Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hand-beaded Beads/A Bead is just a Bead or Is it?

I have always liked beaded beads and all the possibilities of patterns and designs that they present.  I just completed making this one.  I started out with a felted bead and just started beading away using a four bead back-stich all around it until it was completely covered in beads.  I then used my wigjig spiral maker to make bead caps to finish off the bead. 
When I showed the bead to my husband he was amazed at how many tiny beads I stitched onto the felted bead to make just one bead.  He commented that I must have been very bored.  I didn’t make it out of boredom.  Because of the repetitive nature of beadwork I use it as a calming, stress relieving activity.   While I was working on the bead I found myself in a very meditative, balanced, focused, and calm state of mind.  The repetitive nature of beadwork lends itself to become a vehicle for the balancing of body, spirit, and mind.
  At one point in our lives my husband was very involved in Tae Kwon Do and earned a black belt.  I also took lessons at that time and remember the statement that a punch is but a punch, then a punch becomes more than a punch, and then a punch once again becomes but a punch.  What this statement meant is that initially when you are starting out to learn how to punch, a punch is just the physical act of throwing a punch.  After learning how to focus and balance your body, mind, and spirit, a punch becomes much more than a punch.  It becomes infused with the force of Qi (the belief in the energetic life force that surrounds us and is available to us which is also the basis of martial arts, yoga, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy,  Zen practices, and Reiki).  The punch becomes a vehicle to focus and balance your body, mind, and spirit.  This state is comparable to the focused state of mind athletes need to develop for competition, the focused state of mind that artists experience when they are completely focused on the act of creation. But after the knowledge and practice of how to focus and balance the body, mind, and spirit to act as one, a punch once again becomes but a punch.  It becomes a natural and commonplace act to throw your punch in this balanced, focused state.
Beadwork, needlework, serving tea, even washing the dishes by hand, can all be accomplished in this state of focus, balance, mindfulness with practice. After practicing how to focus on the act of beading in this way it just becomes part of the process of beading.    A bead is just a bead, a bead is more than a bead, a bead is just a bead………..

Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Memory of Princess – Ten Lessons from a Life Well Lived

Princess graced our lives and home for close to 20 years.  She passed away while being held in my arms last Friday evening.  If love could keep her alive she would have lived forever.
Although still heavy hearted from her passing, I wanted to keep her memory alive by sharing some of the things learned from being blessed with her company for so long.

Princess always knew that she had my number.  She knew that I would go to great lengths to keep her content.  
Lesson Number One:  Don’t do anything for yourself that someone else is willing and able to do for you.  Life is short and you should take advantage of any moment of pampering available to you.

We live in a close to 200 year old farm house that has been under renovations since we moved in.  I hate to admit this but we have had unwanted visitors from time to time in our home.  Although I have spent several different periods of my life as a vegetarian because I really don’t like the idea of eating animals, Princess was a very good hunter.  Picture the classic pose of a kitty prancing up with pride with the mouse she caught held in her mouth. 
Lesson Number Two:  Take Pride in all of your accomplishments.  Don’t be afraid of sharing what you have achieved. 

Princess lived her life fearlessly.  In situations where her brother Tiger (we are so creative with names) would go hide under a table, Princess would face whatever got in her way without a shred of fear.  She actually bit a huge snake three times her length.
Lesson Number Three:  Don’t let fear get in the way of facing the challenges you find along your path.

Princess took a very active interest in whatever I was doing at the moment.  She would sit on my lap while I sipped tea and looked at magazines with me.  She literally would turn her head to look at the pictures as I turned each page.   She also liked to sit with me while I worked on my dolls and when I engaged in any art or jewelry making project.  She would try to knock all the pins out of my pin cushion while I was sewing.  She would try to chew on the wire while I was working on jewelry.  She would try to add texture to any paintings I worked on by shedding some hair wherever she could. 
Lesson Number Four:  Maintain an active interest in the activities of those you love.

Princess was rather finicky about the food she ate.  She knew that if she snubbed her nose at what was offered to her, I would find something more delicious for her to eat. 
Lesson Number Five:  Don’t waste your appetite on anything that isn’t absolutely delicious.

Princess always explored her surroundings with curiosity.  Every spring when we would open up the screened in porch she would come outside with me to check everything out.  In the porch she would  eat a few spider-webs and look for the chipmunk that was smart enough to remain hidden until she was not around. 
Lesson Number Six:  Keep a healthy curiosity in your surroundings throughout your life.

Princess liked to play with her toys and silly things like pipe cleaners, candy wrappers, whatever caught her fancy throughout her life. 
Lesson Number Seven:  You are never too old to be able to play and have fun.

Princess was the queen of relaxation.  She would spend a good amount of time each day taking naps while basking in the sunshine.
Lesson Number Eight:  Whatever needs to be done, it is never more important than taking time to rest and relax.

When Princess was first brought into our home by my husband, she was malnourished, fragile, and frightened.  I had to dip my finger into milk and let her lick it to feed her until she was able to eat on her own.  This small amount of time that I spent nurturing her back to health was given back to me so many times over.  Princess always seemed to know when my husband, son, or I were under the weather.  Whenever I was home and not feeling well, Princess was a constant companion at my side.  She wouldn’t leave my side but for a moment and then would quickly return as if to make sure I was okay. She brought so much comfort to us throughout her life.   
Lesson Number Nine:  Take every opportunity you can to nurture and comfort those around you.

Princess never accumulated many things in her life.  But what she did accumulate was love.  As I mentioned before, if love would keep her alive she would live forever.    She will live forever in our hearts.  She will never be forgotten and our love will always be with her.
Lesson Number Ten:  It really doesn’t matter how many toys or things one accumulates in a lifetime.  What truly matters, and what is always remembered, is the love you nurture and share with those around you.