To play my small part in helping to heal the disconnection in ourselves and the wider society within which we participate, the heart of work rests in making spaces in which we can amplify our creative fluidity, inner authority and sense of well being.
My chosen medium is to craft folk and mythical stories, archetypes, symbols and images into meaningful exchanges, so they act as imaginal bridges which psychologically and emotionally move us from one place to another. Which deepens our connection to life and helps us transform the stories of who we are and what we think is actually possible.
I particularly like the way that a little story can be used to consider much bigger things and how it contains the potential to brings out many issues using only a few narrative threads. I really like the economy of that.
The stories I share and reflect upon here will be illustrative of my mood, circumstance and the wider narrative that I find myself living within.
Presently, I am experiencing what is technically known as a state of ‘liminality.’
A place in time that is neither here nor there, past, present or future. This means that I really don’t know that will happened today, tomorrow or the next day, or the next day after that. I am learning to become more familiar, comfortable, adaptive and creative to this circumstance.
My routine has been temporarily interrupted and maybe it will be permanently dismantled. My old story no longer holds true. This generates a sense of uneasiness, loss and vulnerability. So, this time of liminality requires my full attention and self-acceptance, and when we reach the edges of this moment in our collective story, I trust that I will be ready to commitment to purposeful new creative actions.
A very old native American Indian story that captures some of my feelings that it's OK not knowing, is ‘The Woman Who Weaves the World.’ The original source can be found in Michael Meads book, ‘The World Behind the World.’ From which I took my inspiration but also the liberty to change what I felt worked for me. I trust that you will do the same. As, there are no absolutes, rights or wrongs in this story-making process just an invitation to see what resonates for you.
Let's begin. This is a story of an old woman who lived in a cave where knowledge of the wonders and workings of the world could be found. Even now, some of the old people say that the cave of knowledge exists and might be discovered again. They say it is tucked away in the side of a mountain. "Not too far to go," they say, yet no one seems able to find it anymore. That's too bad, they say, because inside the cave can be found genuine knowledge about how to act when the dark times come around again and the balance of the world tips away from order and slips towards chaos.
For, inside this cave there lives a woman who is as old as time and is unaffected by the rush, the confusion and strife of daily life. Instead, she passes her time weaving the most beautiful garment in the whole world and she has been at her weaving project for a very long time. This old woman only interrupts her weaving when she goes to stir a bubbling hot soup that simmers in a great cauldron which hangs over a fire at the back of the cave.
The old woman cannot recall anything older than that fire and it just might be the oldest thing there is in this world. Occasionally through the old woman does recall that she must stir the soup. For that simmering soup contains all the seeds and roots that become the grains, plants and herbs that sprout up all over the surface of the earth. So, the old woman divides her efforts between weaving the exquisite garment and stirring her elemental soup. In a sense, she is responsible for weaving things together as well as for stirring everything up. Bringing things together and then pulling them apart and in the rhythm of this process mixing everything all up again.
Without knowing how, this old woman senses when the time has come to let the weaving go and stir things up. Then she leaves the weaving on the floor of the cave and turns to the task of stirring the soup. As the old woman shuffles across the floor and makes her way to the back of the ancient cave, a large black cat watches her every move. The cat seemingly asleep awakens as soon as the old woman turns her attention from binding to stirring, then the black cat makes her move and with both paws picks up a loose thread and begins pulling on it. No sooner as the black cat pulls on the loose thread then the beautiful garment begins to quickly unravel. Since each thread has been woven so intricately together, pulling upon one begins to undo them all.
As the great soup is being stirred up so the elegant garment comes apart and forms a chaotic entangled mess on the floor. When the old woman returns to take up her handiwork, she finds the garment has been pulled apart. The old woman sits and looks silently upon the remnants of her once beautiful design. She ignores the presence of the black cat as she stares intently at the entanglement of undone threads and distorted patterns.
After a while, she bends down, picks up a loose thread, and begins to weave the whole thing again. As she pulls thread after thread from the chaotic mess, she begins again to imagine the most beautiful garment in the whole world. As she weaves, new visions and elegant designs appear before her and her old hands begin to knowingly give them vibrant shape. Soon she has forgotten the cloak she was weaving before as she concentrates on capturing the new design and weaving it into the most beautiful garment ever seen in the world.
When I first came across this story, I felt a great sympathy for the old woman who labours so long and hard on her weaving, only to wind up having everything reduced to nothing more than a chaotic mess of entangled threads on the floor. What a shame that she cannot finish her work and how unfair our world can be. I thought if that black cat could just stop causing trouble and undoing everything, then the old woman could complete her weaving. Then this world would be a proper place and things would remain in their proper order and the old woman could finally rest. Then it would be "her time" and she could stop her labours and enjoy the fruits of her work.
Of course, this is not the only way to explain and see this story. We can choose to describe and see this situation very differently. We could if we took an alternative view find some solace in the strange tale of the old woman weaving in a cave where things are woven, stirred up and then unravelled, only for the whole process to begin again. We could see wisdom in the way the old woman faces the chaos and mess, and how she chooses to face disaster.
Or, we could see this story, through the eyes of the original storytellers who called this persistent weaver, 'The Old Woman of the World Herself' and saw her as the original weaver who handled the very threads of existence. And, saw the fire in the cave as the necessary yet unseen fire that forever burns at the centre of all of us and the great cauldron as a transformative vessel that contains the generative seeds, which require activation through disruption and disturbance.
Now more than ever it is important to purposefully look and glimpse behind the scenes when the issues of life get stirred up, where destruction and creation change places. Creation and destruction are the creative opposing and necessary poles of existence and our imagination is the binding thread that exists in the space in-between.
To be alive at this time means that we are all caught up in a liminal state that occurs between the unravelling of the world as we know it and the yet unseen generative designs for life on earth. So rather than resist or despair when life offers moments of significant change and upheaval, imagine what it means to feel what the old weaver feels when she finds her beautiful creation reduced to chaos and confusion, learn to openly embrace the great uncertainty that exists in the timeless moment between one beautiful world and the next. That fleeting moment between loss and renewal, collapse and re-creation that exists in a span of indeterminate duration.
To be fully alive at this time means that we each are being asked to cross multiple thresholds, to choose what world do we want to co-create, to learn how to take the fabric of our lives and weave a path that is both joyous and sad, one in which there is enough for all, and where we are all learning how to be fully present to our mutual co-dependency and our need for a shared
co-existence. Now is a time to be generous, to offer unconditional love and compassion.
I specialise in weaving together, stories, images & nature connection practices to help people access their true nature, strengthen their creative fluency and increase their sense of wellness, and wellbeing in the world.