I was writing an email to my mother yesterday, attaching photos of a poncho I had just finished knitting. I love this poncho, simple stitches with soft warm yarn, space to improvise and add my own blocks of additional pattern and color to what was designed to be a solid color piece.
I shared with her that this time I actually made something for myself. We had talked about this over the holidays, noting that that just about everything I have ever made, except maybe for those first clothes as a teenager, have always been gifts, things made for another’s body, another’s home, another’s life. Searching my archive of all lovingly made things confirmed that this poncho, made just for me, is indeed a historic event.
Not surprisingly, the night before was the monthly new moon gathering of women friends in the area. After a delicious pot luck meal and a short meditation, we sat around our hostess’s dining room table making valentines….for ourselves. Another first. I was frozen for a few minutes contemplating the vast array of papers, old calendars, pictures, and fabrics to work with. Me making a valentine just for me? There wasn’t much talking at first as we all reached for various things, testing the waters, letting go of all ideas of what a valentine for the self might look like. Eventually an easy banter began. As if each of us had been able to slip into a space that could reflect back how love might be received. Once there, it felt like automatic pilot, scissors cutting, needles sewing, paper ripping, pens writing, bottles gluing.
Looking at my valentine made for me now, I feel the grip of awe I sometimes feel when I look at one of my finished quilts, the “where in the world did this come from?”
It’s not just an image, but a series of images formed into a three dimensional object. It is constructed in a way that invites a peeling away of the layers. It holds in its center a tiny cootie catcher which is filled with simple messages of love. Simultaneously, I look up and out at the quilt spread out on a table in the next room, which in the past week, I have fallen in love with all over again.
I had to wait a long time for inspiration to come, to lead me to join together two unfinished pieces that wanted to be finished. There is a density of color and movement now visible in a way I can actually receive and feel.
It moves me. It inspires me to keep exploring what is here. Grateful. Humbled by just how significantly I had to wait. Thinking of the scene in the woods that day, of catching a veil of snow through the trees and sun that signaled passage into the mystery again…
I open my Valentine to me. Remove the glistening red ribbon, fold back the lace encrusted folds of a triad to images that also move me, food and mandalas and hearts combined.
The tiny cootie catcher beckons play. Smile.
On this Valentine’s Day, it offers messages from this heart of mine to yours, “You are Joy”, “You are Beautiful”, “You are True”,