New Moons and Weaving Beauty
“I don’t care how long it takes me; I’m going somewhere beautiful.”
I wrote those words in my journal and then on my whiteboard because …
I wanted a daily reminder to let beauty guide me.
The ups and downs of running a solo-business take a toll on our emotional and physical well-being. The graveyard of products, collaborations that don’t work out, clients who don’t return to buy more, and traction – now slipping back into confusion is naturally discouraging.
What can we do to deepen our experience
rather than to see it as a string of failures?
There is a myth, a story told by Michael Meade of the weaving woman, it comes from “Why The World Doesn’t End” and it tells of a cave in which an old woman (mother nature) spends her time weaving a never-ending garment.
She wants to fashion the most beautiful garment in the whole world. She has been at this weaving project for a long time and has reached the point of making a fringe for the edge of her exquisitely designed cloak. She wants that fringe to be special; wants it to be meaningful as well as elegant, so she weaves it with porcupine quills. She likes the idea of using something that could poke you as an element of beauty; she likes turning things around and seeing life from odd angles.
The only time she interrupts her weaving work is when she goes to stir the soup that simmers in a great cauldron at the back of the cave. The simmering stew contains all the seeds and roots that become the grains and plants and herbs that sprout up all over the surface of the earth. If the old woman fails to stir the ancient stew once in awhile, the fire will scorch the ingredients, and there is no telling what troubles might result from that.
So the old woman divides her efforts between weaving the exquisite cloak and stirring the elemental soup.
In a sense, she is responsible for weaving things together as well as for stirring everything up.
As the old woman shuffles across the floor and makes her way to the of the ancient cave, a black dog watches her every move. As she begins stirring the soup to sustain the seeds, the black dog moves to where the weaving lies on the floor of the cave. The dog picks up a loose thread with its teeth and begins pulling on it. As the black dog pulls on the loose thread, the beautiful garment starts to unravel.
As the great stew is being stirred up, the elegant garment comes apart and becomes a chaotic mess on the floor.
What she has woven with such care has been pulled apart. She ignores the presence of the black dog as she stares intently at the tangle of undone threads and distorted patterns. She stands quietly and looks upon what remains. After a while, she bends down, picks up a loose thread, and begins to weave the whole thing again. As she pulls thread after thread from the chaotic mess, she begins again to imagine the most beautiful garment in the whole world.
As she weaves, new visions and elegant designs appear before her, and her old hands begin to knowingly give them vibrant shape.
Soon she has forgotten the cloak she was weaving before as she concentrates on capturing the new design and weaving it into the most beautiful garment ever seen in the world.
On hearing this story, my first response is “oh, what is the use.” A woman’s work is never done – as the saying goes. When our work unravels, it seems like nothing will ever work out.
It is hard to be consistent and focused on one thing when our attention and care is divided among all we love and nurture. When faced with the inevitable undoing, it is important to know it is part of the creative process and how we do our best work.
We need myths to remind us.
The garment had unraveled, “She stood quietly and looked upon what remained.”
I am writing this on the eve of the New Moon in Scorpio, which is about death and rebirth. Reminded by new moons and through myth that in this world I will experience loss, chaos, times of trouble, unraveling, death, and the joy of rediscovering, creating, and giving life to what I love again and again.
It isn’t about going somewhere beautiful. It is about seeing the beauty of beginnings and endings. The continuation of creation has three parts: weaving beauty, sustaining the world, the unraveling.
It is said that the cave where the old woman weaves is the cave of knowledge. In other words, it is found in the depths of the human soul.
As Thomas Moore says so beautifully:
repeats and reprises, echoing ancient themes common
If you would share in the comments:
I’d love to hear your experience and how you have come to see a graveyard of products as “what remains.” Do you continue to build on what you’ve created in the past?
Do you have to let some things go to give life to what is emerging?
As we share our stories with each other, we come to know we are not alone.
Nothing has gone wrong.