Tie Dye Zen

tiedyezen

Tie dye is a good metaphor for my life.  I think I can control it, but I can’t.  Not really.  I try, but it does its own thing.  I can fold and tie garments to create certain patterns, vary colors and thickness of the dye, and attempt to create what I see in my head.  Nope.  It rarely happens.  The dye will travel on the damp cloth to unexpected places, colors will blend and break at odd times.  The final product is always a surprise.   I have found that people and life events act much the same way.

If you are of a meditative frame of mind, tie-dye is a good exercise in letting go.  When I am on the cushion watching my breath I never know what is going to come up and what I am going to have to face just as I never really know how my tie-dye will turn out.  I often start out with a shirt and an expectation of the finished product. I often enter into a meditation session expecting/ wanting a certain outcome.

I plop my butt on my cushion, set the timer, and settle in and hope to come out of my session a little bit closer to enlightenment.   Most often I end the session with numb feet as memories and emotions surface and the monkey mind chatters away.  I focus on my breathing, counting breaths, and suddenly discover I have lost count.  I start over and over and over.  Sometimes I end the session crying, other times laughing, often merely relieved that I got through it.

Dying can be like that.  The studio in the garage can be uncomfortably hot and dying is a messy proposition anyway.  I fold and tie a shirt, plop it on the rack over the sink, pick up a bottle of dye and apply it.  Sometimes my hand shakes, sometimes the dye comes out of the bottle too fast or not fast enough, sometimes I am distracted by other things and put the dye in the wrong place or pick up the bottle of dark blue when I wanted black.  I prep a certain number of garments to dye in one session and I set a timer for the number of minutes I want to meditate.  There are days when I get to the end of the stack and am happy it is over because the dye, like my thoughts, was not doing what I wanted it to do.

Just as the effects of meditation will carry over once your session has ended, dyed garments have to “cook” for a while in order for the dye to bind with the fibers.  After the “cooking” period the garments are washed out to remove excess dye. Life events can “washout” the endorphins produced by the meditative state.  Dying creates permanent changes to a garment and regular meditation creates permanent changes to the brain.  Both processes are sloppy and messy and emotional.

The chaos in a dye studio is not obvious to someone buying a shirt at a festival and the chaos of meditation is not obvious to someone who is not on the cushion.  Colorful garments flapping in the breeze do not seem to have anything in common with a blank-faced someone sitting still.

But the process is the same.  I have to let go of my expectations of what the combination of dye and fiber will do as I have to let go of the emotions and memories that surface when I sit and my expectations of what life will bring me.  There is peace in that. Giving up the constant need to control what is happening, whether it be in dying or human interactions creates enormous freedom and makes room for boundless joy.

 

Finally Back At It

blueombre

This is an experiment, not a production piece but I am finally back at it!  It is exciting to see if I can make the shirt that is in my head.  If it turns out the way I want it to I will write down what I have done and do it again.  In the meantime, I have an appointment in a couple of hours and will show up with bright blue hands. *Shrug*. . . . after all, it IS the Equinox today and I often make jokes about painting myself blue on high holy days.

Happy Spring, ya’ll.  Stay tuned.

Of Hearts and Such

hearts and bars

I went for a screening EKG yesterday and was told that it looks like I have had a heart attack; one of those silent, sneaky ones that tend to happen to women; especially postmenopausal diabetic women with polycystic ovarian disease.  I have been referred to a cardiologist and expect the lecture on losing weight, taking statins, and exercising.  Trying hard not to freak out too much (no pun intended) but my immediate reaction is, “Well ,no wonder I have felt like crap for so long!” and trying to come up with a plan to manage yet another chronic condition.  I was very sick all last fall, 3 straight months of one damned thing after another, knocked flat on my back, and I am just now recovering. I think the infarction probably happened sometime then.  I am trying not to be too paranoid about thinking that every twinge is angina now.

Ironically, a friend who was practicing her Reiki nailed it many months ago.  She said she felt something going on with my heart and I blew her off.  In addition to all the physical stuff happening last fall, there was some serious emotional turmoil as well.  I have often said that I felt like that particular person ripped out my heart and stomped on it.  I had no clue that could be taken literally.  In spite of the emotional pain, he acted as a catalyst for my growth and dredged up some long-buried crap that I needed to face and clear out. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was productive.

On the dying side (after all, isn’t that what this blog is supposed to be about?):  It has been frigging cold here.  Snow flurries and snow on the mountain tops yesterday morning and very windy, which causes the cold to bite through to the bones. Typical Spring weather in western NC.   I am itching to get back into the studio, got some special orders for friends I need to get done.  And a bit of a whine here; standing on cold concrete in an un heated garage is not my favorite thing to do, even with a kerosene heater.

I have bought a planner called The Freedom Journal, which is specifically for those of us who are trying to be self-employed.  I have committed to spending 2 hours a day minimum in the studio no matter what, even if it is just sweeping the floors and cleaning.  Dying is a messy art.  Wish me luck folks, and send good vibes.  I need all the help I can get and being accountable to you will go a long way toward me getting stuff done.  My goal for the next 100 days is to get all 60ish of my blank shirts dyed, photographed, and posted on Shopify.  Stay tuned.

Much love to you all.  Stay warm.

 

Rebounding

RainbowGreetings, Beloveds.  I am on a manic rebound after being sick since the end of September.  There has been a trip to urgent care, 2 allergic drug reactions, constant antibiotics and antivirals,  and a hospitalization through the emergency room for which my insurance company has denied coverage.  And those are just the highlights.

Today is the first day since I don’t remember when that I have not been nauseated, in pain, or hugging the toilet.  It’s a hell of a way to lose 10 pounds.  I actually slept more than 4 hours in a row and was able to tolerate real Greek food yesterday without an immediate trip to the toilet within an hour of eating.  I went adventuring with my sister, had good food, and saw a wonderful movie.  I couldn’t ask for a better day or more fun.  It was sorely needed.

Somewhere in all the chaos and depression I initiated the process of writing a formal business plan and applying for grant funding to expand and develop Freak Flag Dye Company.  As part of the rebound my head is bursting with creative ideas and grand schemes.  I am rushing to get all the details on paper before I forget them and formulate plans to see them come to pass.  Reality will eventually settle in and I will have to buckle down and do the grunt work.  I am looking forward to seeing what eventually manifests. My experience at the moment is much like being inside a freshly shaken snow globe.

So. . . .deep breath. . . a few grounding exercises and hugs from my friends. . . additions to the ongoing list in my daily gratitude journal. . .time to get real.  Today I feel bulletproof, tomorrow I may be curled up under my blankie crying again.

Wish me luck.  Much love to you all.

 

Unexpected Blessing

workspace

I wrote yesterday about wanting to renovate my workspace.  I had been looking for a grant/ business loan or whatever in order to finance it. After spilling my guts in the previous post I pulled a very large check out of the mailbox.  It was an insurance reimbursement from a medical issue almost 4 years ago that I had forgotten about.  It is just enough to do what I need to do if managed carefully.

I am still in tears over it.