, muscles on my bones, joy in my heart, and fat in my brain (as I didn't call on it to work much). As the fall approached I felt the shift. The dog days of summer were over. The time of the club and foot had ended. The leaves are now falling in spades and I am feeling a wealth of abundance from my harvest. I feel sharp. and ready to dig deeper.

I began replying to comments in the comment stream of my last post and will continue to communicate in the comments with you on an individual basis, though I have given myself very strict parameters related to my computer time in order to maintain a nice balance and to avoid burnout. Please know that I see you. Interaction and conversation are a huge part of what I am doing here so I absolutely welcome your insights.

All images can be traced back to their source through my tumbler.


Head Change

What am I doing? No, seriously. My head is asking me "What do you think you are doing?" Well, head, I am going to begin writing, And I will write here in this space that I have written in so many times. This place that allows me freedom. I need to write here.

So, I went to this color theory / chakra opening class last Friday and sure as shit, my throat chakra is all closed up. All the running and lunges and squats I have been doing the past couple months have grounded me very successfully (not to mention the incredible boost they have given my bootie) and my first three chakras are W I D E open, however the trade off of running in exchange for yoga and meditation have left me feeling a little imbalanced. Time to straighten up. I have to write again. I have to communicate. Not just verbally. I have to communicate with you. A lot has happened in the past few months. Some things I can list in pretty concrete terms, but the intangible ones have had a much stronger impact on me and these are the things I have to ruminate on here occasionally so that I can make them feel more concrete.

Briefly, quitting the blog was hard for me. But I had to do it. I had to see it through till I didn't even think about it any more. I had to create distance so that I could see what precise elements were not working for me. Though this post may seem . . . however it may seem TO YOU, it may as well be a first post on a brand new blog. This IS actually a first post on a brand new blog. I just didn't change the title or the layout or get a new address or anything like that, so it might look like the old blog, carrying all its old history, memory and baggage, but in reality it has reinvented itself, just as I have reinvented myself. Granted, I do look a little different now. I changed my hair (it is short and red) and I may also change my header here, but really, from the outside, not much seems different. My content however has shifted. If this seems interesting to you, great. I look forward to reconnecting with you. In the mean time, hi. It feels good to be back typing again.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...