Monday, May 3, 2010

Lessons from a Prayer Shawl

With all of the time I am spending recovering from surgery, I find that my mind is working overtime! Mostly I have been observing myself and seeing if I can root out where my illnesses have grown into my identity. Once I find that, I can go about blooming more freely as I know where to watch for the weeds that try to choke out the good, healthy growth.

Perhaps that sounds a bit dramatic, but I have always had a rather dramatic streak - though it usually keeps itself confined to my imagination. One of my projects that I have been working on the last two weeks is a prayer shawl based on a series of granny squares using bits and pieces of yarn left from various other prayer shawls and baby blankets that I have made over the last few years. As I crocheted the squares from small leftovers I saw myself putting my life back together. There was a time in this most recent month of conventional treatments that I began to wonder if I were really being called to be a healer, especially one drawn to natural modalities. I mean, with such a powerful tool as Reiki along with proper dietary changes and other work shouldn't I have been able to take care of the gallstones without surgery? What kind of healer am I that I couldn't heal myself?

So I stitched and I thought. Squares were made and stitched together to form a rectangle, and I began to work on the border stitching that makes this one big shawl, and I began to realize that I am like those squares. Many different parts coming together from who knows what to form a cohesive whole something new. I had yarn from a baby blanket next to yarn from a shawl I crocheted for a dying person next to some that had been in my stash so long I no longer know what it was originally used for. Reiki sits beside the new pills I take to help control the debilitating headaches beside the drug intolerance that led me to embrace natural healing in the first place. Embracing all of those strands and all of those squares are the basic truths I know about myself - even though I am finding that those have been hidden for so long behind illness that I seem to have forgotten their names.

Today I read over at Unfolding Your Path To Joy about her choice to live in love, to know herself through her experience of nature and nature's moods and another strand was added to the shawl I am making. Her words reminded me of how I used to be so in tune with nature as a child, embracing the windy afternoons that sometimes threatened to blow me away or the soft and tender touch of fog or rain on my cheeks. Coming home from the beach or the local pool, or after running through the sprinklers and lying out in the sun on the brick porch to dry. I have missed that connection, and though I have tried to return to it over the years since I have grown up I have never been able to embrace the depth of truly knowing myself as a child of the earth. I have hidden in my head and tried to be totally and completely a child of the culture and utterly failed. Especially since I have never had much love and admiration for the culture I have been surrounded by.

So today, although I am still taking it easy and working on allowing myself the leisure to recover fully from the surgery, I am opening my heart to those small whispers that tell me to listen ever deeper to myself and my heart and to wrap myself in the story that is unfolding as I crochet this prayer shawl.

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