Adam, Eve and Lilith

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Adam, Eve & Lilith (c)2016 Pamela Penney

Shame: Part 2

I believe every book contains a lesson and we are drawn to the lessons we need to learn.  I can learn a lesson from a book written by a comedian that is read by several hundred people or from the Bible the most read book ever.   (See Shame: Part One)  But I believe that the Bible has been read by more people for the reason that it must hold clues that are needed by more people in order to learn and evolve.  The story of the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis holds the keys to our fateful beginnings whether you look at it as “fact” or as mythic archetypal lore.  I also believe it holds the keys to our collective (mother earth) healing and our return to Paradise.

Well, as I’ve gone further into the story of the Garden of Eden I’ve stumbled into the story of Lilith who in a brief mention in Genesis is a female figure who was created from the dirt like Adam.  Because she was created the same way as Adam she saw herself as an equal to Adam which did not please him.  So she was either “banished” (or perhaps escaped on her own) “to the East”.  Some versions of the story turn her into the water of the river or a willow tree.  And she is also symbolized by an owl.  Many versions over the centuries have “demonized” her.  Eve on the other hand was created from Adam’s rib and therefore was not his equal, but was there to be his “help-mate”.  And as most of you know she tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit which meant that Adam and Eve then realized they were “naked” and also “ashamed” of their sin.

As I interpret this tale I see an Adam who wanted someone to love and be his partner.  His version of “love” was not fulfilled by Lilith as she was not willing to “hold” his shadows (shame).   She wanted to be responsible to her-self and leave Adam to be responsible for his-self.   In comes Eve who in her quest to be “all loving” is willing to be the one to bear the weight of shame for Man.  This to Adam feels like “true love”.  He can prove his love to her by taking control and she can prove her love to him by submission to his love and willingness to overlook his shortcomings.  They both think this seems “unconditional” but in reality this love contains a great many “conditions”.

Now I’ll get personal.  (Read this next section as though I have both an inner Eve and inner Lilith). I mentioned in my last post that this month of April has brought me to a time of reflecting on my own relationships.  Two years ago, April 2014 I came to a moment in time when my inner “Lilith” expressed herself.  I had reached a limit to “how much I could bear”.  My “Adam” was projecting his wounds onto my inner “Eve”.  She had for many years (in an attempt at unconditional love) been willing to let the little digs slide along with the covert (and sometime overt) attempts to control her.  She knew on some level her “Adam” loved her and didn’t believe the things he said.  But, my “Lilith” finally woke up and showed me that living with this was not “love” in the highest sense.  My “Adam” also knew on some level that he was not acting “loving” and that continued a cycle of feeling “less than worthy” of love from anyone, especially his “Eve”.  This became a never ending circle of shame and projection.  So, out comes my “Lilith”.  On Easter Sunday of 2014 she said good-bye and walked away(with the prayer, “forgive them for they know not what they do”).  I (as Lilith) was finally able to leave this unhealthy relationship because I came to the decision from a place of love and wanting the best for both my “Adam” and my “Eve”.  My “Lilith” had no plans to go back, she wanted respect, independence and equality.   But with several days of reflection my Adam reached out.  A phone call.  A conversation.  And this is where the space for healing came in.  My Lilith came back.  And that is where we leave the story of the Garden of Eden and look toward a future Paradise.

But first I must share a bit more of my reflections.  Not just over what healing has occurred over the last two years and that process, but further back to the roots of my personal “Eden”.  I have a recollection of complaining as a child about my older brother “picking on me”.  He was almost 6 years older than me and much bigger and stronger.  I was told something to the effect of “that is the only way he knows how to show you attention (love)”.   Oh, to my young mind, that made sense.  Because surely no one who loves you would hurt you, unless they didn’t know how to show you real love.  And in that moment my inner “Eve” entered and I was willing to hold both his shame and mine, because of course I loved him.

