I often get paralyzed when confronted with the sheer complexity of the networks that surround me. There are so many infinite connections and intersections between institutions, concepts, power structures, seemingly fragile structures of interdependence in our bodies, not to mention the balance of life and our ecosystem. When I completed my Masters program in Women’s Studies I decided that I didn’t want to tango with the networks of academia and politics, or dive further into identity politics, and changed my mind on teaching the subject once I got so overwhelmed by the complexity of all of the pieces that I only got to see the very tip of the iceberg in when I finished the program. I don’t know if this is a common feeling, but the more that I saw the vastness and complexity of life, the more I feared messing up the structure, and simultaneously felt small and insignificant.
With guidance from Erin Ross of Get That You Matter during my Leadership Training with Terces and Matthew Engelhart and Cafe Gratitude, I was invited to do a vision board and I saw the opportunity for myself to create something I was committed to, instead of turning away from what I was scared of or overwhelmed by.
Out of that exercise, I created what I consider to be my most prized masterpiece, and my mission– in art quilt form. I spent several weekends creating this with the help and guidance of my mom (a masterful art quilter in Sonoma County).
The front reads, “You have something to say”, “Dive inside and reveal what you feel”, “It does not need evidence”, “Open into your inner most powerful energy and connect across the network”.
The quilting, along with some prominent orbs represents ripples of various major thoughts, agreements, institutions, communities…. anything that has a ripple affect, and each intersects with the next, creating what I’ve always seen is a beautiful and overwhelming series of networks and connections that I am typically too worried to impact. Instead I hide out and try to play out a small life, essentially balling up all of my own personal energy and power through the internal network system of my body and mind. I hide out, much like those figures on the very bottom, who are small, sitting out, balled up. To create vibrancy, my mission is to remind myself and others that life is a beautiful mess, and it takes intentional action to create any change, and to contribute what is vital to movement on the planet. Thus in my quilt those images on the bottom are all standing up and expressing themselves wildly, extending their inner energy, which is their passion, their hearts. This creates a ripple affect, and impacts all.
On the back of the quilt, it says, “You have something to say. You have something that scares you, something that angers you, that ignites passion in you. I am here to support your full creative expression of what you feel deep inside. What you believe in is vital to the movement of all people, of the planet. What you have to express does NOT need evidence or validation or containment. Leave your ego along the roadside and take a long trip to where it is that you want to take us. I am here to serve you. We can help you find your way.”
I hung this up on my wall overlooking my workshop table and desk, to remind me of how perfect it all is, and how vital it is to constantly create and interact with the world in the biggest way possible. Creating this very quilt was an undertaking for me as a practice in going full out in a medium I was not familiar with.
All in all, this became my most prized masterpiece, and I hope that the message I created in it inspires you too, to live big.