A String and a Prayer

I’m fighting a cold and have missed several key events in the past few days, including my great aunt’s book party (grr!), a day of work (sorry, Andrea!) and the first night of my women’s program tonight. I’m still sneezing but will probaby drag myself to work tomorrow and to my first writing program tomorrow night.

To follow up on the prayer-bead workshop that I mentioned before, dear friend Erin and I and a long-lost high school friend, Deana Pervis, (who happens to be a friend of a friend for Erin’s, small Island!) went to Eleanor Wiley’s for the bead workshop and had a lovely time chatting, talking about Eleanor’s experiences with beads (she’s met the Dalai Lama and Oprah, among other amazing folk) and what she’s learned, etc. Not sure what I was expecting but this ended up being a great way to reconnect with a long-lost friend and hearing about her life as well as a great way to spend time with a current friend — we can all use more intimacy with same-gender friends. While the day — 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — wasn’t spiritual in any religious sense, it was very Zen, in that we were living in the moment of creating and seeing how a creation comes together.

I learned that what I had planned — to string together a lot of pieces from my past to make a cohesive “life” prayer piece, was not to be. I did not like how that piece came out, try as I might. I remade it about three different times. And ultimately I ended up with a “now,” and “future” piece — I will happily share these pieces if anyone is interested to see them (let me know). One piece is a lovely golden, warm string with beads or items representing each of our five children, and what they mean to me. That piece was very easy to make and went together almost effortlessly — as if preordained, although I did not know what I was going to do with the idea before I got there, and had just one bead out of the 5 that I needed for each child.

The second string that I made was the one that I tried to force to be my “life” piece, my “past,” with items from my childhood, teenage years, ex-married life. And it just didn’t work together. At least not this time. Instead, I ended up with a string of beads with a love/partnership/ marriage theme, with beads representing Patrick and me, and our journey together, heading toward the future — to our life on an Island (hey, we live on one now!), with lots of sea life, patina’d sea glass and beautiful blue colors.

I love both of these strings and love how the beads feel in my hand — heavy, shiny, smooth, jewel-like. They are a visual and tactile reminder of all that I have in my life — literally a handful of riches. Although sitting at a table in a cozy living room with a crackling wood stove and a hot mug of tea doesn’t seem like a place to look the Universe in the eye, not so much, it ended up being a good day, a day of good work, of many reverberations of the Great Whoosh, and a day of deep gratitude.

I am glad to have had the opportunity and I urge any of you who are still interested to consider taking one of these workshops when you get the chance. (Check out the link above.)

Now I’m trying to get well so I can take on some of the delicious, exciting projects that await me this year. I just got a lovely verdigris trellis and some blue-gray slate pieces from Freecycle to put in the garden. The Universe smiles on our Island paradise.

Advice for Aspiring Writers: Let the work take you where it will — don’t force it. The characters know what they want to say. So does the poem. So do the beads. Shut up and follow.

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