Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Art of Compassionate Intention

From the moment, as a toddler, I could sit up and hold a crayon; I have been committed to making marks on paper, in clay, with metal, fibers, cameras, and computers.  I have taught art to all age groups, worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.  I have never encountered an art medium that I did not want to incorporate into my ever growing open ended list of artistic passions.

For most of my life my art was just that my art . . . and then it all changed.  Spiritual intentions began to take on a physical form.  For me, from the ashes of tragedy rose the Phoenix of hope, love, and compassion . . . and my work changed.

It began so very simply by trading my art for knitting needles and crochet hooks.  I changed the focus of my grief to knitting and crocheting prayers of love, compassion, and protection into hats.  These hats were made without patterns, from scraps of yarn, and definitely one of a kind.  I gave these things to anyone that wanted them, and they became lovies, snugglies, and bits of security to help hold all of us together.  I had never heard of prayer shawls and had no idea that it was possible to extend love and compassion beyond my physical being.  As time went on and spirits began to heal, I felt the need to keep my fingers and hands busy by returning to my work in fibers, metal, and clay.  But this time I consciously added healing loving compassionate prayers and chants to everything I made.  I work at making positive intentions visible in my spirit dolls, rattles, and begging bowls.

I'll begin by describing the begging bowls.

Buddhist monks hold out their bowls, with non-attachment, they accept whatever is offered.  I made this bowl by thickly rolling out clay and then pressing it into a net lined mold.  I purposefully made this bowl heavy to remind us of our connection to this world, to the earth, and to the clay from which it was made.  Instead of a smooth interior surface I chose to push my fingers deeply into the clay making my fingerprints, my touch evident.  This is to remind us of the lives we touch and the lives that touch us.  When you hold one of these bowls you can feel the deeply etched marks of the nets.  These nets can be symbols of how nets may hold, catch, carry, entangle, support, or simply give us something to cling to . . . or to the simple symbol of a safety net.  These bowls can hold our positive intentions for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our world.  We all experience moments of loss, stress, anxiety, anger, fear, peace, hope, love, compassion, and joy.  May these bowls be filled with what we really need.  May we find our own path of positive intention.