some of my favorite symbolism comes in the form of eggs. they are delicate protectors of a powerful, life affirming process requiring nourishment & incubation. they are the creators in all of us; the part of us that knows how to dream of possibilities. they are the keepers of these dreams, embracing & nurturing them. and after our dreams' refuge inside the shell, time comes due to crack their very cage in order to be revealed to the world.
spring is a perfect time to consider what we want to nurture into existence. its happening outside our windows, in our gardens. isn't it happening, too, inside our hearts?
we can honor the parts of ourselves where we want to feel growth by building shrines. by using the symbolism of eggs in our shrines, we can imagine how we will offer refuge to the qualities or habits in our lives that need our extra attention & care. we will be reminded that we are more than we sometimes think. we hold so many beautiful possibilities. using real eggs or making them with our own hands, and filling them with our intentions is a step towards hatching our dreams.
the shrine I recently completed was inspired by my heart. actually, by a letter my heart wrote to me. the letter writing was an exercise suggested in a book I'm reading, Awaken Your Genius, by Carolyn Elliott. first you are prompted to write a letter TO your heart. you are seeking guidance for the place you are right now in your life. then you respond to this letter by writing another letter, but this one is from your heart's perspective. the book's instructions describe a symbolic language to use while writing from your heart. not surprisingly, my heart used her own symbolic language. (she shares that gene with me that makes direction following a last resort.) her language inspired me, and I interpreted it to create a shrine. my Heart of a Woman shrine is built inside a prized old paperback of Maya Angelou's book of the same name. below are photos of this shrine and excerpts from my heart's letter.
to celebrate what I choose to believe is the spirit of Valentine's Day, I decided to spread LOVE to places & hearts that I didn't even know were out there. I asked my friends & family to nominate their loved ones for me to reach out to. on their own accord, they told me why they cared for this special person. my heart was filled knowing more about how my friends care deeply for others, and how these special people might appreciate a little extra LOVE shining their way. so, to carry out my part, I created greeting card shrines from old matchboxes, focusing on LOVE.
to be clear, this isn't about romantic love. this is the kind of LOVE that we all need to be the best human we can be. it reminds us that we are not alone. it supports us when times are hard, and celebrates us when we are successful. its the kind of LOVE that ties us all together.
in stopping this moment to read this, I hope some of that kind of LOVE is spread from here to you. happy LOVE day, every day.
its been a cold winter here in the mountains of western North Carolina. we rely on the fire in our woodstove to keep our home warm. waking up to a cold, dark morning last week, I gathered matches & kindling. our woodstove is in our bedroom, my daughter was there under quilts in my bed, still dreaming. littlest to less little, each twisted paper, twig, to log, grew in size as I arranged my pyramid carefully. the swishing sound & it's light breaking open the darkness, even the sulphur smell, I love how the striking of the match feeds my senses.
the paper began burning inside the stove. starting small & thin, the fire worked its way thru each material. until it was so strong, it tackled the large logs from our honorable old oak tree.
as the fire grew in intensity, the morning grew outside, completely taking over the nite that came before it. my daughter stirred in the bed until a dog joined her for a cuddle to put off the start of the day. in this first glow of what the day might be, I heard soft murmurs of snuggling delight. I slowly sipped my warming tea. and I sat admiring fire starting.
it is patient as it starts (with just a spark) and grows powerful & passionate. it creates a space to warm up, to be at home, when all that surrounds you may be cold & sterile. it demands a moment of respect, and of gratitude. it connects you to everyone who came before you who relied on building fires for survival.
and this is the power, the passion, and the reverence I believe we can bring to building shrines. and to living our lives.