Category Archives: Spirituality

Back to my loom

My loom has been sitting idle for a year and a month, but this past week I warped it and began a custom wall hanging. It felt truly wonderful. I look forward to posting a photo of it when it is completed. I’m finally using the fabrics I pulled from my stash so many months ago that were inspired by the paintings of my dear friend, Donna Forgacs. (You can see Donna’s paintings in an earlier post.)

"Unfurling October's Promise", which was exhibited in the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape, a juried exhibit in October and November 2015

“Unfurling October’s Promise”, which was hanging in the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape juried exhibit in October and November 2015

My artistic energy has been focused on quilted fiber art this past year, the first being a joint effort with 8 other fiber artists for a collaborative exhibit with the Gathering Artists called Homage to Barns, in October and November at the Community Arts Center in Danville, KY.

During the same time and venue, I had a piece in a juried show, Horizon: Contemporary Landscapes, which was a quilted autumn landscape titled “Unfurling October’s Promise”. This piece stretched my art quilt skills quite a bit and was so much fun to create.

Most recently, a winter scene, also a quilted piece titled “Blissful Release”, was hanging in the invitational exhibit, also at the Community Arts Center, called New Year New Art, which ended this past weekend. This piece expresses a spiritual emotion from deep within, something I hope to do more of in my future work.

"Blissful Release", exhibited in New Year New Art, an invitational exhibit just ending.

“Blissful Release”, exhibited in New Year New Art, an invitational exhibit just ending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Compost happens

Composting Shaker-style

Composting Shaker-style

“We think of creation in terms of growth, but the intelligence of decay is just as astonishingly coherent and sophisticated. Rotting is creation, too, in all its glory.” (Innes, 2003)

There are a number of things we can always count on in this world. Seasons change, grass grows, the sun rises (though that is only true from our very limited viewpoint, of course). And, yes, we can be sure that compost happens.

It boggles the mind to imagine the myriad organisms and processes that naturally and automatically create living compost from organic matter, whether it be under your feet in the woods or in a pile in the garden.

As I wrote in an Earth Day post three years ago, “did you know that healthy soil should have 600 million bacteria in a teaspoon? There should also be tens of thousands of protozoa and miles of fungal hyphae. If all these little friends were in our soil, the plants which feed us wouldn’t need fungicides or bactericides.

It is because of this that I’m a compost fanatic. We compost all the vegetable trimmings from the kitchen, all the weeds and spent plants from the garden, and most everything else that will decompose, in a huge compost pile. The compost process requires and encourages the very life needed for healthy soil. The finished compost added back on your vegetable and fruit beds is like a shot in the arm for your garden.”

You’ve probably heard the Shaker song that tells us, “’tis a gift to be simple”. We have adopted a version the very simple Shaker-style of composting. We start a new pile each spring, which as you can see in the photo, gets very large. We simply let it compost through the summer, fall and winter, and by spring it has become rich, black soil, teeming with life. It is ready to be distributed throughout the garden, with reverence and gratitude.

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Earth Day

Kokopeli in the garden on Earth Day

Kokopeli in our medicine wheel garden on Earth Day

“Today, look at the blue sky, hear the grass growing beneath your feet, inhale the scent of spring, let the fruits of the earth linger on your tongue, reach out and embrace those you love. Ask Spirit to awaken your awareness to the sacredness of your sensory perceptions.” (Ban Breathnach, 1995)

I was surprised to learn that this is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. (Check out the link at the end of this post if you are interested in the history of this celebration.)

On this Earth Day, I am honored to be a guest blogger for my fellow artist, gardener and friend, Kathleen O’Brien (http://kathleen-obrien.com/finding-purpose/). In the post, titled Finding Purpose, I pointed out that “it seems like honoring the source of everything we eat, breath, drink, and well…everything, should get more than a day, don’t you think?” I hope you’ll jump over to Kathleen’s blog and read the whole post, learn about an upcoming talk I will be giving at an event she will be hosting on May 5th, and see a couple more photos of our garden.

I hope you have a wonderful Earth Day.

Oh, and here is the link for the history of Earth Day:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/environmental-policy/history-of-earth-day-zmgz14amzsto.aspx?newsletter=1&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=SLCS%20eNews&utm_campaign=04.22.15%20MEN%20SLCS%20eNews

Beginnings and endings

A Table Rug given to Jim and Carla

Inspired by the chakras, this Table Rug was a gift for Carla and Jim. Carla was always a cheerleader for my weaving for which I am so grateful.

