Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Quilting Goes Out the Window

I began the week with anxiety about my ability to spend any significant quality time at the studio with Thanksgiving and other responsibilities to attend to this week. But now I'm at peace with this. There may be no new quilts started this week, but my creativity hasn't stopped because of it. My time in the kitchen today has had the usual improvisational twist that I throw into the recipes I use. This is creativity of a different sort. The final product will be gobbled up but the effort is still worthwhile to me, despite its transient nature. I see it more like the work of the Tibetan Monks who spend days laboring in minute detail over their sand mandalas, only to throw them out into a flowing river once the masterpiece is complete.

A few years ago I got to see a group of monks create one such mandala. I went every day and witnessed their painstaking progress. Although I knew that it would be destroyed in the end, I and the rest of the audience were surprised when the moment came to brush it back into a pile of sand, at how attached we'd become to this breathtaking piece of art. People were snapping photographs, or staring at it as if to commit every detail to memory. I brought my camera and started taking shots of it, and then I realized that I was missing the whole point. The entire process is a powerful reminder of the freedom that comes from practicing non-attachment.

My labors this week won't have a lasting effect, but I'll enjoy every minute in the kitchen, and the studio will still be there, waiting for me when I'm ready to return.

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