When “Lilith” returns (in my personal story) she doesn’t condone the behaviors of Adam or of Eve for that matter.  She forgives them and gives new understanding and strength to their love, helping them to heal their misunderstood (wounded and immature) understanding of love.  Ok, in my original thoughts about my personal story I wanted to believe that my inner “Lilith” had the strength to return on her own.  Upon further reflection I have come to realize she did some transformation during her time away.  Jesus “returned” as his “Christed” self.  I now think that my “Lilith” returned as her more evolved and  “Christened” self.  (Maybe the reason I left during the Easter season to return a few days later???)  I have found that I am able to carry a new “vibration” over the last two years.  My “Adam” can and does too.  When I feel either of us slipping into old patterns and behaviors I pull up an image in my mind of a large fierce bird sitting on my shoulder.  The energy shifts.  My boundary is respected, his emotions are appropriately expressed.  I had thought that this bird was a hawk, but now that I have gone into this story I see it is probably the Owl, the symbol of Lilith.  An Owl is fierce like a Hawk, but has the additional attribute of Wisdom. (Note:   I by no means claim to be completely “evolved”, but I am aware that my life has transformed and new levels of understanding and wisdom have shown up rapidly once I walked through  the fear of being “banished” and claimed my personal power.)

In the last few decades Lilith has become a symbol of feminism.  But, I think that version of feminism is still missing a piece and that is the reason feminism isn’t the complete “medicine” for this old sick world (Patriarchy).   According to the Gene Keys book by Richard Rudd, the “Opening of the Third Seal” occurs through Universal Love.  “This seal heals the human wound of shame.  And it is out of this feeling of deep shame that the whole world of hierarchy and competitiveness has come about. “   I feel that the key to unconditional and universal love is not just through the balancing of the masculine and feminine (Adam and Lilith as equals)  as many have in recent years proclaimed, but rather in healing the relationship of all three archetypes:  Adam, Eve and Lilith.  We all yearn for the autonomy, strength and independence of Lilith, but fear the consequences. Can we survive on our own?  Will we be lonely?  (I know those thoughts went through my mind when I walked out).  But the truth is we do not need to live alone as Lilith did in the original story.  We can be strong individuals within unconditionally loving relationships. It also doesn’t require we make a choice between Lilith and Eve.  The “Evolved” and “Christened” Lilith must return and embrace the Shadow of Adam and Eve’s shame.  She has the strength to transmute that immature version of love and transform the relationship.  It takes effort, understanding and the Wisdom and Strength of an Owl.  But if we are to heal our Collective, this is where the answers lie.  Invite  your “Lilith” back home.  Make that call, open that dialog.  You may find she can now embrace Eve (and Adam), that she has Eve-olved.  You many find she has the Universal Christ Love within her now to allow you to let go of your shame in being who you truly are.  You are not a victim.  You have the power  within yourself to heal your original wounds, with the Faith that you will be Loved Unconditionally for the Unique and Divine Spark within you.  The health of one Cell affects  the health of the Collective, micro to macro.

Much gratitude to all of you who witness my story , by sharing this without “shame” I further my personal  growth and healing.  I dream that I’ll see you soon in Paradise…..until then enjoy my art process.  The Stitches in Time give me plenty of time to contemplate this Story and the Lessons it contains.

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Shame (Part 1)

Oh, Dear.  I may really be just about to step into “it” today.  But, here I go.  I intended this blog to be an honest insight into where I am in my head and heart.  And the last few weeks have led me to questioning our collective and personal “shame”.  So, what is it?  Why do we have it?  Does it still serve us?  If not, how to we rise above it?

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“Shame” a work in progress.

So, how did I get here?  Well, the last few weeks I have started a new piece for the She Said/He Said exhibit coming up a the Groshek Gallery in Chicago.  I had an inspiration to do a Tree of Knowledge/Adam & Eve/ Paradise piece.  It has caused me to explore my memories of my childhood Sunday school lessons regarding the origin story (myth?).  April has also been a month of reflecting on a turning point in my own relationships.  I don’t want this to get too “long and involved” but, I do want to share enough detail that this makes sense.  So, I’ll do my best.

