Materialize Your Visions
"What do we do with our inspirations? Is it enough to mull over them, daydream about how we or the world might change, and then allow them to evaporate? Or are we to weave them into reality as part of our spiritual journey?"
Date: 6/8/2005 5:52:00 PM ( 16 y ) ... viewed 2602 times
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Materialize Your Visions
Don’t let your next great idea slip away. Follow these seven steps and weave your dreams into reality.
How many cures, solutions, inventions, and humanitarian projects languish in the shadows of possibility, waiting for us to weave them into reality? What if Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Clara Barton, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan B. Anthony, to name a few, entertained their thoughts, then had second thoughts and in the end decided, no way.
What do we do with our inspirations? Is it enough to mull over them, daydream about how we or the world might change, and then allow them to evaporate? Or are we to weave them into reality as part of our spiritual journey?
Several years ago, I grappled with these questions and an idea so small it seemed almost ludicrous to pursue it, especially since it revolved around a slender thread twirling between my fingertips. I envisioned gathering threads from people around the world, tying them together, and weaving them into a cloth that would celebrate the boldness of our cultural diversity, while demonstrating the strength and beauty of global unity.
Deciding that no idea, if heartfelt, is too small to follow, I founded the Thread Project: One World, One Cloth. To date, thousands of people from more than 45 countries have sent individual threads that have been woven into an amazing cloth called Hope Materializing. It’s a work in progress, and plans are underway to create seven of these World Cloths to be displayed in the U.S. and abroad.
Seven Threads of Becoming
I am learning that our spiritual journey sometimes calls us to give birth to our visions. A thread, notes jotted on a napkin, a recurring thought — all can be annunciations of the spirit. While researching thread lore, I began to reflect on the process and importance of materializing our visions. One Caribbean myth intrigued me: A character tosses seven balls of thread into the sky, where they catch on the clouds and unravel down toward earth. After weaving the seven threads together, the character climbs into the sky to become the sun and moon. I see this as a myth of becoming; about taking an idea, weaving a ladder of possibility, and hanging lamps to light the darkness.
In numerous cultures, the number seven signifies completion and wholeness. I pondered what the seven threads in the myth might symbolize. Integrating my own experience, I identified a process that I call the Seven Threads of Becoming. Weaving these threads together helped me to create the Thread Project. If you have an idea, waiting to materialize, maybe these seven threads can help you weave it into reality.
The Thread of Awareness
The Thread of Awareness is incubating an idea even though you don’t know how to manifest it. This thread is subtle, like the seed of an idea so new that we may fail to see the oak in the acorn. In my case, while visiting New York City, I spontaneously visualized people tying threads together to symbolize unity. But I began to doubt my idea’s validity and finally dismissed it with a wave of my hand.
A year later, stunned by the events of September 11, I lamented that our world seemed to be hanging by a thread. Thread! I remembered my earlier vision. As I pictured my slender thread, tied to someone else’s thread, tied to yet another, I dared to believe we could weave a powerful symbol of hope and harmony. Still uncertain how to materialize it, at least I acknowledged that my idea wanted to be born.
Questions to ask about the Thread of Awareness are: What idea or ideas have come more than once? What wants to be born? If an idea persists, there may be a good reason. Sometimes our visions may seem too big to accomplish or too minuscule to make a difference. Either way, don’t let the enormity or the Lilliputian aspect deter you. What is more insignificant than a thread? If ever you feel like David standing before Goliath, remember the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
The Thread of Inquiry
The Thread of Inquiry asks us to explore an idea to make it richer, and to mine its universal appeal. I was amazed to discover the archetypal significance of thread. Thread imagery abounds in antiquity. Native American Spider Woman wove the four directions; the Germanic Frigga spun the clouds; the Japanese Amaterasu spun and wove the sunbeams; and the Egyptian Neith wove the world from her heavenly shuttle. The Greek Fates (Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos) spun, measured, and cut the threads of human destiny.
The Thread of Inquiry led me to believe that people would respond to the symbolism of thread because it permeates myth, science, medicine, and astronomy. String theory in physics suggests that the subatomic structure of our universe resembles loops of vibrating strings; DNA is called the thread of life; and it appears that even galaxies form threadlike filaments and sheets.
I discovered that the modest thread is a powerful archetype for the genesis of new life. I thought about each of us slipping into this world, threaded to our mothers. I found myself saying over and over, “Some say our world is hanging by a thread. I say a thread is all we need.” I began to believe this wholeheartedly.
A question to ask about the Thread of Inquiry is: How is my idea or vision symbolic? If you can connect your particular idea to the universal or archetypal, then your idea will speak to the deepest levels of human experience.
The Thread of Commitment
Commitment is about voice and choice. It is saying, I will. In Energy Anatomy: The Science of Co-Creation and Your Power of Choice, Caroline Myss talks about creativity. She imagines an angel approaching the altar of our life and placing upon it the gift of an idea. We then have a choice. We can accept the gift and say, yes, I will help this idea become a reality. Or we can say, no thank you, as I did the first time.
