The secret of simple

06/04/2015 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Yesterday I started knitting again for the first time in over 30 years. I had a pair of vintage green needles, and some hand-me-down Aran wool, and some good female company: mother, niece and daughter.

To my surprise, I quickly fell into a peaceful rhythm of softly clicking needles. There was a satisfaction in knowing that a very simple garment – a scarf, or snood – was being made. Something soothing was happening to the neural pathways of my brain as I repeated the same intricate knotting movement over and over.  It reminded me of the repetitious nature of meditation, and how that creates a pool of calm in the mind. But there was something else too.

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It was as if the endless knotting was tapping on the door of an ancient racial memory: of women making garments with the simplest of tools: needles of wood or bone. In clothing their families, they were also creating the fabric of society, through the mingled act of cloth-making and conversation.

I thought, then, of the times I have been caught up in the hamster wheel cycles of a ceaselessly questioning mind. And I understood that doing the simple things that pertain to survival can help any of us stay sane. I’m talking about activities like making bread by hand; or building and lighting a fire; or sowing and growing lettuces to eat… or, of course, creating a garment with two softly clicking needles.

What is your choice of simple today?

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Welcome to the Studio

02/11/2014 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Studio door

This is the beautiful new glass window that visitors to the studio get to see. It depicts Star Gazer lilies. Around them are some of the key words that we meditate on: words such as ‘love’, ‘peace’ and ‘joy’.

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It was made by the talented glass artist Mary Quarmby. There was no better person for the job. Five years ago, when I was just beginning to think about running meditation workshops, I bumped into Mary at a craft fair. She said it would be good if someone in the locality started a meditation group. “It’s funny you should say that,” I replied. And so it began.

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Mary is a kindred spirit. We both love and trust the intuitive process where ideas and insights emerge when the mind and body are calm. Going to her own studio in Chippenham, UK, is a delight, because her creativity blooms from the glass like no artist I have previously seen. Her work is beautiful, and carries wisdom within it.

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At this time of year she is busy making small angels and stars to hang from Christmas trees. Window panes for doors, such as mine, are also a regular part of her work flow. Everything Mary creates has amazing layers of texture, iridescence, colour and detail. You just want to go up and touch it. You can see more of Mary’s work here.

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