Monday, April 29, 2013

Bridget Quilts!

I've been making and selling quilts to Bridget for over two years now!  And two of my small scapular necklaces have been accepted into a local juried show, Lost and Found:  Sustainable Fashion at the Sweetwater Center for the Arts!!

Wow!  I have never submitted, nor ever thought I could be accepted, to a juried show!  So once again, following St. Bridget's path has led me to new places.  (Oh triple goddess that she is, and Irish saint, she oversees poetry, healing and blacksmiths - which somehow in my life includes arts and crafts of all types from weaving to quilting to blacksmithing!)  I dropped off my scapulars this morning at the Center, and am still amazed at how life unfolds when practicing puja.

I tend to be so linear (stop laughing everyone) that I am surprised when life throws me these amazing curve balls - or Goddess surprises.  My entry into the competition comes from a walk with my dogs on a snowy day back in March, and I ran into another doggie friend.  I've known Sue for years, and we have talked dog many times.  This cold and wintery day, however, she suddenly asked me if I were a fiber artist!  Bizarre.  And I said, "yes, I sew and quilt and weave and spin."  She then told me of numerous shows where I could submit my work, and invited me into the Pittsburgh Fiber Arts Guild at the same time. . .  kind of one of those amazing synchronous happenings.  It was a miserable and wet day, and there I found myself seeing Bridget calling.

So I filled out applications and struggled with online submissions and pictures, and lo and behold the juror accepted both my scapulars.  And of course both are dedicated to St. Bridget.  And both go on display this Saturday for a full month.

I continue to write about the importance of puja, of worship, no matter what tradition or deity you follow.  And this is the kind of coincidence that puja brings:  I never dreamed I would find my work at Sweetwater Center for the Arts or be invited to the Fiber Arts Guild.  And now here I am doing both.

In other paths I am working to pull together internships for school, coming down to my last year in the master's program for clinical counseling.   I am later than my classmates at setting up internships, and my advisor is annoyed with me.  Some friends have said, "Just take something and get through."  I am however mindful of my art and sudden opportunities.  "Just taking something" is counter to Bridget's message and the practice of puja.  Daily puja, from prayer to meditation to chanting to sacraments, all take time.  Puja is like my tomato seedlings, needing time to grow.  "Just taking something" won't bring tomatoes faster.  Nor will Bridget's plan for me and her followers be revealed in as fast a time as we would all like.

Puja, like art, like healing, takes time.  I made a lot of quilts for my etsy store, waiting to see if anyone wanted them.  (Oh the happiness when my first quilt sold!)  And making scapulars this winter, I had no idea they would be in a juried show.

What can I say about my Bridget quilts?  Well, mostly come see them.  Or check them out come June when they go into my etsy store.  But most of all I want to say that puja is a path, and following that path requires letting faith take shape and grow.  Faith is knowing that the path will lead where you need to go.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Puja, hard work, and opening doors.

Honoring a deity can become a fulltime job!

This past winter I began my group coaching practice (with a kickass group exploring women's sexuality and animal spirit guides), continued in my counseling program, worked with new clients as a coach for special needs, and built up my etsy store with quilts honoring Maman Brigitte and St. Bridget!  Lost in the work was keeping up with my Bridget blog.

Yet I have kept up with my writing.   I am working hard on my first totem counseling book, and hope to release it this spring.  Since my work as an augur continues (phoebe has been prevalent in my daily walks), I have expanded my coaching to include animal spirit guides as a means to creating better relationships.  The result of that work has been so much fun!

But at times I have been overwhelmed! Advertising my coaching program, meeting new clients, school work, parenting my kids, quilting and weaving, all of this has required some juggling.  (and sometimes lots of juggling!)  In the meantime, Bridget continues to ride my ass pretty hard, with coaching ideas and new paths opening, and an endless push to healing, art and poetry.

Hang your worship on a deity, and this is what you find.  I have friends who honor Allah and Jesus and Buddha, as well as friends who worship Lugh and Danu and Aengus and Isis and Diana.  Each of these deities will reveal a different path to you the worshipper.  Aengus inspires an artist friend with her pottery; Diana draws another friend in to work with rescued animals; Allah calls for daily remembrance and prayer; Jesus calls for us to leave traditional family and pursue a communal good.

Worship can be bloody hard work!

But the results are so amazing.

Just in the past week, casually walking my dogs (I have a little of Diana in me!), I met a neighbor I haven't seen in years.  Her dogs have passed away, and she no longer walks, but the spring weather brought her outside.  As we talked about her dogs and her grief, she suddenly asked me:  "are you a fiber artist?"  When I told her about my etsy store and my quilts and weaving and smithing, she invited me to a fiber arts guild here in Pennsylvania.  She herself remarked, "I don't know why I just had to ask you that question!"

Then a few days later a poet in the eastern part of Pennsylvania contacted me about sharing our poems and some poetry venues, again completely out of the blue!  Since one of my goals this year is to find more forums for sharing my poetry, this was a great - and surprising - meeting!  These unforeseen opportunities are an example of what puja brings in our life.  Yup, I have been juggling many projects and yup, I have felt Bridget riding my ass, but then She presents opportunities and connections that I never would have dreamed up myself.

So if you are on a puja path, and at times you find worship to be hard work, remember that there is that return moment when puja brings an endlessly opening door.  That is what a relationship with the divine ultimately is - a door to worlds we can not envision.

Faith is holding on until the door can be found.

image © weinelm