Life on this planet is such a mystery; at the beginning, at the end and all throughout. Though this story weighs too heavily on the predestination end of the continuum for my tastes, I enjoyed the old Jewish myth where a soul is given a choice to come into the physical universe after being “granted complete foreknowledge of the life it is about to enter, [seeing] everything displayed before it, as if on a movie screen, but collapsed into a timeless less-than-a-moment…And in order to make things more interesting, a split second before the sperm pierces egg…it forgets everything.” (Mitchell, 1991)

The veil of forgetting that the story describes certainly seems real. According to Emmanuel, “When you enter into the womb you begin to acclimate to a limited reality…Somewhere you hear a baby crying and you know that’s you…Identification with that ‘you-ness’ takes many months, indeed years, to accomplish.” (Rodegast, 1985)

It has been fun (and sometimes trying) to watch the development of necessary, healthy egos, first in our children and more recently with our grandchildren. This “sense of a personal self, separate from the rest of existence” (Innes, 2003), is actually just our perception of ourselves. I can’t help but smile when the youngest in our clan, who at two is in the throes of this ego emergence, announces on a regular basis, “I name Sam!” The “I” we perceive is constantly changing, though; “too young and then suddenly too old” (ibid.). (Going out on a limb, here, we eventually get glimpses of how we are not a separate “I” at all but “one partial expression of the divine whole” (Mitchell, 1991), but that is another story to tell.)

At my age it is expected that one will begin to experience more of life’s endings. Death lost a great deal of its fearful grip on me when I read in Emmanuel’s Book many years ago, “Death is like taking off a tight shoe.” (Rodegast, 1985) I immediately thought of this quote a few days ago when I lost a dear friend, Carla L. Rueckert.

As I wrote elsewhere, she is “a powerful soul with unblinking faith [who] has no doubt burst through to the other side with her voice raised in a song of joy and skipping and dancing on new legs”. Carla was quite a cheerleader for our homesteading adventure, living it vicariously but kept from such a lifestyle herself by her longtime physical restrictions.

Her life epitomized the following Q’uote, which from her own lips was channeled: “Each came into the world to be the light of the world; each has the capacity to be the hands, the arms, the loving hearts, the loving mouths of the Creator that speak, that reach to hug, that curve to smile and stop to recognize and honor the divinity of each other self. This principle that is you is unique, and yet you carry crystal within you through which the light may shine. (L/L Research, 2002) We will miss your light, Carla.

Words

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.    ~Ecclesiastes 1:9
"Daystar Breaking"

“Daystar Breaking”, Wall Hanging created by Fox Hutt

I mentioned in a recent post the difficulty of using words to express spiritual concepts, but Ken Wilber takes that a step further by saying words cannot really capture any direct experience.

“Sunsets, eating cake, listening to Bach, riding a bike, getting drunk and throwing up–believe me, none of those are captured in words. And thus, so what if spiritual experiences can’t be captured by words either?” (Wilber, 2004)

He goes on to say that “If you haven’t had the experience of [say] ‘dog’ or…’Emptiness’, merely adding more and more words will never, under any circumstances, convey it.”

Besides, anything that I might have to say about spirituality has been said much more eloquently before. Perhaps trying to express such concepts to each other with words shouldn’t even be necessary. Jeremiah (31:33) tells us of the Creator, “I have put my truth in your innermost mind, and I have written it in your heart”. (Mitchell, 1991)

The Buddha knew this to be true. Wu Ch’eng-en told about a group who came from China to receive Buddhist scriptures. The leader complained about “..the fraudulent delivery of goods. They gave us blank copies to take away; I ask you, what is the good of that to us?”

“You needn’t shout,” said the Buddha smiling. “…As a matter of fact, it is such blank scrolls as these that are the true scriptures. But I quite see that the people of China are too foolish and ignorant to believe this, so there is nothing for it but to give them copies with some writing on.” Huxley (1945)

Becoming a Buddha is a worthy goal, but even so, until then, I guess we will need to use words as a vehicle to carry us to a place where, once we arrive, we find that “no vehicle was necessary or even possible” (Wilber, 2004).

 

 

 

Sighs of spring

 

Frog on my frog

Well-placed peeper

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Two of the most portentous indications of spring at our house made themselves known a few days ago. One was positive and the other less so.

