The Weaver

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I posted a version of this at BeingUnbound yesterday. Please forgive the first (and likely last) cross-post but the story has as much to do with inspiration and intentional enjoyment as it does with travel bounds. As I am wrestling with some big questions (like where I will live and work next) telling this story helped remind me what it is that I love to do.

Once upon a time…

Over the rim of his coffee cup he gazes again towards my feet and says, “I am completely mesmerized by the fabric of your scarf.”

I smile and look down to the pashmina loosely tied as usual thru the handle of my rucksack.

“It has a story.”

“I’m sure it does.”

With ripples of pleasure that deepen my crows feet, I tell it.

For this is what I do. This is what I love to do. I travel and collect stories. And sometimes I collect a physical thing which is like a beacon that points to the story behind it.

A talisman.

A true memento.

The Scene

The expanse of grey and blue is one of my favorite things.

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Weaved with the threads is the story of my trip to Tanjier, Morocco. The place where I have most felt like an outsider. The place where I was able to break through and embrace my own strangeness, no blending here child, and walk along streets taking in sights and smells that hurt with their beautiful pedestrian place.

I know I asked his name but I am embarrassed to say I don’t remember it. I remember his smile. I can clearly recall his tiny little shop, with loom looming large, taking up over half of his space.

For the brief 3 days we visited he beaconed us with his disarming, true smile. Inviting the American girls into his workshop to see his lovely wears. We put him off until the last evening and then finally ducked in to his warren of color.

After winding through a combination of French, Spanish and English he says with evident pride, “here, I show you.” The quadrilingual weaver sits down to his wooden frame and starts sending the shuttle back and forth. We are entranced by the simplicity.

The moment

After the demonstration we start touching and pondering. I already new I would be leaving with one of his pieces of art in my hands but haven’t found the right one. Then tucked under reds, purples and golds, I see the grey and blue.

I caress it lightly, feeling the rough nubs and lines of handmade cloth. Seeing the gesture he quickly pulls it out to show me.

“150 Dirham or 15 Euro,” he says.

I know I am supposed to haggle. I know I am supposed to fein disinterest.I also know, if I were to listen to the voices of “ought” and “should” and “responsibility,” I am not “supposed” to be in this little shop around the world living a wild life of adventure free of the bounds of a prescribed path.

“This. One day’s work.”

It is done.

There is no negotiating down from that. I pull my wallet with pleasure and it is all I can do not to double his offer.

The Memento

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I have worn one day’s work on my shoulders, arms, neck, and ruck with immense pride. Even through the warmer months it accompanied me if for no other purpose than to remind how lucky I am. I am thankful to be tied to a man with a sense of place in life with tangible, beautiful results. I am honored with his story and quite functional evidence of love’s labor.

I finish telling my friend of the weaver in Morocco while reaching down unconsciously to stroke the fabric. His eyes sparkle and he shares my smile. We sit in companionable silence, each lost to our own thoughts about work and travel and life and purpose.

This is what I love to do. I find the small moments between, the little tucked away spaces that are somehow the most important, and weave them together into substantive tapestry.

This story is my one day’s work.

Weaving stories is my life’s work.

 

A peek inside the author: Looking back at many of my life lessons posts I realize how much I am drawn to people with such sense of peace and place. Perhaps it is because I have little of either — a restless spirit constantly searching. So I ask: what memento do you treasure that tells a greater story? What do you think it says about you?

The many lessons to be learned from failure

“Winners want the ball”

Gene Hackman in the Replacements (guilty pleasure movie, not just because it is based on my ‘Skins)

Failure as the “best teacher” and “is a good thing” (and even to be encouraged) seems to be a common theme this month all over the webs. My web-FAIL and whole key fiasco fits here too. I am not the only one.

The night of the web-FAIL, my yoga teacher and I were having a conversation after class about how hardcore one of his teachers from NYC is. This teacher apparently walked into class one day and said something to the effect of: “Everything in this world fails. Projects fail. Things fall apart. Relationships fail. Your body fails… What we do in yoga is teach how to be present, witness the struggle and deal with those failures. Let’s go.

To me, the “yoga” in that sentence is “inner strength.” The actual practice of yoga helps with breathing and concentration which certainly help in stressful situations. I also think the well from which we draw in moments of crisis is our confidence– our internal power to stay calm to find a way. 

