“When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they're going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It's a bit like saying, “If I jog, I'll be a much better person.” “If I could only get a nicer house, I'd be a better person.” If I could meditate and calm down, I'd be a better person.”… But loving-kindness–maitri–toward ourselves doesn't mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to throw ourselves away and become something better. It's about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That's the ground, that's what we study, that's what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”
~ Pema Chodron, on the Buddhist practice of maitri... ~
The first " 'Maitri' Love Basket," almost finished...
First, let me make it clear that these bags are not named "Maitri" bags after my own name, but Maitri is my real legal name and was taken from the Buddhist teaching of maitri, which is about loving-kindness and compassion, and that you must first find it for yourself before you have it to give to another (There is much more written about the taking of this name on the Dragonfly Cottage main website.). We cannot give from an empty well. I took the name, not because I felt I had achieved this state, but to remind me to never stop working toward it. It is like the Mindfulness Bell I wear, to help remind me to live in the moment. These are both fleeting states and we must continually work at attaining them. That's why they, like meditation, are called "practices."
Now of course there are many times we lose our connection of love within ourselves, and we sink into a low place, feeling unloved and having nothing to give to those around us, and it came to me that if I created a basket of sorts that one might put in a very special place -- an altar, a special corner, a special room, wherever -- and fill it over time with the things that we love -- photos that touch us deeply and remind us of wonderful times and places and make us smile; a couple of favorite books that bring us back to that tender place of love within ourselves; perhaps a journal and a pen; prayer beads -- whether rosary, mala, or whatever you hold sacred; things that represent spirit to you; perhaps crystals or stones, or special cards or fetishes; candles (to light outside of the basket); a favorite c.d. of soothing music; anything that helps you reconnect to the Spirit within you, the love that you know that is there, or to help you grow toward it, you would have a very special place to go when you were feeling down to retrieve that love connection, and feel better.
Inside of Basket... roughly 12"x 20", handles not finished...
The handles are 20 gauge gold wire wrapped very tightly (hard on the fingers!) with a very beautiful yarn I spun for Cecelia, my last piece of wearable art, a Rainbow Serpent of the Dreamtime, which is in my etsy shop, Dragonfly Cottage Design Studio, and where this basket is soon headed. It is comprised of 12 different fibers, four of which are man-made fibers that sparkle, and are quite tightly attached to the bag, but it is not meant to be carried by the handles, however, as when full it would likely not stand up to the weight. The bag itself is made of several of my handspun yarns, mostly wools, silk, colorful silk noils, as well, llama, and vintage fabrics. The fringe is vintage velvet in an array of colors.
Closeup of inside of basket. The sides currently are 6"
tall but the empty the bag "slouches!" It will be a little
taller as it fills with your cherished items, and there
will be a couple more crocheted edges...
Delicate little bows of vintage fabric inside to remind
one of all of the beauty they hold inside, if only they
have eyes to see...
Attached to one of the handles of the basket
is a beautiful faceted piece of rose quartz,
long known as the stone of unconditional
love, and love in it's many forms. Each
basket will be blessed with love in
abundance, no two ever alike...
I just wanted to share this work I am doing with you. It will be up in my shop tomorrow or the next day. Until then, find that warm, tender place of love inside of you, and pass it on...
Blessings to one and all,