Well, I am still not weaving — nor am I writing very much, despite best intentions and earnest promises to myself. But as I fuss and bother and stay far away from the studio, meditation is creeping back into my life, and that, as we all know, is the path to mindfulness.
I have never been one to sit and chant a mantra, though I have sat and followed my breathing (thanks very much to yoga training) and I know full well the value of this: the clearing out of the pipes, the increased ability to concentrate, the intensification of focus and clarity which will result.
I have always, since I first understood what meditation meant and how it worked in our lives, thought that my weaving was my meditation. At Cranbrook, where I studied in the 80’s, Hamada’s writings about the centering power of craft were much in discussion and a formative and empowering defense of hand weaving in the face of conceptualism.
But I had a significant conversation with a dear friend, who lives and breathes a meditative life, earlier in the week. I told her how much I felt unbalanced because I was disconnected from my artmaking, in particular the meditative weaving process. I asked her if weaving was, as I had frequently claimed, a true form of meditation, and to my chagrin, she replied that it certainly has great meditative qualities, but the attention required from time to time for the motion of the hands or the decisions one makes along the way remove it from the total detachment that is the goal. Aaaaahhh.
No, I have not yet dug out my zafu and begun pure meditation in earnest. But as I was weeding my gravel garden this morning (how Zen!), my mind roamed elegantly around and formed such beautiful, clear associations about art, life, gardening, spring. What to do? Interrupt it, run in and write it all down? Or keep going and savor the experience, knowing that it will slip from my memory by day’s end (now)? I chose the latter, valuing the experience over the recording of it. Kathleen assures me that when I start meditation in earnest I can, in effect, have both: the beautiful experience and the reclaimed memory to write about it later if I choose.
Thanks Laura for affirming a connection that I have felt for decades also. I used to call weaving “my medicine” because I felt it kept me healthy, centered and grounded. I continue to understand the importance of weaving not only as a way to produce art, but as a practice for nurturing balance and patience in my life. Recently I attended a 7 day silent retreat, after having been away from mediation for a very long time. Now I am back to sitting regularly. It is good to be back.Both pathways are valid and important.
I always know when I’ve been too long without meditation…things just don’t ‘work’. It is so important.