So the story of Adam and Eve for me is about “shame”.  We learn shame very young and, I believe usually from our parents.  (Confession: I’m a parent, I know I’ve fallen into my shadow and used shaming to attempt to solicit the behavior I desire from my kids).

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Every book contains a lesson.

Last Saturday I went to see comedian, Jen Kirkman where I bought her new book, I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself.  As I was listening to the Prince soundtrack and waiting for her to come on-stage I started reading the introduction to her book.  She starts out with “Ugh, my parents are going to read this.”  (I know what she means!) She then goes on to quote another of my favorite funny people, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul).  He once said that people should make their art, whatever it is, “as though their parents were dead”.  And why is that?  I think it is because we worry about “shame”.  Not that we will cause our parent’s to be embarrassed by our work; but that they, our first source of “shame” will bring on that bad feeling within us again.  (Please Note:  I love my parents and don’t wish to cause them any embarrassment here or elsewhere nor do I wish they were dead, but when I stated I might “step in it” this is it. I just believe that we must rise above this concern for feeling shamed in order to “grow up and evolve”.

And how appropriate that only a few days after the death of the musician Prince while listening to his “Pussy Control” I was reading this book introduction and ruminating on “shame”.  Prince was a successful artist who by all outward appearances, rose above a concern for self-shame.  In fact by many recent reflections on his life his ability to be his true self and express his true artistry is greatly admired (and envied) by his fans and others.  And that is my point I guess.  Can we really do our best most creative work if we are in a place of shame?  And can we really bring to the world the healing and solutions needed if we are not creating from our highest, best self?

Well, I have gone on here for a bit, and while I have a lot more rolling around in my head and heart regarding the story of Eden, I think I will continue on another day.  You see the story of the Garden of Eden includes another figure,  Adam’s first “wife”, Lilith.  And she takes me on another “thread”.  So, rather than try to cover too much “ground”, you will have to wait for “that stitch in time” and for the rest of this story.  In the meantime consider the role of “shame” in your life.  Is it holding you back from being the highest, true-ist expression of your “self”.  What would you do if you didn’t fear (the feeling of) shame?

Please see Shame: Part 2 HERE

I’m So Excited (and I just can’t hide it)

I’m not sure why it is, but my best ideas and inspiration come to me when I am out in my backyard soaking in the hot tub (time machine) under the moon and stars.  Tonight there was a lovely, bright crescent moon and the brightest “star” is actually Jupiter.  He is my “action” planet and together we say, “by Jove I think we’ve got this!”

So, tonight I have a plan of action.  Looking back in time I realize I am celebrating the 20th anniversary this year of my business, Pamela Penney Textile Arts (where a stitch in time saves!)  I started creating women’s art to wear jackets and children’s special occasion garments in the spare bedroom of my home when my children where babies.  (Crazy, I know!)  I’ve expanded and grown and want to share my joy. Tonight I had a spark of an idea about how I want to go forward this year and share my celebration with the world!

I’m not really ready to share all of the details yet.  They need to be “ironed out“.  Much like things work in the sewing room, creations don’t really look great until they are pressed!  I will be sharing this very soon.  So, stay “tuned“.  You may want to bookmark this page, as I will post a link to the updated information here as it gets solidified.  In the meantime I will leave you with some clues…..

Postcards                                    Photos                  Sharing

                                    Contest                          Prizes                                         Stitches                          Instagram

Twitter                   Games                                     Creativity

                         Celebration               Party

Facebook                 #aStitchInTimeSaves            Fun

              Did I mention Prizes???

