On sewing kits and aikido.
Last week I had to sew a tenth star onto #3’s birthday crown. I couldn’t find my sewing kit which is hard to believe because it’s this big honking case with a ton of unwound thread tangled around various tools. It’s a bit of a mess. I knew that one of my daughters probably had one handy. I asked to borrow her kit.
Here is her kit:
I had no idea what was in her kit. (There’s so many of these people and sometimes it’s really hard to keep track of the comings and goings of all five of them.)
I didn’t know that she felted a little ball of wool and added an acorn cap to make a mini pin/needle cushion. And I completely forgot that we bought her these tiny scissors for her here on her birthday a couple of years ago.
But this is all that there is in a pint-sized handmade bag. This is all she needs for her little sewing kit – her essentials. She doesn’t have spools of thread in different colours “just in case.” She changes the thread according to the project but the baby pink, she says, works with a lot of what she sews. There isn’t a pack of pins or a book of needles because she says that she would be pinning at home anyway so why keep it with her in the kit. She says she doesn’t need much.
Yesterday I took the kids to their aikido class and this framed message caught my eye:
Please remove your shoes
And with them
The dust of the world.
Let the spirit of this space
And when you leave
Let the world be your dojo
And emptiness your practice.
I have probably read this message before but this time, it reminded me of the sewing kit.
According to wikipedia, here is the definition of the word “aikido” :
- 合 – ai – joining, unifying, combining, fit
- 気 – ki – spirit, energy, mood, morale
- 道 – dō – way, path
“The way of unifying with life energy” or “The way of the harmony of the spirit”
And to find the way and be the way, you must open your mind and spirit. An empty mind means that you are free and can receive new ideas. Your mind should be empty so you can react to what your opponent is doing. With an empty mind, there are no preconceived notions or preoccupations with what should happen. There is room to let things flow.
If that’s the case, my overflowing sewing kit says a lot about how my mind works. If I pack and carry more stuff, I will be better prepared for any situation. But the stuff weighs me down. My thoughts become the tangled spools of thread. My multiple tools are the multiple alternatives and outcomes that overwhelm me.
What if I just emptied my sewing kit? What if I carried only those items that are essential? How would it feel to unload the weight? To shed the past and future memories that preoccupy my mind and look at what’s in front of me – only right now?
Perhaps the only thing I really need is a single needle and thread to stitch this very moment.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now. (One stitch at a time.)