The first was the arrival of ants on the kitchen counter. Ants offer me quite a challenge, not only in their persistence in spite of our determination to keep them outside, but also due to my aversion to ending the life of another unnecessarily. For some reason dispatching damaging insect pests in the garden does not bother me (too much). Though they are just doing their thing, they put our livelihood at risk by jeopardizing our crops, so I say sorry little friends, and to myself chant “I am Shiva the destroyer”, knowing that I am a part of the natural process of creation and destruction on this planet.

It seems, though, that ants doing their thing on my counter shouldn’t be that big a deal. Unfortunately, I know they can overrun the place and when they find their way into the Solarium, they are quite the farmers, raising unwelcome scale and aphids on my plants for their food sources in a way similar to humans who raise cows for milk.

In the end, I sigh and make a solution of borax and sugar and put it in a shallow lid on the counter so, hopefully, the little guys will take some home to wipe out one of the gazillion colonies of ants. I tell them I’m sorry and try not to feel guilty.

On the joyous side, I heard the peepers for the first time this year! Typically, they start singing in mid- to late-February, and even occasionally during a warm spell in January,  but in the last few years they have slumbered long and hard with the cold winters and late springs. They always give me a sigh of relief and the knowledge that, yes, I can make it through the rest of the winter. More commonly known as tree frogs, I found one sitting on a cast iron frog in my Solarium a few years ago. I was delighted that it waited for me to return with my camera.

Happy Spring to you all.

My Intention…

Perennial Wisdom Starts at the Roots

Perennial Wisdom Starts at the Roots (“Tree of Life”, by Laura Zollar)

 

In a past blog posting I wrote about how I find myself able to share experiences about my weaving and gardening pretty readily, but that writing about my spirituality is difficult and even troublesome at times. On December 9, 2011, I wrote:

I believe some of the difficulty lies in trying to use words to express something that exists in a realm where concepts and feelings are the norm and where words fall short. I am also a little self-conscious about having such non-traditional, eclectic beliefs and wonder how many of those who might read my blog are even interested. Even so, I will continue to throw in some of my spiritual thoughts. Feel free to skim or skip if it isn’t your cup of tea.

I have devoted much of my personal study of religion and spirituality to discovering for myself the commonalities among the spiritual traditions on this planet, that which is called perennial philosophy by author Aldous Huxley (1945), in a book by the same name. The core truths of all the traditions are remarkably similar and I find oftentimes they are in sync with my inner knowing and faith.

I strongly believe that “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know” and so I would never try to tell anyone else what she or he should believe. I have changed my mind numerous times over my 64 years of living on this Earth, so how can I presume to think I’m right this time!

Even so, as Ken Wilber (1999) encourages in his book, One Taste, “You might be right in your communication, and you might be wrong, but that doesn’t matter…[speak] your vision with passion…[while] embracing absolute tolerance for all views”.

This will be my intention.

(I found the tree artwork in my files. I’m afraid I didn’t keep the source but I suspect it was on Pinterest. Thank you to the artist for this lovely piece. P.S. on 9/29/15: I received a nice e-mail from Carrie informing me that the tree painting is titled ” Tree of Life” and was created by Laura Zollar. You can see more of her work at http://laurazollar.com Thanks, Carrie, for the heads up!)

Whew!

I’ve been working all day to rebuild my web site. I am moving it to a new hosting company, Laymon Designs, in Harrodsburg. My mentor, Kathleen O’Brien, who I’ve mentioned in past postings, recommended them to me and I have been thrilled so far. It is a relief to have a local company who actually answers their own phone!

It has been quite a project but I’m pretty happy with the result. It will simplify things considerable since my blog will be on my one and only web site, lacetree.com. I’ve copied all my older blog posts so you can go back and look at the history of this blog if you are interested.

I’ve been adding photos and descriptions of all my inventory, too, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around at my handwoven fiber art and wearable art.

This is a busy time of the year with the garden in full swing, but we are having a lovely cool rainy day in the midst of hot and humid weather so it is nice to have a day inside to do this work. It has been a pretty good garden year, not too wet and not too dry. I suppose Goldilocks would say it has been just right. We have continued to have fungal diseases which began in the spring and the insect of the year has been the incredibly pesky flea beetles.

Spiritually I have been doing some bungee jumping with incredible lows and wonderful highs. Both my parents passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease since February, four months apart, but the catalyst generated with their passing and the aftermath has fueled much spiritual growth.

