February 2nd, 2016 by Jan

There are a zillion ways to meditate. My favourite over the years has always been a moving meditation.

Sitting and watching breath for me, can be both a delight and a bore. Yoga is not doing it for me. It’s okay, but … I have to work pretty hard not to fall asleep at the last part of the class when we all lie down with blankets and pillows.

Spinning wool has always been a great meditation for me. I feel productive and peaceful when I spin. Repetitive movements are soothing for me. Probably why I like tai chi, making glass beads and putting quilts together.

Over the last few days, I’ve been in a very deep meditation practice. My heart is comfortable, my breath deep and my mind focused. Pure bliss.

For three days now, I’ve been ripping seams out of a quilt top I messed up. This action not only dropped  me into a focus meditation, I got an extra bonus of working out some grief.

Rather than yelling and screaming, or cussing and pouting, I surprised myself by not chucking the entire thing in the bin.

No, when I discovered I had sewn more than several rows of fabric all backasswards. I sat at my sewing table with seam ripper in hand, and one stitch at a time, started tearing it apart.

As most of you know, I make memory quilts for people I love who have died. This last year alone I made quilts for my brother Bill, Dad and Peet. The huge exception has been Kim.

I’ve not been able to put a quilt together for her yet. I keep thinking it will come to me. I think it should be blue, with penguins or something to do with water, hanging out poolside, or travel. Nothing comes to me.

But, I thought, if I just start… sometimes… something… will happen.

I decided to use up some scraps of fabric. I began cutting them up and sewing them back together the way I do. I had no one particular in mind, and certainly not Kim — I just wanted a sewing meditation

I got on a roll. It was super nice to sew just to sew. No grieving, no mindfulness, no plan or purpose.

Then, I realized something went wrong, I was off track and my seams got all wonky. Changing direction is not a big deal when I sew. I’m always putting together or taking apart. It’s part of the process when you don’t use a pattern.

But, last night I realized I had spent more time taking apart this particular quilt than I did in putting it together.

I found I was quite happy sitting in the moment, that turned into hours, that literally became several days of unravelling the mess I had raveled.

Kim may not get the quilt I think I need to make for her.

I may surprise myself and put her name on this scrappy, ripped apart and messy one.

As each stitch came apart a deeper peace settled in me. I thought of her a lot. Her death tore me apart. I realize I can not fix the wrong that was her death, but I can fix this quilt.


6 thoughts on “ascrappyandsoothinggrief

  1. Kassie

    Hi Jan,
    Although I did not know your beloved Kim, I share your anguished journey. This post made me cry because I too, have lost a very dear and treasured friend. And still, after 41 years have past, Oneta lives in my back pocket. Lovingly carried with me every day … always.
    I truly believe that this quilt belongs to Kim. Yes, it may not be what you thought her quilt would be but the feelings and peace it provided symbolizes your relationship and journey. I think it’s perfect.
    Grief sometimes changes us. The pain can sculpt us into someone who understands more deeply, hurts more often, appreciates more quickly, cries more easily, hopes more desperately and loves more openly.
    Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there is great love.
    Thank you for this post, Jan.
    ❤️ Hugs

  2. LauraB

    Hi Jan,

    The quilt you need to make is the one you make. Grief is messy and ragged and scrappy,and love can be that too.

    Love to you.


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