 

Saving with Stitches

Today was just one of those days when several things came together to fulfill my mission of Saving the World with my Stitches!  (Or at least with my assistance.)  I had two lovely new students come in to the studio this morning for their first sewing lesson.  Two women, friends who decided to take a lesson together.  We covered the basics of threading, winding the bobbin and trouble shooting a sewing machine.  They also learned to pin and sew a seam with fabric “right sides together” and how to turn corners and sew a curve.  We covered trimming and pressing our seams.  They are now ready to take on a pattern to create a basic garment over the next few weeks with me.

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When they left I had a friend/customer come in to pick up a garment that I had finished for her.  Bonnie brought me several old cashmere sweaters a few months ago that she had grown tired of, or they had some minor stains/holes in.  She requested that I create a vest for h2016-04-08 12.02.10-1er that was “long” and “drapey”.  I loved that her colors were limited to ivory and black.  I loved the final piece so much that I wished I could keep it for myself.  And even though it took me longer to get it done for her than I hoped, it is still very cold here in Chicago this spring, so she will probably get some time to wear it before warm weather hits.  (There have been snowflakes in the air for the last several days and it’s April!)

2016-03-11 15.00.03This afternoon I had another longtime student/customer come in for an appointment to finish up a project that she has b2016-04-08 14.21.23-1een working on with me for the last couple of months.  Carol brought in an old grey sweater, a few pairs of corduroy pants and a photo of a bird drawing from a Leo Lionni children’s book.  She wanted to use the bird image as inspiration for a pillow cover.  We appliqued the corduroy fabrics onto the grey wool, she used blanket stitch and overcast stitches to finish the edges of the fabric and it turned out just adorable!  The “piece de resistance” was the vintage buttons she had in her stash to use as the eye.

After all of those activities I had a little quiet time in the studio late this afternoon, so I pulled out my own “mending”.  A couple of days ago my son mentioned that he had a hole in the underarm of a favorite “Agave” shirt.  He wondered if I could fix it for him.  I said, “Why yes!  That falls well within my mission statement!”  And within two minutes his shirt was back in service (well it may need to go through the wash, but otherwise it’s in as good as new shape!)

Any day that I can stitch, salvage, create, relax, enjoy, mend or teach the skills and help another to do so is a very fulfilling day!  A Stitch In Time Saves……Friday!

 

 

Detachment as Offering

I like to start my week with yoga class as often as I can.  I have been going to Ahimsa Yoga here in Oak Park for a bit over a year now.  I’ve been an on and off again practitioner of yoga since my knitting teacher loaned me a book of poses when I was about 13 or 14 (yes, that makes it 40-ish years of yoga!)  Synchronicity brought me to Ahimsa.  Last winter I created my textile art piece titled “A Stitch In Time Saves” (the inspiration for this blog moniker) to publicize the One Earth Film Festival and my work was hung on display at Ahimsa.  So this monday morning I made it to my class where my lovely teacher and now friend, Jackie shared an Inspiration deck from which I could draw a card.  My card for today is “Detachment“.   Perfect, of course, as I’ve been making an effort toward the goal of detaching and letting go.  I spent much of last week cleaning out my basement and detaching from my physical “stuff”.  Now, time to work on my attitudes, thoughts and beliefs~

Coincidentally I cut out a page from the May/June 2004 Yoga Journal during an art making session a few weeks ago written by Sally Kempton on Detachment.  She writes, “the way I ease myself toward detachment is to practice offering…….I offer up whatever it is that I’m doing, whatever I’m intending or wanting, or whatever I’m trying to get free of……Offer the fruits of your labor to God.” …..”Offering our actions helps train us to do things not for any particular gain or personal purpose but simply as an act of praise or gratitude, or as a way of joining our consciousness to the greater Consciousness.  Offering our desires, fears and doubts loosens the hold they have on us, reminding us to trust in the Presence- the source of both our longings and their fulfillment.”  There is no expiration date on this advise!