I believe I will be able to post regularly now, at least that is my goal, so until next time I leave you in…

Love and light, Fox

 

Getting the juices flowing again

Blogging has taken a back seat to family and other issues for some time, but with the new life of spring, I’m feeling my blogging juices flow again.

My winter offered several crises giving me much spiritual “grist for the mill”, as a good friend of mine calls it. I believe I have grown with the challenges I have faced and continue to face, though, and I am so glad for the change in the weather which has lightened my mood and given me new eyes for the events as they unfold.

I have spent much of this last week in the garden, weeding, moving trees and brambles to their new locations, and today putting in a bed of broccoli I had started in the greenhouse a month or so ago. The winter lettuce is lush and baby lettuce and greens are up. The winter greens have bolted and so the timing is working well.

The hoop houses were wonderful this year. Our winter harvest was the best yet. I need to work on a way to deal with the gales which played havoc with the plastic covers, but I have a few ideas which I’ll fill you in on when I figure it all out.

Work in my studio has been spotty, too, with my attention in other directions, but I am working on a custom rug right now and have many projects planned for the coming months. It works well to do my garden chores in the cool mornings and evenings and then spend time in the studio during the heat of the day and I’m feeling excited and inspired about the upcoming work and play with my garden and my art.

I’ve mentioned before my friend, Kathleen O’Brien, who sparked the idea and set me on the path of trying to integrate my spiritual life, my gardening and my art, which are all interests we share. She suggested this blog as a way to work on that process.

Kathleen has been such an inspiration to me in many ways. I am so entranced with her art, which is filled with visions of nature and spiritual geometry of which I am also so connected. She also has been such a role model for me through the way she gets her art out into the world.

I’d like to tell you about her exhibit I am hoping to see this month. Realms of Wonder is Kathleen’s solo exhibit at the MS Rezny Gallery in Lexington, which began on April 1st and will be open until the end of the month.

Thanks! Happy Spring!

Love and light, Fox

Synchronicities in the round

I can sense when I’m in a groove sometimes, because the universe starts feeding me synchronicities and coincidences. I’m reading a book about a theory that is able to mathematically account for the cosmic or metaphysically components of the universe. Thankfully it is written in laywoman’s terms. I’ve begun to have supplementary information popping up in other areas of my life. I was noticing a circulation of coincidental happenings when this quote came up in my reading and really pulled the phenomenon together for me:

You see, where you put your energy, where you put your mind, is vitally central to your experience. If you begin with an act of faith and say, “I think life is this way and I’m going to live as if it were this way,” then you cast yourself into the midair of faith having no proof of anything but the simple feeling, the knowing, that all truly is well and that the universe does make sense. …You simply need to let go of any preconceived notions as to how that works and simply engage in life to the best of your ability… The universe will begin to perceive you as joining the dance. You will begin to get synchronicities…The universe will begin to help you. You will feel that feedback. And the more you lean into that, the more you will receive it. *

Since I find that this groovy thing rarely happens when I’m stressed or over scheduled, I have been trying to keep my calendar more clear. This folds in well with the fact that I’m trying not to drive as much with the gas prices as high as they are.

Even so, I do need to go to town now and again. Yesterday I went to a meeting of local artists, a group called Gathering Artists, where we have been planning a collaborative exhibit for October. I have been working to finish a hand woven Wall Hanging of a sunrise I saw when I was in Nag’s Head, North Carolina, and I brought it for “Show and Tell” at the meeting, despite the fact it wasn’t quite done. I will finish embellishing with hand dyed silk and mount it in the next few days so I can put it in the fiber art exhibit of my work that is currently on display at the Boyle County Public Library. It is in the Mahan House Gallery if you’ll be at the library and would like to stop in and see it. It will be there until May 6th.

When I was in town, I also needed to pick up some potting soil so I can pot up a bunch of bedding plants I have growing in the greenhouse. This has been the strangest spring and it is really hard to know when to start things both in the garden and inside, and when to put the plants from the greenhouse out in the garden. We have had downright hot temperatures, interpersed this past week with a number of frosty nights. We are waiting to see if the cold temperatures have damaged the blueberries, apples, pears and peaches. It did some damage to the strawberries, but they will bounce back, I feel certain. I had them covered in a hoop house, which added several degrees of protection. All my early greens and the broccoli and cauliflower are in hoop houses still, though on warm days I pull off the row covers.

As you can see, even with trying to keep the calendar clear, this is a busy time around here. Wish me luck with going round and round in the groove!

*http://www.llresearch.org/transcripts/issues/2010/2010_1113.aspx