Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Thursday, 16 June 2011


I am a mass of contradictions.  I preach mindfulness, yet I can be impulsive.  I think humans should live in loving kindness, but I tend to react harshly to others with different perspectives.  I run when I should walk, procrastinate when I have a deadline.  I believe in living frugally, but I'm easily distracted by the next shiny pretty thing, especially if it involves fibres or bags!

When we behave one way while advocating another, some will call us hypocrites.  This can be true.  Government representatives are being hypocritical when they declare that citizens who engage in peaceful protests are undermining democracy.  This is especially true when those governments refuse to be accountable to their citizens. Hypocrisy is claiming that it's acceptable to practise "business ethics" which are worlds apart from "personal ethics."  It's hypocrisy to claim that those asking for equality, decent wages, living conditions, etc. are ruining the economy, while you ignore your own corporate excesses.  Attacking public grants to the arts when you work for corporations which themselves receive public funding may be a wee bit hypocritical.  (I will link this one.  I haven't recovered yet.  Watch at your peril.)  Stomping all over the rights of others while claiming the moral high ground--that's hypocrisy.  It's important to take a stand and speak up when one sees examples of true hypocrisy. 

Hypocrisy is very different from the contradictions that living brings us. We all stray from our ideal paths, sometimes far more often than we care to examine.  The contradictions between words and deeds make us human.  Ideally, they allow us to soften and acknowledge our connections with others.

I was searching for a way to explain this when I found myself declaring to a group of people that I was "a work in progress," or WIP.  The more I thought about it, the better I liked the analogy.  As fibre people, we all have WIP's on the go. We see this as a good thing, a sign of our enjoyment and commitment to our art and craft, a way to improve our skills.

WIP's are put into practice by our thoughts, efforts and the tools we have available.  WIP's are in process; by definition, a WIP is unfinished.  Sometimes our WIP's get stuck, due to boredom, distraction, difficulties or simply because life gets in the way.  Not many of us can complete a WIP without making a few mistakes and changes as we go.  We can choose to correct those mistakes or leave them.  We accept them as part of our learning process.

WIP's contain potential and excitement in ways no finished object (FO) can.  (This may be why some of us have so many WIP's.)  WIP's are ever changing and, with them, we are in constant exploration.  Sometimes those pieces don't go as planned; if we're wise, we acknowledge this, put the work aside or undo it and begin again.  A WIP may cause us annoyance and frustration and bring great joy at the same time.  If we're wise, we acknowledge those contradictions and move past judgment into acceptance.

When I see myself and others as WIP's, I can view contradictions more kindly, as lessons to learn, possibilities to explore, flaws to correct or accept as part of the fabric of our lives.

Being a WIP means I'm not done yet.  I'm grateful for that.

A Tree Practising Vrksasana


  1. This made me smile so much. You are one of the WIP that you enjoy so much you don't want to finish it!

  2. Not any time, soon, Roberta. Not any time soon!

    Doesn't that tree pose just crack you up?

  3. Great analogy! I think that's why I loved teaching so much - all those little WIPs. For me, it's all about the process.

  4. OMG I just watched your video link. If the arts and compassion were more fully understood (and funded) in our society, there might be much less conflict in the world. That host was the rudest person I've even seen and I admire Margie Gillis for being brave enough to complete that interview and she maintained her dignity in the process. There are a lot of things that scare me about the prevailing mindset of our current society.