Then I spent a little “art journaling” time before working on some commission pieces that I need to make headway on in my studio this week.  (And I did make some great progress this afternoon!)  Here is my journal entry embellished with my tree imagery and the Yoga Journal article with wood and bark texture~

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Journal

And here is the the work I made progress on in the studio today.  First, an acrylic and mixed media canvas.  The working title is “Can You See the Forest for the Trees?”

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Can you see the Forest for the Trees?

And I’m working on this sweater vest for a client made from Salvaged Cashmere, some of which I hand-dyed.  This is “a Stitch In Time Saves“~

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A Stitch In Time Saves…..a salvaged and hand-dyed cashmere creation by Pamela Penney Textile Arts

I am pleased with the progress and enjoy the process.  I remain detached from the outcome and welcome the work as it evolves.  And I like Mondays~

 

 

Mindful Mending

Today the month of March is coming in like a lion here in Chicago.  It is snowing, just an inch or two predicted, but the thermometer indicates a very chilly 27 degrees F.  It is the day that I should get all of my bookkeeping together for the annual income tax submittal to the IRS.  But, I’m not really feeling motivated yet for that. So, what is the perfect task for a day like today?

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I think I will snuggle up under this beautiful vintage heirloom wool blanket that my friend Marie requested I repair for her.  The label indicates that it was produced by The Orr Felt & Blanket Company in Piqua, Ohio, U.S.A.  “This gorgeous coloring is inspired by the famous Holland tulip.”

This special blanket is in near perfect condition except for about a two foot stretch  where the crocheted edging has pulled off.  I am lucky to find a small ball of wool yarn in about the same weight that matched the color near perfect.  (Perhaps just a shade lighter, but only I will notice!)  I study the slip stitch, chain stitch pattern of the existing stitches and I think I made a nearly un-noticeable repair.  Once again, A Stitch In Time Saves just in time for a few more chilly days this spring!***

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***If you are in the Chicago area and you would like to learn how to do your own crochet repairs (or knitted or sewn)  Check out our “sister website”  PamelaPenney.com.  You may just learn to save a piece of American Textile history and leave a little more landfill space un-used!

There Are No Coincidences

A coincidence is a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances which have no apparent causal connection with each other. (wikipedia.com)

Only Synchronicities

Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychiatrist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship, yet seem to be meaningfully related. (wikipedia.com)

So, I promised that I would share what led me to “A Stitch In Time Saves”.  Just over two weeks ago I was required to call the Cook County Civil Court to find out if I needed to report for jury duty the following day.  My adult son had received a couple of summons letters over the previous year and hadn’t even been required to go in.  I on the other hand was within the range of last names from C to S that were to report to the court building by 9:30 the next morning.  Ok, I’ve been through that several times over my lifetime.  You sit for a few hours, sometimes even in a courtroom while they ask a dozen plus people some questions about whether they could be impartial.  I was immediately sent up to courtroom 2104 and mine was the first of the potential juror’s names to be called up to the jury box.  I answered all of the questions to the best of my ability and by about 2:00 pm. I was told I could go home for the day, but plan to return the following Monday by 9:15 am.  The trial was estimated to go two weeks.

Well, that was a change in plans.  My plan for the following week had included driving to Michigan to help my parent’s as my mother was coming home from the rehabilitation center following her open heart surgery.  At least the Court was going to have a 4 day weekend the following week for President’s Day.  So, I thought I would just delay my plan to go visit my hometown and family.  I have faith that I am always guided to where I am supposed to be, doing what I can do to serve best.  For some reason this was where I was supposed to be for the next couple of weeks.

The opening statements by the plaintiff’s attorney led us through a tale that started with an emergency admittance of the patient to a major hospital, emergency surgery that lasted many hours, known complications during surgery with some delayed documentation of some of the procedures, and several necessary follow up surgeries during a month long hospital stay.  In his last “opening” sentence the attorney indicated that our decision would all come down to our judgement of a “stitch” that was created during the first surgery.  There it was I thought this is why I am here, to judge a stitch.  As a textile artist the stitch is my domain.

