Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Does This Path Have Heart?

I’m avoiding working on my flower quilt. It’s ready to stitch, and I’m in the “fear-of-messing-it-up” phase, so instead I’m finding ways to procrastinate. This is a piece I finished a while back, but it needed to be trimmed and have the binding sewn on:

this_path

A close-up of the beading at the top:

this_path_closeup

I quilted this piece on plain, white muslin, then colored it with Neocolor water-soluble crayons. Then I started beading, and I just couldn’t stop! The finished size is 10x14".

I call this “Does This Path Have Heart?” from Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan. This is what kept running through my mind as was working on it. Castaneda, quoting don Juan, a Yaqui Indian, writes:

Look at every path closely and deliberately. Does this path have heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t.

One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

A path without heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy, it does not make you work at liking it.”

This idea, of questioning whether a path has heart, is one I try to live by every day. At the end of my life, I hope that I can say that, most of the time anyway, I at least tried every day to choose the path with heart.

And speaking of, today is my one-year “anniversary” (I hate to use such a positive word for such a negative event) of being stricken with a brutal case of pancreatitis. I feel lucky to be alive, since the doctors say I almost died. I’m still wrestling with the physical after-effects of the ailment, but I feel stronger every day and more hopeful for the future. I’ll be having major surgery on June 1st to clean out some infected debris in my pancreas, and the thought of another hospital stay (after several months in the hospital last year) terrifies me. I’m trying not to panic or let that weigh too heavily on me right now. Instead, I’m working on meditating, deep-breathing, and positive visualization of the experience.

7 comments:

Carole said...

Michelle, this is a lovely piece and to read of your 'narrow escape' with Pancreatitis... calm thoughts, etc. re: your upcoming surgery and hospital stay, I see that projected in this lovely piece. Will you take it to the hospital with you... as a 'positive' in what can feel like a sterile environment? It will remind you to stay calm, help you focus on the art you will do when you are healed .... plus EVERYONE will love it... it will be a talking point... [all in MHO].
And yes, it does 'have a heart'....

pcoxdesign said...

It does have a heart! Beautiful piece. Good luck with the surgery.

norma said...

It's lovely and certainly depicts your path to wellness. I'd like to see a closer view so that I could see what those three items are on the top.

JYA Fiberarts said...

I like the depth of this piece. I think you are following this path to a good place in your life and agree that you should take it with you for your hospital stay. You create you own environment for wellness. This work is lovely.

TextileTraveler said...

Carole & JYA, what a lovely idea. I WILL take this to the hospital with me! Norma, thanks for the suggestion; I've added a close-up pic. The 3 items at the top are flat abalone shells with holes punched in them, with little swags beaded on top. To all of you, thank for your feedback!

Judy Alexander said...

Beautiful work. I agree that you should take this with you to the hospital. Think positive thoughts and let us know as soon as possible how you are doing after the surgery.

Fannie said...

yes, choose the path with heart. My thoughts are with you. Thanks for sharing your heart.