Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent, Advent A Candle Burns

I love this time of year.  Yes there is the excitement of the season: seasonal crafting, decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, and gathering.  But, for me, I love any excuse to comtemplate.  Advent is a great time to experience the season as a time of waiting and preparation.  A time to move through the darkness toward the light of Christmas Day.  A time well spent reflecting on what it is that we are willing to let be born in our lives.  What is the highest and best that is waiting to come forth as a gift to ourselves and the world?

One way I like to share this is by creating an Advent garden.  It starts simply enough, candles, rocks, crystals, stones.  Every week adding one more of the four kingdoms of nature as we light one more candle.  As we move through our Advent season, we experience the increase in light and deepen our understanding of our place in the universe, of all that sustains us, and to that to which we aspire.

This first week as we light our first candle we celebrate the Mineral Kingdom, that realm of nature that gives us form - a foundation in which to experience our everchanging lives.

The first light of Advent
It is the light of Stones.
The light we find in Crystals,
Seashells, Rocks and Bones.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Artist's Way

This past week I had the good fortune to listen to a wonderful presenter, Mary Tafoya, at the Handweavers Guild of Boulder.  She is quite an accomplished beader and a humble and humorous speaker.  Her pieces focus on women, spirituality, and myths.  Right up my alley!  I especially enjoyed her explanation of her creation of La Llorona and how she needed to focus on her experience of her, not what others had written about this mythical woman.

Three other important take aways/reminders:

Discipline: the only way to work on a piece, whether large and complicated or not, is by daily "practice."  For her, she figured between working full time and raising a family this equated to "one arm's length of thread" a day.  As long as she threaded her needle before going to bed, and had her materials out where she would see them throughout the day, she would be able to work on her piece, little by little.

This is just what I've been telling my knitting students.  Set aside a time, everyday, to pick up your knitting.  Even if it's while you're waiting on your son/daughter's lesson, or during an afternoon cup of tea, just do it, and do it with intention.  Set the intention to pick up your work daily, and soon you will start to manifest your vision.

It's not so different than what my Yoga teachers say.  Even if all you can manage is one Sun Salutation or one Breathe of Fire a day, make it count.  Approach it with full conviction.  But do it DAILY.

Inspiration:  Not surprisingly, she shared that most of her pieces started as a dream, a vision she received in the middle of the night.  Lovely.  It makes me think about all the times I'm woken in the middle of the night, and tried, in vain, to fall back to sleep.  I know its been recommended that this is the best time to meditate, but I must admit, I struggle with leaving my cozy bed to go sit somewhere in a dark, cold house.  Then a student had the brilliant suggestion of "why go anywhere?"  She grabs a pillow to sit on, right in bed!  So I've tried this and although it didn't take the first few times, now it works!  A lot of times I receive answers or insights to things I never even knew were living in me.

As You Work on Your Piece, Let it Work on You:  I LOVE this.  This is what I'm talking about when talking about Knitting As A Spiritual Practice.  Infuse your piece with your prayers, good thoughts, dreams, wishes.  The energy builds on itself.  Meditate on what your piece means to you.  She had one particular piece, shepherdess angel, that she created in support of the teenage girls she was working with at the time.  She didn't create a piece to give to each and every one of these girls.  She worked on this one piece and while she did, she held each one of them in her heart and mind.

These were great reminders for how I want to approach my life and it's work.  Whether setting a Thanksgiving table, baking a pie, or, heck, even doing the family's laundry, I hope to approach each chore with the highest intention.

Blessings on your day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Exciting News!

Last week we had an impromptu visit from a reporter from the Longmont Daily Times Call.  Magdalena wrote a nice piece on our Knitting As a Spiritual Practice class that you can read here.  The ladies were really sweet.  During her visit, everyone sat a little straighter and were just that much more animated.  Kind of reminded me of when someone new comes around the hens.  There's a little more chatter and fluffing of feathers.

As promised I'm posting a picture of Nicole's finished prayer shawl.  Her gesture speaks volumes.  She is a very lively gal from Chile, and an accomplished artist.  Click here to visit her website and be sure to read her story.

We are wrapping up our class, but I'm not one to let go of this circle just yet.  We will continue to meet to knit, AND discuss Women Who Run With Wolves.  Should be an enriching winter.

Blessings to you ALL!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sigh . . . it's been awhile since I last posted.  Actually, life has been good, very good.  Full of it's problems and promises.  I must admit, a lot of my creative energy has been going into preparing and the holding of Knitting As A Spiritual Practice class, seeing that this is my first time creating something like this.  What a joy!

We've been meeting for 6 weeks now, and we've made some nice connections and progress with our prayer shawls.  Yesterday we had the opportunity to bless the first shawl to be completed!  I am remiss that I did not take a picture of the shawl, the creator, and the recipient, but perhaps she will allow me to do so next week and I can update this posting?

In addition to class keeping me busy, we've had two winter snow storms to manage (hence a new banner and winter theme for the blog!) .

Even though we had the inconvenience of no power for a day and a half (NOTHING compared to those brave souls in the Northeast), we kept quite snug with our fireplace.  The two afternoons were spent hauling fire wood.

Max was busy building ski jumps and such, so my garden baby stood as a good substitute and was quite the willing helper in packing down the snow for a path to the hen house.

For days the hens stayed snug in their coop, but I got a few quick pictures when they were brave enough to come out and gather around the watering hole.


Do you recognize the hen next to the rooster?  That is our baby who hatched this spring.  She is all but full grown.  Perhaps soon she will start laying???  I can't wait to find out what color her eggs will be!

The pups and I enjoyed some beautiful walks around the reservoir.

We weren't the only ones enjoying the winter beauty.

My sincere apology for the VERY LENGTHY post today.  Thank you for sticking with me.  I guess that's what happens when you don't post for over 2 weeks!

Blessings for now and I hope to be back sooner than later.
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