Surprisingly, being on a jury was a good opportunity for me to practice non-judgement.  I worked hard to remain open minded for two weeks, listening to all of the evidence before coming to my opinion.  I was also very fortunate to serve with a group of really pleasant people on this jury.  (If you have to spend that much time having lunch and breaks in a small room with strangers, you want them to be nice).  In the end, after some careful discussion of what we each heard and observed in the courtroom, we all agreed on a decision.  It is my hope that the process of this trial helped the family of the patient find answers, peace and closure.  In that way it may have served a higher purpose.

And for me, this process led to some deeper thoughts.  I always joke that as an artist, mother, teacher, wife what I do is important, but it isn’t exactly “brain surgery or rocket science”.  As a self-employed artist and teacher, I do the work that I do so that I can remain flexible to the needs of my family and my community.  I am available to change course at the last minute, jump into roles and tasks that I didn’t anticipate, but are needed in each moment.  Yes, this can often frustrate me, and lead me off track and delayed in my own plans.  But, I believe it is important.  I believe in “being in the moment”.  In the end the decision did all come down to a “stitch”.  Was it a stitch that saved in an emergency surgery situation?  Or a stitch that lead to further complications? Those were the questions the jury needed to answer.  In one AH-HA moment last week I remembered that I had created a wall hanging a year ago with the title “A Stitch In Time Saves“.  And then this all started to make sense.  I have been trying to connect all of the aspects of what I do and give it a name, at the same time holding space for a larger purpose and a path forward.  I create fiber and textile art primarily out of salvaged and re-used materials, I teach sewing and art as a way to relax and find enjoyment, and I practice energy healing and stitch as a method of mindful moving meditation.  A STITCH IN TIME SAVES is a title that encompasses all of those aspects.  Coincidence?  I think not.

A Stitch in Time Saves

Who am I and Why am I Here?  I believe Guidance has brought me to this place in time and location.  Everything up to this point in my life has brought me to this Now. (and if you are reading this it has brought You to my Now)  For some reasons that I don’t even know yet, Guidance has directed me to start sharing ME and my I AM here.  What is this Guidance that I refer to?  My Intuition? My Inner Voice?  My Higher Self?  I have my theories, but I’m not sure it matters.  What does matter is that I have had a pretty good history of listening to whatever that guidance is and it always serves the “lower me” well.  (Side notes:  I love any words that have the word Dance within them.  And I find it interesting that the word Guide is both a noun and a verb). I believe I am here to post what I Hear and what I Learn.  If you find my stories interesting, entertaining, or helpful then I welcome You.  If you do not, I wish you blessings on your own Path.

So today is the first day of the rest of my life (and yours),  and many Signs are indicating that on a cosmic level (yes, I believe our stars and planets are sending messages from the Heavens) today is the beginning of a “New Beginning“.   Today is the Full Moon.  I resonate with this message from the full moon update by Starseed Astrology: “Meditate on how best you can serve the world and how best you can develop or diversify your skills, services, and professional value.”  (Wise advise even if you don’t believe in astrology).

I also drew “The Fool” – the zero card – the beginning- as my card of the day today (I have an app on my phone which posts a daily tarot card for me).  “When the Fool appears in a reading it is time for a new adventure….Don’t make all the decisions about your path, or make assumptions about how it’ll be before you embark…Trust in the Universe to keep you safe, then take the leap into the unknown!” And yet another reason I am here.  HERE @ A STITCH IN TIME SAVES.

I look forward soon to sharing what lead me to a stitch in time saves.  What it means to me and how it got it’s name.  Until then, welcome to my New Beginning.

A Stitch In Time Saves. Penney 2015.LR
A Stitch In Time Saves (c) Pamela Penney, 2015 fiber and salvaged materials