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The Weavers Journal is designed to support a whole life especially challenging when it embraces circumstances and personal objectives that typically clash! Pages From My Journal blog gives examples of how I use life-weaving patterns to create continuity between the two. Grid, flow, binding, and textural patterns are artful approaches to navigating the difficult territory when collisions are beyond ones control. This war-zone is extensive and often includes: overwhelming responsibilities at home, unrealistic demands at work, health issues due to stress, and constantly trying to make ends meet financially.
The art of life-weaving transforms the relationship between personal objectives and the ever-threatening world of constraint. A friend summed up the cost, in her life, of imbalance between the threads of personal objectives and dis-chords in the social fabric at large: I do not want my job to be what my life is about.
The key is finding the right pattern to avoid a tear in your desired tapestry of life. Life-weaving has parallels to the martial art Aikido. My daughters Aikido instructor told her on the first day of class: If an assailant grabs you by the wrist, this is the only thing he is controlling. You have the rest of your body to free yourself. Instead of colliding with a circumstance or withering at its scalding grip, move closer in toward the problem.
This is like weaving an image of a flower to its surrounding background rather than trying to structure it outside of its support, impossible to do. An Aikido artist moves closer to the enemy instead of fleeing. With less separation, it is difficult to wield a fatal blow; the criminal cannot take aim. The right weaving pattern personal strategy to create order (grid), ease (flow), bring a sense of solace (binding), and meaning (textural)can be more than personally liberating.
Another surprising focus in Aikido, according to the instructor: protecting an assailant from doing something they will deeply regret in the future. Finding the right pattern is how to assert the value of ones life while preventing a toxic social circumstance from its theft of a vital contribution to society that perhaps could be its detoxification. Pages From My Journal blog is an ongoing story of the challenges I face as I emerge out of the shadows with a very new process-based perspective. I cannot control the circumstance of frequent difficult reactions or in many cases, a lack of response.
I have stayed in the shadows most of my life to avoid personal objectives colliding with mainstream culture. Thousands of heroes both past and present, with many different faces have helped me by reinforcing the same message about the wholeness of life. Also, I learned that, along the way, they unanimously experienced dismissive or hostile reactions wielded by mainstream culture.
Joseph Campbell in The Hero With a Thousand Faces* describes the paradoxical, supremely difficult threshold-crossing of the heros return from the mystic realm into the land of common day. The status quo will never embrace challenges to its accepted fragmented reality. Change is threatening; reactions have me by the wrist. Campbells words resonate:
I am re-enter[ing] with [my] boon the long-forgotten atmosphere where men [and women] who were fractions imagine themselves to be complete. [I have] yet to confront society with what [amounts to an] earth-shattering, life-redeeming elixir, and take the blow of reasonable queries, hard-resentment, and good people at a loss to comprehend.
To avoid getting hit, I move closer to the problem. The heat of an existential threat is almost too hot to bear. I feel like a morel mushroom whose spores require a forest fire to germinate. At the second before being incinerated by my circumstance, I re-discover my grid and binding patterns so my spores can germinate undisturbed in the heart of the beast, the social fabric. My grid pattern mantra is stand silently unmoved. Not a lack of flexibility in fact, just the opposite. I weave that pattern by bending my ego very low to the ground, allowing many types of blows from the land of the common day to whiz past.
Standing silently unmoved avoids ego-driven tendencies: be defensive, stick rigidly to my principles, become self-righteous, or be tough. These make me vulnerable to getting whacked when they separate me within striking range. Bending the ego is a lively Aikido sort of dance. I move silently, unmoved by the circumstance using the rest of my body, or grid pattern, to free myself.
In this situation, I also utilize my favorite binding pattern: regular weaving, cooking, gardening, swimming, and biking. These nourish and give me strength to stand silently unmoved. This powerful binding pattern, a down-to-earth-life, helps me dodge the high-swinging and sometimes low-blows from the land of the common day.
Suzanne, March 2018 *Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1973, pg. 216