Nine years ago, I wandered into an open air weaving workshop in Luang Prabang, perched high above the hazel colored Mekong River. It was early in the morning, and the woman pictured above was already deep into her work. She drew me in, allowing me to contemplate her design so intricate and fine that even the back of the loom threads caught me in their mesmerizing web. How does she keep her pattern with such absolute precision in that imbroglio of threads? Although I was a weaver myself, it looked to me a miracle. It looked to me also a life question—with so many threads going in every possible direction, how do I stay focused and actually create a clear, discernible, even elegant pattern to my life?
The events of the world are turbulent these days, twisting us in skeins of controversy and pain. Even our personal lives scatter us in too many directions, until we may lose track of the true and best image of who we are and the life we are creating.
So, I was overjoyed, recently, to see a stunning pattern of home-grown, hand-dyed indigo weaving arrive at Ibu from those very same remarkable women in Laos—women who are still making magnificence happen out of the morass of their looms. It makes me think of the focused eye they have trained, the daily practice they have sustained, and the mindful attention to every thread they hold. This is how to weave a life—that's what I think. One thread, one tiny detail, one breath—this breath—at at time.
At 5:30 one morning last week, I stumbled out of bed and leaned over my second floor stairwell banister to say goodbye to my husband leaving for his pool workout, when my foot slipped in the dark and sent me rolling down a whole flight of stairs. Of course, we know that the next step we take could change everything. One lapse in attention and the whole delicate web of life could shred.
I ended up in my husband's arms where we shook and trembled until we both realized I was still alive and could get up and go about my day, with only some spectacular bruises and gashes and a huge swelling of gratitude.
Since that morning, I've returned to the colorful threads of my life with shiny new attention; my daily chores a mindful joy. If I want to weave a life that is true to my core, and I do, then I must focus on the step I am taking now, and the placement of this thread now in hand. Every jot matters. Every step counts. The pattern, woven daily, is only revealed in the end.
Today, I am saluting the talented women of Ock Pop Tok, making of their lives a mindful beauty; making of their skills a daily gift to the world. They are my teachers. I pick up the many threads of this day, and with attention and laughter and a huge upsurge of thanks . . . I weave.
All the best,