The problem and solution is on me — I like it that way.

I like video editing because I am usually the last line of de-mess. If I eff up then it is on me to put in the extra effort to fix it – usually solo.

Say a camera guy didn’t white balance or did crazy-crop a shot, then it falls to me to try to correct. Or take an audio guy who neglected to get room tone or even a PA who failed to release properly… those things could take hours if not days to rework or fix — and not by the people who created the mess in the first place.

Look, we are all human and shit happens. I get that (my own strong of failures illustrates this). I don’t think there are many out there that want to be an eff-up but I am the type that wants to be the savior and not the goat.

If I make a dumb mistake costing hours? It falls on my shoulders to get it done. It is usually reparable within the confines of the edit and are my hours to spend. Circumstances I like and can deal with.

My lapses falling on others to fill is uncomfortable bordering on painful.

They haunt me.

On a recent freelance project, an application crash at the worst possible moment sent me and 5 other people into a mad scramble. I didn’t do anything stupid like moving and deleting files willy-nilly, but I did underestimate timing, unnecessarily squeezing the deadline and I didn’t follow “backup plan” protocol so that, well, there wasn’t any. I hated every moment of this meltdown especially because it stressed so many others.

I stayed calm, did everything I could do, and with the help of an awesome crew, we got something to screen. It was far from perfect but it wasn’t an utter, complete failure. But it left’s indeleble mark on my confidence.

Walk away and learn.

 

Unscheduled Maitenence

My personal “check engine” light has been glaring at me for the last weeks. I look at the date and think “Where did January go?!” I have been busy, yes, but certainly not so much that I could miss an entire month passing by.

Somehow I thought that life would find this magical place where the hourglass would even out and I would have time. Yet alas, no. Not yet.

Bug in SnowLooking at my posts for the last year and taking stock, it seems this is rather a continuous problem for me. Whirlwinds of adventure mean that time goes quickly. It is a reminder to appreciate moments but also that maybe I should finally take stock and figure out a bigger chunk of what I am doing. Hello Adult-Type World, I guess I am in you now.

In addition to figuring out my big-girl-pants next life steps, I’ve been in the process of trying to come to terms with this blog. See, at the end of December I broke my steak of blog posts. Once I missed one, I missed many. It is sad to say that a habit can so easily fall apart.

Instead of wallowing, however, I’m pushing myself to get the thing done and, imperfect as it will seem to me as soon as I hit publish, I will ship this today… or at least “today” Eastern Standard Time. Sounds like a rather inauspicious beginning but such has been the journey to this point and so at least that wild streak will continue.

The Tune Up

The conclusion that I have come to, my dear reader, is that Wednesdays don’t work for me. It isn’t anything that they did, you see, it is just me. I’ve changed. I’m not breaking up with them entirely though, I hope we are going to remain friends.

[Read more...]

Broken Chain

There are times when the pieces fit securely into place and all seems to flow in a great, expanding, steadfast and sturdy row. This, my friends and my dear self, is not one of those times.

I can hardly type 3 words without going back and editing. Misspellings abound. My writing seems jerky, careless and rushed. 

Mirrors in VeniceThere is a metaphor there.

I go out to get some needed fresh air and quite literally smack into life in all its awkward weirdness. The seconds tick and all I want is silence to coalesce the seeping, dripping globs into meaningful forms. Yet I am trapped into a silly cycle going nowhere fast. I feel the pull of my reaching mind against the dictates of expectations and niceties which supposedly grease the cosmic wheels.

Life seems scattered.

The links in my day all ajumble with knots and tangles collapsing in on themselves. Excited energy feels more like tension. The twisted snarls are taught and vibrating.

Collapse seems imminent. But there is no time for that indulgence.

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Traveling to Terezin

My knowledge of history is lacking in big places. Facts and dates, names of places even, sift through my sieve brain. When it came to World War II and the holocaust – the “final solution” – I was notably deficient in perspective.

With a few days back in Prague, I signed up for a tour of Terezin. The Nazi “gift of a town” it was a neighborhood turned ghetto-concentration-camp-holding-pen of disease, death and misery… and art.

Lasting Testaments [Read more...]