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Threads of my life

Saturday, March 7, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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This week I've enjoyed watching different threads of my life weave together. If you asked me to list the themes, issues, places and practices that are part of my life today that list would include: writing; meditation; yoga; practicing peace; social justice and human rights activism; environmental activism; Gaza; Afghanistan; film; books; ethical consuming; food revolution; photography; feminism and gardening.

There are a lot of different things going on in that list, and sometimes they feel a bit disjointed. But little by little as I follow a more natural flow for my life (which is shorthand for not working a crazy, 24/7 day job), I'm finding the natural linkages and synergies between them all. So here are four little vignettes from this week, which show how some of those themes have been coming together in my mind, in my life and in the wider world.

1. Photography, feminism, practicing peace, human rights and Afghanistan

My photos of women and girls from Afghanistan have been used as part of the revamp of this great site, 'Women say No to War', amen. Most of my images are on the afghanistan page.

2. Yoga, activism, practicing peace

My friend Kara-Leah writes about the current global 'crisis' – which in the mainstream media is somehow framed as a crisis of financial credit, but which in my humble view is the natural and inevitable collapse of an unsustainable consumer system, and a chance to rebuild on a fairer, simpler, kinder foundation. Kara-Leah explores how yoga offers us a framework for changing our perspective on this crisis and for finding a better way forward.

3. Writing, meditation, mindfulness

Karen of Momma Zen/Cheerio Road posted these links to a great New Yorker article about the late, great David Foster Wallace. I've been a huge fan of Wallace's writing since 1996 when I first came across "Infinite Jest" an extraordinary book that Wallace himself was oddly unsatisfied with, but which opened up whole new worlds of possibility in the narrative form for me. Wallace died leaving behind an unfinished novel about boredom and mindfulness that will be published next yea. In 2005 Wallace said that true
freedom “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay
attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.
Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you
will be totally hosed.” Amen, again.

4. Mindfulness, meditation, activism, social justice, environment, film

On Thursday mornings, early, I sit in meditation with a small group of friends. We sit together because we all believe the world can be a kinder, more compassionate place and we agree it has to start with each of us. This week we got up off our cushions and went for breakfast. Over breakfast we decided to work together to make a video/story that will wake up Wellington and the world to the change that they can be part of. Preparing for this project I've been inspired by this, and this and this. Stories can change the world, one reader/listener/viewer at a time.

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5 Responses to "Threads of my life"

  1. amy says:

    thank you for the inspiration in this post. i especially enjoyed your friend’s thought provoking writing (and your lovely photos, of course). there are wonderful connections between all these elements of your life. i hope you can find enough daydreaming time, in a sunny spot with a cup of tea, to let all those interesting linkages work their magic.

  2. Swirly says:

    I want to be your neighbor. I’m on a plane two weeks from tomorrow!

  3. It has been a long time since I found my way to your blog. But in the glorious space of free time today, I have arrived. Always, your words are powerful and full of hope. You inspire me to get back to my yoga practice. And your post on gratitude, with a link to your friend A and his darling 3 daughters…has melted my heart. 3 more beautiful faces I have never seen. His gentle pride is breathtaking.
    peace and flowing good words to you. 🙂

  4. John Mullis says:

    Thanks for being an ongoing inspiration for me and thanks for recommending Elizabeth Gilbert’s book which I have thoroughly enjoyed

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