I ritually marked my commitment to my idea by cutting a piece of string and shaping it into a question mark. Then I imagined an angel of creativity placing it on the altar of my life, asking: Will you commit your time, energy, and resources to make this idea a reality? Will you say yes without even knowing how? Taking my vow seriously, I picked up my thread and said, Yes, I will follow this thread, wherever it leads.
I also marked my commitment by telling a group of friends. My voice quavered as I shyly confided that I would devote the next several years to gathering threads to be woven into large World Cloths, resembling tapestries. I was heartened by their response. It’s important to find support for an embryonic idea because too much skepticism or negativity can abort even the most profound possibility.
Questions that can be asked about the Thread of Commitment are: How can I ritually say yes to my idea or vision? Where can I safely voice my idea?
The Thread of Heartfullness
Heartfullness is about listening to what your heart wants. When it came to the Thread Project, my heart wanted to create a cloth of humanity, cloths that celebrate our diversity and symbolize our unity, cloths that can be repositories of stories and goodwill. I am often touched by the stories people enclose with their threads. This sampling illustrates how stories have become the heart of the Thread Project:
My silk threads come from a garland of protection from India. They bring blessings of Lord Nrsimhadeva, who protects the pure-hearted and removes obstacles in your path.
These threads come from my family. We have made peace after many years of conflict and estrangement. We symbolically join our threads into these cloths in commitment to peace in our family and in our world. It is worth the effort it takes. Thank you for this beautiful opportunity in these difficult times.
This thread is from our laundry room. It represents randomness.
—John, Karen, and Earl
I am a weaver from Poros, Greece. I give weaving lessons to children. My students and I were excited with your idea to collect threads and weave the World Cloths. Every student chose a colored thread and wrote down why he or she liked this color. So our thread has orange for joy, pink and green for the rainbow, light blue for the sky, and red and white that make us feel fine.
These threads come from a group of female offenders. When they were told nothing was wiser than a circle, they wanted their threads to be sent as a circle.
This project is important to me because my thread could change the world. I think this is special because I do not want any more wars, battles, or terrorist attacks.
—Chris, fourth grade
These threads come from women making a rite of passage, from grieving mothers and from women just on the journey . . . from Atlanta to New Mexico to Oregon. One bereaved mother tied on a blue thread from her child’s blanket. From our heart to yours.
Several questions can be asked about the Thread of Heartfullness. What does my heart want? How does my idea or vision add “heart” to my life or to the world? Engaging the heart calls forth the passion and energy necessary to see an idea through to completion.
The Thread of Trust
The Thread of Trust underscores the belief that we harbor the ability to find the resources we need to manifest our visions. For example, my idea for the project is to weave 49 panels to create a total of seven World Cloths. One might assume I am a weaver, an artist, or a curator. No to all of the above.
What I offer is my willingness to follow an idea and my trust that I can garner the resources to make it happen. I believe ideas often come to the willing, not necessarily the qualified. One of my favorite quotes is from Georgia O’Keeffe: “I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
So I persevere, despite my shortcomings. People who believe in the project are offering their talents and skills. Ultimately, 49 weavers will be involved, including Mayan weavers from Guatemala who are weaving a panel on a backstrap loom using a technique that is thousands of years old.
Several questions to ask about the Thread of Trust are: Do I trust that by following my thread I will be guided to the resources to make it happen? What one fear might keep me from taking the risk? If I could not fail, what would I do? The Thread of Trust is not knowing everything; it’s trusting that you will be given the resources you need.
The Thread of Ingenuity
Ingenuity is being resourceful, inventive, original, and creative. The Thread of Ingenuity is letting your idea evolve. My single thread has gradually evolved into thousands of threads despite my many moments of doubt. When my weaving consultant, Judith Krone, calculated how many individual threads would be needed to make seven cloths, I thought it impossible to collect that many. We need threads from tens of thousands of people. But I reframed the challenge as a catalyst for creativity.
As a result, I created print material, helped design a website, and came up with the concept of Thread Ambassadors to collect threads and send them to the project. They are vital to the project; they organize gatherings and events, many which exceed my expectations.
One question to ask about the Thread of Ingenuity is: How can I see my problems as catalysts for creativity? The Thread of Ingenuity encourages us to approach problems as thresholds to creative solutions that can move an idea forward.
The Thread of Perseverance
The Thread of Perseverance may be the elephant graveyard of ideas. Ideas and visions intoxicate and excite. But turning them into a final product or outcome is plain hard work. The Thread of Perseverance means showing up every day. It’s painting the painting, writing the book; putting in the time to turn a vision into reality.
A question to ask about the Thread of Perseverance is: What is my plan of action to anchor my idea in reality? If an idea or vision is a seed, the Thread of Perseverance is watering, weeding, and fertilizing. The Thread of Perseverance challenges us to materialize our inspirations as part of our spiritual journey. By clearing a path of possibility, our unique gifts and ideas can be manifested in the world.
The initial containers of materializing a vision may be quite modest. A thread, a note jotted on a napkin, a recurring idea — all have the potential to become luminous. Take a look. Something on your altar may be shining.
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