Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Evolution of an Idea

In the last year since my wonderful mother died, I've been in a frenzy of creativity.  Grieving seems to have unleashed in me a sense of fearlessness and a freedom to create and try things I've never tried before - I consider it a parting gift from Mother, who was always so positive, encouraging, and enthusiastic about my efforts. 
 I'm sharing the evolution of a quilt which, I am just now understanding, evolved from both my my feelings of grief at losing Mother and my job at the same time, and also from learning the brilliant Carol Bryer Fallert's appli-piecing technique, (What an amazing gift is this technique! It allows me to create whatever I want in my head and gaves me a tool to be able to make it real!  My sincere gratitude to CBF for sharing it.)  
At this time  last year I felt pretty bruised, as if my life's trajectory had been pretty straight with minimal impacts and suddenly I was being bounced randomly as if by caprice, hitting something or someone in every direction and being uncontrollably hurled into places I never even conceived of for myself.  Even the backdrop of my life, which I thought was pretty orderly, was constantly and randomly changing.  Literally, I was out of control and I could not stop the spinning.
One night I was sitting on my bed and I drew a sketch.  I didn't know where it was coming from at the time, but as I write this I understand it completely - I was drawing my life!  The result is "Bounced Around."
What I've come to believe in the last year is this:  My life, regardless of what I thought, has always been a series of random bounces - everyone's is.  We are all little spheres careening around, bumping into life's barriers and obstacles and into each other, spinning in directions untold.  Any illusions we have of control are just that - illusions.  And those illusions are what tends to create unhappiness in us.  They block our acceptance of life as it is.
 I've also realized that whatever obstacles we meet are just that, something to simply accept, or to crawl right over...under...around...through - and are not to be taken so seriously, even if they hurt.  Really, in some ways these bumps are gifts, because they offer us opportunities to grow. 
There's something far more vital about "Bounced Around," however, than even the amazing way it has revealed such a deep truth regarding life and how it works - the most significant thing to notice is that there is deep love and uncontained joy that stands out in this quilt, even though it depicts an incredibly sad and confusing time in my life.  This piece is no depressing, maudlin, colorless piece filled with the stale air of defeat.  It's colorful, hopeful - even cheerful.  Which to me shows that even in the midst of living our deepest darkest fears, there is beauty and elation in life that will not be contained or shadowed by anything, no matter how painful.  And that's what we need to focus on and hold onto.  That's what makes this whole, dancing, spinning, bouncing orbit worthwhile.

**Just a note.  When I started writing this it was in response to a contest for bloggers who quilt from.   But as always, the original intent ended up illuminating something much deeper and more meaningful - just another little bounce.  Thanks to Amy for giving me a little nudge!

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