Felted Card Series on the Theme of “Sanctuary”

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There’s just so, so much work to be done: in the world, in my community, in our home, in the garden!, in my studio, in my physical being! Sometimes I feel like a plow horse AND I feel like the farmer plowing the field with a storm approaching, wielding a whip. If I wish, I can imagine I’m the field, the storm, the whip… I have a choice in how I imagine my life, and how I think about my life influences every thing I do.

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It’s magical, the way the brain works when you are trying to remember something: you think HARD about it, you are straining to remember. You give your brain (that colleague of yours in the form of gray matter) a serious task: go fetch! And then, even though you may turn your attention to other things, the brain — like a dog running into a field to fetch a stick that’s been thrown — continues doggedly to search, until it finds the stick and comes running back to you. And “Eureka!” (I have found it!) you suddenly recall “out of the blue” that thing you were trying to remember.

The brain continued to work at the task, even though you were no longer conscious of trying to remember.

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Really, we could be more deliberate with regard to what we’re asking our brains to do… since the brain is so willing to work hard for us, even when we are not paying attention.

Lately, in my fiber art work, I’ve chosen to focus on the idea of “sanctuary” for inspiration.

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The etymology of the word “inspiration” offers us guidance: from “inspiratio,” it means “breathing in, as of air into the lungs; inhaling.”

We can’t breathe in if our lungs are already filled to capacity. To be healthy, we need to empty our lungs and then refill them. This is at the heart of yoga and meditation: breathing in, resting, breathing out. Emptiness, silence, the blank page: these are at the heart of creating, too.

For me, inspiration comes from a longing for connectedness and understanding, and for experiencing transcendence. The creative spirit is like a vessel that must be continually emptied in order to be refilled. When we share our inspiration and our work, we’re given the gift of emptiness. If we can resist filling ourselves up with pursuits, thoughts, easy comforts and things that merely distract us from our deeper longing, we’re free to feel this emptiness which is sometimes uncomfortable, and to experience inspiration.

One of the gifts of being in a sanctuary is that we are not engaged in worldly pursuits. If we’re sincerely present, we empty our minds, perhaps even for a moment here and there, and let ourselves experience our metaphysical lives. A sanctuary may be found in a place of worship, or on a walk with the dog, or in meditation or in art making, in moments here and there throughout our day. It’s a state of mind that is a place of refuge and protection.

The field still needs to be plowed; but we can lift ourselves from drudgery and the mundane.

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Published in: on May 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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