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Mastery & Simplicity in the New Year

Paradox is one of my favorite Universal principles. Yes, two things that appear to be opposites can really weave together into a unified energy stream, complementing instead of conflicting forces.

I am engaged in two such pursuits as this year opens, perhaps seemingly very different if not opposite, yet united by this paradox at least. Both emanate from my hands, or at least they are delivered thru my hands, more accurately emanating from my mind, my heart... well, where can one say inspiration really begins? Okay, they both emanate truly from the Essential Universal Mind, but I'm manifesting them thru the palms and fingers of my human suit with great enthusiasm at present.

One pursuit is literally as down to Earth as you can get, arising from my love of farming and handcraft, those traditional peasant occupations that now, ironically, rest in the hands (literally) of a very few members of society, tho many of us consider ourselves quite privileged to make this choice of service to land and community. The other is an esoteric healing practice that facilitates spiritual as well as mental, emotional and physical well-being, growth and even evolution, drawn down from the Universal Source. They are Boot Bracelets and Reiki Mastery. And I love them both. I hope you will too!

Mastery is not the end of education but a renewed dedication to discovery and practice. My exploration of the sacred healing art of Reiki has recently taken me thru the third level, completing the basic, intermediate and advanced levels of training. I am now a Reiki Master by title, yet still - and always - an eager student of the craft. My next step is to undertake Reiki Teacher Training, which I look forward to this spring.

The Reiki community currently includes diverse perspectives on the concept and usage of the term Master, from those who humbly disavow it to those who proudly revel under its banner. I welcome the challenge and responsibility of this new level of learning, not as a prize at the end of the maze, but as a new door opening onto additional options for service, experience and understanding. I embrace the title as a step in transforming our linguistic baggage attached to the word, no longer meaning mastery as control over another, but responsibility for one's own growth.

Reiki encompasses all the complexity of the Essential life force of the Universe, yet is the spirit of simplicity. Every living being is animated by this Essence, flowing naturally thru our healing systems whether we are in top condition or struggling with health issues. We each approach well-being from the avenues that suit us best, and there is now a mind-blowing multitude of options for fitness, nutrition, surgical enhancement, energetic healing, etc.

Even within the field of Reiki there are myriad traditions and branches, prompting the Vermont Reiki Association to choose tolerance for diversity of method and practice as the theme for last year's conference. All of us present there came together to honor the common foundations of our beliefs and work, the simple ethics of service, respect, opening to Divine guidance and deep gratitude for the gifts of Spirit and healing.

For me, Reiki continues to unfold as a journey of the dichotomy of mastery and simplicity. All that is needed in a healing session is really a willingness to let healing flow thru our hands. Yet there are so many incredibly creative and helpful ways to develop and offer the practice. May it always be so.

The other bisness* practice I am developing this New Year is a single product called Boot Bracelets, handwoven from my own handspun yarn, some of it from my sheep and most of it from other Vermont flocks, including several heritage breeds of sheep and alpaca. I love working with natural fibers and supporting small farms and the farmers who steward their land and livestock mindfully and lovingly. I know many people also want to be able to purchase adornments for themselves or gifts for others that support these precious resources and neighbors in our communities as well. I think Boot Bracelets fit this niche perfectly!

The sleek simplicity of offering one product is embellished by the range of variations offered, with more coming every month, in color and design, length and width, fibers from different animals and perhaps plants, natural and commercial dyes as well as the natural colors of the animals, even a possibility of men's along with women's and girls' styles and sizes. They also offset the stark, simple beauty of the long, white winter and the elegant practicality of the timeless fashion appeal that boots represent while keeping our lower extremities warm and dry.

I began learning to spin wool before I moved from Ohio to Vermont, sometime before the year 2003. Soon after arriving, I noticed a flyer for a spinning and knitting group that was forming, organized by Laura Craft, who quickly became a close friend as well as neighbor and farming mentor. I learned more of spinning from my crafting companions in that group and bought from one of them a second- or third-hand (at least) basic spinning wheel. It's a modern Ashford treadle wheel that's used while sitting, not one of the big walking wheels often depicted in colonial American scenes.

Within a few years I found a kids' book on finger weaving at a library book sale and introduced the craft into homeschooling with my son, Mojo. We both learned the technique, then teenaged Mojo soon moved on to other interests involving electric guitars and fantasy sports cars, while I became enamored with the craft I could carry in my purse or pocket, work on during Town Meeting and give as gifts - originally in the form of bookmarks.

Just recently I was struck with the inspiration to turn them into these purposeful adornments, originally sparked by folks who would take my 2-tassled bookmarks and tie them on their wrists or ankles. Now I braid a loop at one end and finish with a knot at the other so they easily button around boot or ankle.

While I consider myself to have mastered the techniques of spinning wool and weaving Boot Bracelets, and the basic understanding of business planning well enough to launch this venture and expect it to be profitable, even in this simple endeavor I am still, always, learning. I expect every aspect of this work to continue to evolve, to surprize and reward me with both accomplishment and challenge.

May the two mythical faces of Janus doubly bless us all in our quest for the paradox of simplicity and mastery in this New Year!

Boot Bracelets are available thru my Etsy shop, and I am accepting a few more Reiki clients at this time.

*"bisness" = the business of isness, or work that expresses our values and beliefs, our chosen way of being; akin to right livelihood

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