athenagrey: (Default)
 It's that time of year again for me to pick a topic and explore it in depth through the winter months.  This year I am going to study kimono and kitsuke (the art of dressing in kimono). 

When I was a young child, we spent a lot of time in Japan, and on occasion I wore kimono there.  Fond memories. I don't care that kimono are now considered by some to be bourgeois and anti-feminist. If I wear one out of nostalgia rather than obligation, I'm not going to feel oppressed by the experience. I am going to savor it.

Collecting all the necessary parts of the outfit will be half the fun. I have a few pieces, but they are very casual, like the yukata and obi shown here. I'd like to have something stylish to wear to the cherry blossom festival in the spring.

I really should keep a running list of the winter projects I've done over the years, because I am forgetting most of them.  These are the ones I can remember or have found notes about.

2010 - Geocaching, which was mildly amusing, and got me outdoors a lot.
2009 - I don't recall having a formal project, but weaving filled my winter with wool and joy.
2008 - Yoga
2007 - Japanese cookery
2006 - Embodiment, a daily art journal project
2005 - Tarot
2004 - Livejournal
2003 - Art Journalling
1999 - Draping and pattern making
If there were winter projects in these wasteland years, I don't remember them.
1979 - Darts
1977 -  Knitting
athenagrey: (Reeds)
This year's January project has me outdoors looking for something akin to a needle in a haystack. I have been playing the technology-enabled scavenger hunt game of geocaching. Starting with a brief description, maybe a hint or two, and the GPS coordinates, I have been looking for small containers containing a log book to sign.  Why?  Why not!  It gets me outside, to places I haven't been, and it gives me a chance to look closely at my surroundings.

It's good for mind and body, and it's lots of fun.

It's helping me find some pleasure in the surroundings I have come to dislike. I may have to be here another five years, which seems like an endless amount of time. I should seek to find as much beauty in my surroundings as I can.

Using the GPS receiver has been a surprising pleasure. I've always thought that I didn't need one because I don't go far enough to get lost. Now I can. I mean I can go far, not get lost. Well, I can get lost if I want to. I have set the GPS to ignore highways and it takes me wandering along the back roads. They aren't the idyllic country roads that I love, but there are patches of woodland to be seen, and yesterday I found the entrance to a hiking trail that I want to explore.

I want to get back in the habit of posting in this journal, writing about my day and the way that the Goddess touches the simplest of things. I don't want to define or debate anything. That's not my talent and it is not my pleasure.

Yesterday, I went for a walk with one of my neighbors. We decided to walk a mile and a half to the market in the next town, even though we live right next to a perfectly adequate market. It was overcast, chilly, windy, and uphill most of the way there. It gave me a perfect chance to think about the element of air. Sometimes I was breathless, struggling against the wind. Inquiry is piercing and sometimes bittter. Logic and reason can be chilling. The shadow side of intellect can be cruel and heartless. The wind does not see the destruction it leaves in its wake. Too much of this makes me want to huddle inside and let the sharp wind blow past.

There are time that it is necessary to see the the shadow as well as the light. 

athenagrey: (Default)
It's not easy to write of winter when the temperature is hovering in the mid-forties outside. At least it is a grey and quiet day, and I can draw upon it's comforting plainness to feel the stillness of winter.

I am one week into my winter project of yoga. I've decided that if I can practice five times a week, I will be able to balance life and this project in a way that keeps me sane. Good friends take priority over good intentions. I don't want to sacrifice the evenings I spend in the city with friends for a yoga session.

No, I can't get up early to make time for yoga. On my busy days, I leave the house before eight as it is, spend the day in meetings, relax and dine in good company, and don't return home until near midnight. There isn't another inch of time to spare in those days. Even if there were, my body has to be coaxed into movement, and asking it to stretch before it is awake is courting injury.

What I love about yoga is that your breath meets you where you are and takes you gently into the stretches. You find the edge of the stretch, wherever it is, and as you breathe, you find yourself sliding a fraction of an inch deeper into the pose. Except for the standing poses, I have the same opportunity as anyone of easing toward fluid movement. I don't know if I'll ever have the balance for the standing poses, but I have the support of a strategically placed chair back to steady myself. If I decide to keep on with this, I should look for a portable ballet barre for my hand-grip, because it will have legs at each end, out of my way when I am on the mat.

Something good is happening. I feel taller. I think I'm sitting and standing a little bit straighter. I feel warmer and more aware of my body. THat's what I hoped to gain, more awareness of being.

Early evening is my yoga time. I relish coming into peace and making gentle movement as the sun is setting. I can let go of the day and all it's distractions and return to a world where the trees are sketched against the darkening sky and where I am still in the unfolding spiral of winter.

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athenagrey

June 2012

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